New laws take effect
by Chris Wilson
For every "There oughta be a law," there might very
well be. At least the new year - and its many new laws - has
brought that day closer.
California Gov. Gray Davis signed nearly 1,000 bills in 2001,
and most of them have gone into effect.
Included in the laundry list of new legislation are laws to protect
consumers from unwanted telephone solicitation, tougher gun restrictions
aimed to cap accidental shootings, and laws to protect young
children from being left unattended in cars.
Low-income and senior citizen residents will benefit from a new
law that sets restrictions on home equity and mortgage-loan refinancing
offered to people with poor credit. This new law will sets limit
on the interest rate that can be charged to low-income and senior
A statewide "do not call" list will make it more difficult
for telemarketers to disrupt consumers' privacy. Under the anti-telemarketing
legislation, Californians can put their name on a list and companies
that violate their privacy can be fined.
In an effort to stem accidental shootings, all guns made or sold
in the state, with certain exceptions, must come with a state-approved
Lawmakers decided that motorists must pay more attention to their
driving and less to distractions, one law states. Law enforcement
officers are now required to report when driver-distraction from,
for example, cell phones, radios, smoking, eating, personal hygeine
or children contributed to an automobile accident. The California
Highway Patrol will conduct a study and report their findings
to the state legislature regarding the new law.
Don't leave your young child unnattended for more than one minute
in a car. If you do and your child is under age six, and determined
to be in danger, you could be fined up to $100. The money generated
will be partially used to develop programs intended to educate
the motorists about the dangers of leaving children unattended
In Ojai, Sheriff's deputy Tom Triplett says he hasn't seen a
lot of people leaving children unattended in their vehicles,
but does have a no-tolerance stance on children not strapped
into safety seats or seat belts.
"Kids looks to their parents for safety," Triplett
said. "There are lots of things I can give warnings on,
but if I see a child bouncing around in a car, I pull those people
over and write them a ticket."
Though Ojai doesn't use red light cameras to enforce drivers
who push the yellow-light limits, other local governments will
be required not to set yellow-light time intervals too short
in order to generate revenue. Yellow light time limits will be
set for safety now, rather than to generate traffic.
In 2001 the state budget surplus allowed sales taxes to be cut
by $.025. It is no longer be in effect. The sales tax is once
again $.725 per dollar of sale.
If you're planning on getting married and are asked to sign a
prenuptial agreement, you will benefit from a new law. Courts
will not be allowed to uphold a premarital agreement unless the
affected party was represented by a lawyer or waived their right
to representation in writing. In addition, the spouse will have
seven days to think about what they are giving up before signing.
And there's good new for long-distance gamblers. Betting on horse
races will now be allowed by telephone and on the Internet.
Finally, pharmacists will now be allowed to sell morning-after
contraceptives over the counter. They were previously only allowed
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
Back to the news
a new California law, it's illegal to leave a child under the
age of 6 unattended in a vehicle if it poses a risk to the child,
as illustrated by Ojai residents Lorraine Wood and her son, Connor.