New state laws on gun purchases, student loans and more now in effect

California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A series of California laws go into effect Thursday, the start of the fiscal year.

They address topics ranging from guns to student loans and mental health.

Here are the basics on each, with links to more information or the text of the bill:

  • Firearm purchases: Expands the kinds of weapons that fall under its policy limiting purchases to one each 30 days. The policy had previously applied to handguns, but will now also affect semiautomatic centerfire rifle.
  • Student loans: Requires the state to offer new protections for student loan borrowers, including designating a student loan ombudsman to review complaints from those in debt, lead investigations into any unfair or deceptive practices and provide other forms of oversight.
  • Texting and driving: Makes two convictions for a distracted driving offense within 3 years a point on a driver’s record. Too many points can lead to insurance rates rising or even losing driving privileges.
  • Mental health: Makes permanent a measure dating back to 2002 that allows people who meet strict criteria for a serious mental illness and have had recent hospitalizations, incarceration or violent episodes, to be involuntarily committed to outpatient treatment by a court. The policy is called Laura’s Law for Laura Wilcox, a 19-year-old Nevada woman who was killed at a mental health clinic in 2001 by a man who had refused treatment.
  • Wildfires: Adds protections for people who lost property in wildfires as it relates to their insurance policies and compensation.
  • Youth prisons: State-run youth prisons are shifting responsibilities to counties, stopping new admissions in part of a process to close the facilities in 2023, the Associated Press reports.

Californians may also notice an increase in how much they’re paying for gas beginning Thursday. An automatic increase in the state’s gas tax goes into effect July 1.

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