CITYWIDE — The new year means new rules.
Lots of state and local laws that made their way through different legislative processes in 2013 go into effect today. Here are those that impact Santa Monicans most or were authored by area lawmakers.
Thanks to ambitious New Year’s resolutions, more people work out in January than any other month of year. But a new ordinance means that you’ll likely see fewer fitness trainers in your local parks this week.
An ordinance that regulates and charges fitness trainers for their use of public parks goes into effect today.
Annual permits for most parks range from $1,800 to $5,400 depending on how large the groups are. Palisades Park permits cost $2,700 to $8,100 to reflect the park’s high demand.
Seven neighborhood groups and three council members favored an all-out ban of fitness trainers in Palisades Park. Outdoor fitness advocates say the fees are too high. At last check, only 10 trainers have applied for permits at any of the city parks.
Last year, city officials observed nearly 150 groups working out in one week in Palisades Park alone.
The ordinance will last one year and be reevaluated.
The minimum wage is being boosted to $9 an hour starting in July, the first of two dollar-an-hour boosts that will push the base minimum wage to $10 by 2016, making it one of the nation’s highest minimums. Under another bill, domestic workers will have to be paid time and a half if they work more than nine hours in a day or more than 45 hours in a week; baby sitters are exempt.
If you haven’t already called a SWAT team to a phony emergency at a celebrity’s house today is not a good day to start.
A bill penned by State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Santa Monica) requires those convicted of falsely reporting 911 emergencies to reimburse taxpayers for the cost of the response.
The bill is a response to a recent trend of swatting incidents, when a violent emergency is falsely reported at the home of a celebrity, sometimes costing taxpayers as much as $10,000.
Photographers who harass celebrities and their children face tougher penalties under a law backed by actresses Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner, who testified in favor of it.
Garner and her daughters have been targeted by paparazzi while leaving a pre-school on Second Street in Santa Monica. At one point city officials looked into creating some kind of buffer for Garner and other celebs but backed off out of fear of violating protections granted by the First Amendment.
Those who take photos and video of a child without consent and in a harassing manner could face up to a year in county jail and a fine of up to $10,000. They also can be sued for damages and attorney’s fees under the new law, which media organizations opposed.
If you’re passing a cyclist in your car you have to leave at least 3 feet of space. If 3 feet isn’t possible you have to slow down before passing. If you don’t, you can get a ticket, regardless of whether or not there’s an accident.
That’s big news for Santa Monica, where bicyclists are increasing in number. The Daily Press has received numerous letters, including one today, in which people have raised concerns about cyclists not adhearing to traffic laws like coming to a full stop at controlled intersections. Others have complained about aggressive drivers not yielding to cyclists.
HOV lane still an option for green vehicles
Drivers with up-to-date clean air vehicles can continue using carpool lanes without meeting occupancy requirements. The law, which was set to expire, was extended through 2018.
California becomes the first state to give specific rights to transgender students starting in January unless opponents show they have gathered enough petition signatures to put a referendum before voters seeking to overturn the law. It lets transgender students choose which restroom to use and whether to play on boys’ or girls’ sports teams.
Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District officials have been working since the bill passed earlier this year to make sure that their policies are in compliance.
A bill penned by former Santa Monica mayor, Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), will make it easier for caregivers to access the pupil records of homeless youth.
Previously, they needed to get parental consent or a judicial order to gain access. Now, if the student is both homeless and unaccompanied, the student can sign an affidavit authorizing the release of the records.
Interrogation of minors
Law enforcement interrogations of minors accused of homicides have to be videotaped, thanks to a recent Lieu law.
Lieu cites research showing that wrongful convictions often result from false confessions by kids under 18.
Sex offender monitoring
Sex offenders who cut off their GPS-monitors in 2014 will have to serve maximum jail sentences. A senate bill from Lieu requires tougher penalties on paroled sex offenders who go AWOL.
The Associate Press contributed to this report.