9 California laws going into effect July 1

SACRAMENTO — Several laws went into effect throughout California on July 1, including a sweeping gas tax increase, new ammunition regulations and more.

The 5.6-cent gas tax increase was tied to legislation passed in 2017, which paved the way for the gas tax to rise in November by 12 cents and again on July 1. The legislation, which made California the state with the highest gas tax in the U.S., also included an annual adjustment to the gas tax based on the cost of living.

These are the other state laws that went into effect July 1:

  • Those interested in purchasing gun ammunition must first pass a background check before doing so. The new “ammo law” was passed in 2016 with support from 63% of California voters. California Governor Gavin Newsom and other proponents said the new law would save lives by keeping ammunition out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have it, but those opposed said the law adds a layer of bureaucracy and another way for the California Department of Justice to regulate their right to bear arms.
  • Patients must be notified if their physician, surgeon, osteopath, naturopathic doctor, chiropractor, podiatrist or acupuncturist is put on probation for serious misconduct. California was the first state to pass this requirement in 2018, which covers sexual misconduct, drug abuse, certain criminal convictions (in which a patient was harmed) and prescribing medications that resulted in both harm to a patient and the prescribing party going on probation for five years or longer.
  • Law enforcement must make body camera footage public within 45 days of an incident that results in death or injury. The law is part of a larger movement by legislators across the country to address cases in which law enforcement officials use unnecessary force and make records of such events available to the public.
  • Lead ammunition is no longer permitted for use while hunting. California is the first state to pass a ban eliminating the use of lead in hunting ammunition. “Switching to nontoxic ammunition will save the lives of thousands of birds and other wildlife and prevent hunting families from being exposed to toxic lead,” said Jonathan Evans, environmental health legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity.
  • Social media bots with fake identities are illegal to use when trying to influence votes or commercial sales. The law, passed last year, is aimed at preventing the spread of incorrect information and mandates that accounts used to communicate online with Californians for these purposes be marked in a way that makes their intent obvious.
  • Hospitals must have a plan for where homeless patients will go once they are discharged and must keep track of those locations immediately following individual discharges. The law, passed last year, says the plans should be made in coordination with local social services groups to ensure the health and safety of the patients.
  • Lower income and homeless veterans can now have the word “veteran” printed on their drivers’ licenses at no cost to them. The $5 processing fee that is typically involved in this driver’s license designation will be waived for all qualifying parties. The intent behind this legislation, drafted in 2017, is to make it easier for veterans to get access to veteran services.
  • Selling non-oxidized butane in large amounts is now illegal. Butane is a chemical compound often used in making hash oil from cannabis. This new law is geared toward decreasing the number of explosions that occur when butane is used in the manufacturing process.
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