Social Media Privacy, Gay Therapy Ban Top New Laws for 2013

Gov. Jerry Brown signed nearly 1,000 bills signed into law in 2012; here's an overview of what goes into effect Jan. 1, 2013.

Job-hunters no longer need to worry about sanitizing their Facebook pages before applying for work, thanks to two new laws that will go on the books in the coming weeks.

The social media privacy laws protect job-seekers and prospective students from sharing social media user names and password with during the application process.

Those laws are among the 873 regular session bills Gov. Jerry Brown signed in 2012; many will take effect Jan. 1, 2013.


  • Eliminating on-the-job discrimination is the focus of two new laws. One expands the definition of "sex" under the Fair Employment and Housing Act to include breastfeeding. The other clarifies that the state's discrimination laws make reasonable accommodations for religious dress and grooming practices.
  • AB 2370 replaces “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability.”

'Good Samaritan' Overdose Prevention Law

This law encourages people to call 911 and seek medical help for someone experiencing a drug or alcohol overdose without fear of being prosecuted for minor drug crimes.

“Reassuring all Californians that calling 911 is safe and the right thing to do when someone’s life is on the line is essential,” Meghan Ralston, harm reduction manager for the Drug Policy Alliance, said.

She also pointed out that this isn't a get-of-jail-free card. Drug dealers and motorists driving under the influence would still face legal ramifications.

Banning Therapies to 'Cure' Gay Minors

The law states therapists can't provide minors with therapy intended to change their sexual orientation. California is the first in the nation to prohibit such practices.

Motorist and Vehicle Laws

  • A person who has been arrested and is suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs no longer has the option of a urine test. Prior to this change, a person had the option of submitting either urine or blood to determine the drug content of their blood.
  • California drivers can use hands-free technology to talk and text while driving. This will require the use of a device that is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation to dictate, send or listen to a text-based communication.
  • Drivers will now have the option of providing proof of insurance and registration on an electronic device such as smartphones or tablets.
  • Driverless cars can be operated on public roads for testing purposes, provided that each vehicle has a fully licensed and bonded operator in the driver’s seat to take control if necessary.
  • Similar to an AMBER Alert, the CHP would activate a “Silver Alert” upon request if a person, age 65 or older, is reported missing to a law enforcement agency and that agency determines that certain criteria is met.
  • A new law allows driver’s license applicant who provides satisfactory proof that his or her presence in the U.S. is authorized under federal law, but who is not eligible for a Social Security number, is eligible to receive an original driver's license if he or she meets all other qualifications for licensure.
  • There will be consistency statewide in the operations of red-light enforcement cameras by requiring governmental agencies to follow specified guidelines regarding intersections, signage and the notice to appear.
  • Hospitals, clinics, and birthing centers will now be required to provide and discuss contact information regarding child safety seat requirements, installation, and inspection to parents and caregivers upon discharge of a child, if the child is younger than 8.

Proposition 30

State sales tax increases a quarter-cent Jan. 1, a voter-approved measure that will fund public safety and education. The law also ups income taxes for those who make more than $250,000 of taxable income annually.

Look up all of the new laws in this state database.

William Christopherson December 31, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Don't take a deep breath folks, you may be breaking a law in CA. Question: How many obsolete laws were eliminated.
Naomi J. Williams December 31, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Most of these sound quite sensible. But two things occur to me: (1) I'd really, really like to see cops actually pulling people over & ticketing them for driving while texting or talking on their cell phones. I still see this ALL the time. (2) There's something depressing about having to classify breastfeeding as a form of "sex" to protect breastfeeding women in the workplace. Isn't it *because* people see breastfeeding as sexual that women are sometimes given grief for feeding their children in public or at work?
Gregory Brittain December 31, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Year by year, government expands and liberty diminishes. Really, in 2012, CA did not have enough laws?
Virginia Johnson December 31, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Just more feel good laws with no substance. We need a part time legislature to stop the thousands of laws passed yearly. California Congress has way too much time on their hands. I agree with Mr. Christopherson, lets get rid of our obsolete and duplicate laws. This will never happen because there is always an election coming up somewhere that require the kowtow vote.
Racerx Gto December 31, 2012 at 11:35 PM
More laws, more laws, more laws, more taxes and even more taxes. Anything you do, any thing you say could be illegal. On one end of the scale is Freedom and Liberty. On the other scale is encroaching government. Which side is filling up faster?
Lucas January 01, 2013 at 05:15 AM
"•A new law allows driver’s license applicant who provides satisfactory proof that his or her presence in the U.S. is authorized under federal law, but who is not eligible for a Social Security number, is eligible to receive an original driver's license if he or she meets all other qualifications for licensure." I use my California drivers license when I'm in Mexico. Why can't they use their Mexico drivers license when they are here?
Annie G. January 01, 2013 at 07:47 AM
I'm interested in just how many "driverless" cars there are on the road. At least the car won't drive drunk, or impaired, and is the ultimate handsfree device when it comes to texting and cell phone usage. And the police can't be accused of profiling if they pull over a driverless car. Perhaps my driverless car will be allowed to do my jury duty? All for them, then.
Jason January 02, 2013 at 02:20 AM
Because they're not here on visitor's visas, they're illegal aliens.
Jason January 02, 2013 at 02:24 AM
Driver-free cars are great. All they care about is avoiding wrecks, so it doesn't matter who has legal right of way. They always yield regardless. Used to be I had to wonder if the other person was going to let me bully them, with driver-free cars I can just do whatever I want and they always move!
Franklin January 02, 2013 at 02:31 AM
I'm actually interested in this driverless car thing, too (although I like going to jury duty)...If this becomes widespread, it's going to have repercussions. For example, if there's an accident, who is at fault? There's supposed to be a driver able to take control. What if the driver takes over control and has an accident? It's an interesting idea, it might work, but I hope it's been well thought out.
desertpatriot January 02, 2013 at 05:43 PM
‘The law states therapists can't provide minors with therapy intended to change their sexual orientation’ would it be against the law for a non-therapist (i.e. a person of the cloth) to provide therapy to minors who are gender confused? my sympathies go out to all parents who are experiencing this horrific event
Adam January 02, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Becasue many of them were brought to america as a baby. My brother is a high school teacher and he has students that are "illegal aliens" who have not been to mexico since they were 1 and don't speek a lick of spanish. All they know is america.
Roberto January 02, 2013 at 09:10 PM
So Moonbeam Brown passed 187 new bills last year. Hummm, So what happens when a driverless car blows through a intersection with a traffic camera?
Jason January 04, 2013 at 05:03 AM
Adam, if they don' speak Spanish, how do they communicate with their parents, by pictogram?
Jason January 04, 2013 at 05:07 AM
That law was already halted as it is unconstitutional. Even the dimwitted whack-jobs on the 9th circuit know that a law making it illegal to say things violates the first amendment.


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