New Year, New Laws in California

Here are a few more new laws that Governor Jerry Brown signed in effect January 1,2016:
1. SB 358 Equal Pay
Under the equal pay law the gender wage gap has been eliminated. SB 358 adds to the existing California Equal Pay Act (EPA) and requires male and females be paid the same wages for substantially similar work and allows employees to inquire about their coworkers wages in furtherance of their rights under EPA. Employers will now have the burden of proof to prove that a wage gap is based on other factors besides se for substantially similar work such as seniority system, merit system, training, or experience.

2. AB 202 Cheerleaders
Cheerleaders of professional sports teams are now treated as employees under California law.
Cheerleaders will now receive minimum wages, overtime compensation, and standards for working conditions.

3. AB 329 Sex Education
Student participation in sex education is now a mandatory part of curriculum for students unless parents specifically seek an opt out. The curriculum for sex education would be updated to ensure students are accurately being taught the issues surrounding the cause and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Also, the new curriculum will include education on LGBT matter to help ensure understanding and acceptance for all youth.

4. SB 695 Yes means Yes
California is the first state in the nation to educate high school students about sexual violence prevention and sexual consent or “Yes mean Yes” in their mandatory health classes. This law received no organization opposition and received almost unanimous bipartisan support in the Legislature. Lawmakers hope that in passing this law teenagers will be taught before they enter college or the work force the importance of healthy sexual boundaries.

5. AB 1517 Rape Kits
This new law establishes the Sexual Assault Victims’ DNA Bill of Rights in order to guarantee that when law enforcement agencies are investigating specific sex crimes that they analyze the DNA testing of rape kits or other crime scene evidence in a timely manner. The timely manner requirement forces law enforcement to submit sexual assault forensics to the crime lab within 20 days of it being booked into evidence. Also, DNA evidence collected from the victim of the sexual assault must be given to the crime lab within 5 days after it is obtained from the victim. The crime labs are required to process the evidence and upload qualifying evidence into the Combined DNA Index System as soon as practically possible but no later than 120 days after it is received. This law applies to sexual offense specified by Penal Code 261, 261.5, 262, 288a, and 289. Which are statutes involving rape, other forced sexual acts and child molestation.