New California Laws Students Should Be Aware Of

Desmond Andersen, News Reporter

Along with the new year comes a new set of laws that are likely to affect high school students in California.. Although these laws and amendments were all passed by California state legislature last year, they only came into effect with the start of 2018.

AB-19: Free Community College Tuition
Here’s some good news for anyone hoping to avoid student debt. The state government will fund its many community colleges such that the first year of tuition will soon be free. In order to receive the benefits, a student has to be enrolled in their first year of college full-time and turn in either the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the CA Dream Act Application.

SB-54: Sanctuary State
California is attempting to reduce cooperation with immigration authorities such as Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). This law prevents law enforcement from investigating or arresting people for their immigration status. The intention is to “establish clear divisions between law enforcement and federal immigration authorities in an attempt to ensure local officers do not become part of deportation efforts under the Trump administration,” according to an Los Angeles Times article published Sep. 26 2017.

AB-291: Housing and Immigration
Landlords are prohibited from reporting tenants’ immigration or citizenship status to law enforcement agencies including ICE. They cannot threaten to do so, or use such information to retaliate against tenants’ complaints. In other words, a person’s immigration status should play no part in the affairs of leasing, renting, or buying property.

SB-179: Gender Recognition Act
Driver’s licenses will now offer an option for people identifying as gender nonbinary. California is the first state to officially provide this third gender category. Later this year in September, transgender people will no longer have had to undergo surgical transition procedures in order to legally change their gender identity in court.

SB-3 Minimum Wage Increases
Working a part-time job? The minimum wage for small businesses (25 employees or less) has been raised to $10.50 per hour and the minimum wage for large businesses (more than 25 employees) has been raised to $11.00 per hour. These wages will increase incrementally each year until 2023, in which both will reach $15.00 per hour.

AB-168 Past Salary Info Not Required
Also, employers are no longer allowed to ask about salaries earned at past jobs. In other words, the salary history of job applicants are hidden. According to an article published on Jan. 3 by CNN Politics, “the law is intended to narrow the gender pay gap.”

AB-10: Feminine Hygiene Products Made Available
On your period? Public middle and high schools are now legally required to provide feminine hygiene products in at least half the restrooms on campus. This applies only to Title I designated schools (at least 40% of students from low-income families), which includes Venice High.
Nonetheless, the law has yet to be implemented on the Venice campus. Some administrators, when asked, said they did not know about the new law. In the meantime, free pads are available in the nurse’s office.

AB-390: No Longer Jaywalking
For students who make habitual last-second dashes across Venice Blvd, this one’s for you! As long as a pedestrian gets to the other side of the street before the no-crossing signal, they will no longer be fined for jaywalking, even if they start crossing during a flashing-hand signal or countdown timer.

AB-64: Adult Use of Marijuana Act
Although marijuana was legalized for recreational use, it is limited to adults ages 21 and over, similar to alcohol. According to the U.S. Department of Education, “if you are convicted of a drug-related offense after you submit the FAFSA form, you might lose eligibility for federal student aid, and you might be liable for returning any financial aid you received during a period of ineligibility.” Moreover, many colleges and universities in California still do not allow the drug on their campuses.

Full texts of the bills can be found at