New laws: Tobacco banned at Calif beaches; minimum wage rises, rent control, felons can vote in Nevada |

New laws: Tobacco banned at Calif beaches; minimum wage rises, rent control, felons can vote in Nevada

Cigarette butts are found most frequently in the cleanups of Lake Tahoe beaches.
Claire Cudahy / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Many new laws went into effect on Jan. 1, both in Nevada and in California. Nevada’s Governor Steve Sisolak signed 638 new bills during the 2019 legislative session and California’s Governor Gavin Newsom signed almost 1,200 new bills.

One law that should have a significant on Lake Tahoe is Senate Bill 8, a law that bans cigarettes, cigars or other tobacco products at California beaches.

Every 5th of July, the League to Save Lake Tahoe and other volunteers clean up some of the more popular beaches. In 2019, 5,458 cigarette butts were collected.

“Cigarettes are one of the most commonly found pieces of liter at Lake Tahoe,” the League to Save Lake Tahoe Chief Strategy Officer Jesse Patterson said. “The real reason it’s an issue is it stays in our environment for a long time … and everything in Tahoe ends up in the lake so no matter where it’s dropped, whether it’s way up on a trail or right on the beach, it all ends up on the beach or in the water at some point.”

The new law carries a $25 fine for smoking on a state beach.

Granted, not all of Tahoe’s beaches will be impacted by this law but Patterson is excited about the possibility to study the impacts.

“The harsh reality for Tahoe is that the state parks are just a part of the shoreline so there is still a lot of other areas that still need help and we’ll be able to have data for our beach cleanups that will tell us if we’re noticing a difference and maybe that indicates that similar management needs to take place at other parks,” Patterson said.

Other new laws to keep an eye on:

Both states raised minimum wage; California will raise minimum wage each year until they hit $15 an hour in 2023 and Nevada will raise it each year until they $12 an hour for those who aren’t offered health insurance and $11 for those who are by 2024.

California extended the time limit to file an employment discrimination complaint from one to three years.

California extended paid family leave from six to eight weeks.

The California Fish and Game Commission and other stakeholders like CHP will establish wildlife salvage permits (SB395) to remove deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, and wild pigs killed by a car if the game is used for human consumption.

California is placing a cap on rent increases. Rent can’t increase more than 5% plus inflation per year.

In Nevada, anyone convicted of a felony will be given back their right to vote.

Anyone convicted of a marjiuana possession for less than ounce can have their records sealed in Nevada.

California Highway Patrol highlighted several new laws for 2020, including added license points for distracted driving and the use of deadly force when an officer believes it is necessary.

Assembly Bill 47 levies an additional penalty point on to a driver’s record for every hands-free violation occurring within 36 months of a prior conviction for the same offense.

A peace officer now may use deadly force when they feel it is justifiable, with AB392 amending the reasonable standard to “objectively reasonable force.” Mandatory training also comes with the new law.

AB1266 allows for bicycles to travel straight through a right or left-hand turn-only lane while at an intersection, if an official traffic control device indicates the movement is permitted. The Department of Transportation would be required to develop standards to implement the provisions.

The omnibus bill, or AB810, allows motorists to continue operating for 30 days past their permit expiration date, under specified circumstances.

It also amends the state’s vehicle code and will now will now prohibit the consumption of cannabis, in any manner, by passengers in a bus, taxicab, pedicab, limousine, housecars, or camper. This exemption is now only applicable to alcoholic beverages consumed by passengers in these types of vehicles.

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