These new California laws took effect in July

California saw several new laws take effect on July 1. Here is an overview at some of them. 


As people start to drive home from their Fourth of July destinations, they can expect a bump in gas prices. The state gas tax increased over the weekend, by $0.04 per gallon, putting the total at $0.58. The inflation adjustment goes toward road construction and maintenance.

Efforts by Assembly Republicans to delay the increase failed.

"Stopping the gas tax increase, would be a simple way to make travel more affordable, as many continue to struggle to get by," Assemblymember Laurie Davies (R-Laguna Niguel) said. "As California becomes less and less affordable, more people are leaving our state."

According to AAA, the state average of $4.84 is $1.32 more than the national average, but well below the average this time last year of $6.24.


Last week, a new law pushed by Gov. Newsom created a new public watchdog of the state’s oil refiners, with hopes of keeping gas prices at bay. The state watchdog has the authority to fine refiners if their profits soar like they did last summer.

The oil industry blames California’s environmental laws and says regulation is cutting down on the number of refiners that can produce California’s cleaner air gasoline blends.


Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) authored two bills that became law on July 1. One provides relief and reform for how toll penalty fees are assessed. It creates a plan for low-income residents to have their late fees waived, it also caps fines for late payments and sets a minimum time period before someone’s car registration is suspended.

"I heard about a poor driver from Alameda who had racked up $30,000 in unpaid fines and tolls bills," Ting said. "What we really did was make sure that you as a driver have more rights."


Gov. Newsom also signed a bill from Ting which would allow Californians to sue gunmakers and distributors in civil court. It requires the gun industry to abide by new state standards for sales, marketing and safety.

"If you are a victim of gun violence, and the gun manufacturer or the gun dealers or sellers haven’t completely followed state law, they could be legally liable," Ting said.

The NRA opposed the law, and it is currently being challenged in court.


California became the first state in the nation to allow almost all old convictions on a person’s criminal record to be permanently sealed.

People who are not convicted of another felony four years after completing their sentences are eligible, with exceptions for serious and violent felonies, as well as those that require sex offender registration.

Advocates say it’s a welcome second change for many.

"Individuals who are just trying to get to the next chapter of their lives, being positive members of society," said Damien Posey from TimeDone California. "It’s hard because property managers are looking at your record, jobs where the security risk might not even be that high."


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