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New Laws for Californians in 2016

Staff Report

SACRAMENTO – While everyone is out celebrating New Year’s Day, Californians should take note of new laws that will take effect as of January 1, 2016.  Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) highlights the following new laws for 2016:

AB 8 (Yellow Alert) —Local law-enforcement officers may utilize the state’s existing network of freeway signs to broadcast information about vehicles suspected in hit-and-run incidents.  Alerts will only be issued by local law-enforcement when there is a sufficient description of the offending vehicle or the identity of the suspect is known.  The “Yellow Alert” system will also be limited to the geographic area where the hit-and-run crime occurred and will only be implemented when the hit-and-run results in death or serious bodily injury.  A similar alert system has been used in Denver, Colorado where 13 out of the 17 hit and runs that triggered these alerts were solved (approximately 76% success rate).

AB 1116 (Smart TV Privacy) —Californians will now be protected from television voice-recognition features that might surreptitiously record private conversations in the home.  Manufacturers of “Smart” TVs must ensure users of internet-connected televisions are prominently informed that their voices may be recorded and transmitted back to the manufacturers.  AB 1116 also prohibits manufacturers from using or selling for advertising purposes, any voice recordings collected for the purposes of refining the voice recognition feature of a television.

AB 139 (Revocable Transfer on Death Deed)—Creates a new, non-probate property transfer tool known as the “Revocable Transfer on Death Deed.”  In California, to pass the contents almost any asset—a bank account, a multi-million-dollar stock account, a car of any value—upon death, all an individual needs to do is fill out a simple “Payable On Death” form.  However, for most middle-class Californians, there is no easy way to transfer the title for a house.  Homeowners currently face two costly options: hire an attorney to draft a will or trust (which typically costs homeowners between $2,000 and $6,000) or force surviving loved ones to weather the probate process (with an average cost of $26,000).  Californians can now file a simple form with the County Recorder to pass on their home to a loved one.

AB 1085 (Parental Visitation) —Adult children who wish to visit an ailing parent may do so under the new visitation rights established by AB 1085. California judges will have the authority to direct or grant a conservator the power to enforce a senior’s right to receive visitors, telephone calls, and personal mail.  An important mechanism for families attempting to connect with their parents for what is often the last time, caretakers will also be required to give notice of an elder’s death to certain family members.  The legislation represents the culmination of almost two-year’s worth of work on this issue by Assemblyman Gatto and radio show host Kerri Kasem.

AB 1164 (Drought/Artificial Turf) —Local governments will be prohibited from banning water-conscious landscaping at private residences.

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