Navigating Legislative Process
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KQED’s list Going into 2018 : New laws that apply or will be going to ballot soon.
A quick rundown of new California laws affecting vehicle owners, drivers, bridge users, parking-ticket payers, pedestrians and transit passengers:
- New fuel taxes and vehicle fees (SB 1): Higher fuel taxes included in the law, which [increased gas taxes and vehicle licese fees and added new a new $100 fee for zero-emission vehicles will take effect in 2020.] SB 1, and all its higher taxes and new fees, is currently the target of two recall campaigns.
- Bay Area bridge tolls (SB 595): The bill authorizes a vote on raising bridge tolls by as much as $3 in the nine Bay Area counties. The vote is expected to take place in June.
- Crosswalk countdowns (AB 390): The new law makes it legal to enter a crosswalk after a crosswalk countdown starts — as long as you get to the other side by the time the counter reaches zero… [another facet of previous state law remains unchanged: If you’re crossing at a traditional pedestrian signal — without a countdown clock — it will remain illegal to start into the street once the flashing “don’t walk” (or red hand) begins flashing.]
- Cannabis — no use in vehicles (SB 65): New law extends existing California ban on drinking alcohol while driving and while riding in a vehicle operating on a highway and now also prohibits “smoking or ingesting marijuana or any marijuana product while driving, or while riding as a passenger in, a motor vehicle being driven upon a highway or upon specified lands.”
- Cannabis — no open containers in vehicles (SB 94): Among the dozens of provisions of the legislation enacting the 2016 Adult Use of Marijuana Act is one that makes it illegal “to possess a receptacle containing cannabis or cannabis product that has been opened, or a seal broken, or to possess loose cannabis flower not in a container, while driving a motor vehicle, as specified, unless the receptacle is in the trunk of the vehicle or the person is a qualified patient carrying a current identification card or a physician’s recommendation and the cannabis or cannabis product is contained in a container or receptacle that is either sealed, resealed, or closed.”
- Driving passengers for hire — new DUI limit [is exteneded to Uber, Lyft and all paid drivers transporting passengers] (AB 2687, 2016).
- Parking tickets — payment plans for indigent drivers (AB 503)
- Disabled parking placards (SB 611) Via the Sacramento Bee: The new law “requires the state Department of Motor Vehicles to tighten its oversight of the state disabled placard program… reviewing the federal Social Security Administration’s ‘death file’… canceling placards of deceased drivers.”
- Parking tickets — no citations at broken meters (AB 1625): The new law prohibits local governments from prohibiting or restricting parking at broken meters or payment devices…limited to posted time limits.
- Bus seatbelts (SB 20): Effective July 1, 2018, the bill requires bus drivers and passengers to wear seat belts in buses that are equipped with them and requires drivers to notify passengers of this requirement and the fine for not wearing a seat belt either before departure or with posted signs or placards. [How is this going to work on standing room only vehicles and one and short rides?]
- Motorcycle training courses (AB 1027): The new law allows the Department of Motor Vehicles to accept a certificate of completion of an approved motorcyclist training program in lieu of a driving test and specifies that persons under 21 must complete a novice program.
- Transit fines (SB 614): The new law reduces fines for fare evasion and other passenger conduct offenses specified by state law (for instance, smoking, eating or playing loud music on trains or buses). [The state fines people for eating and drinking on buses? No wonder people are getting off the bus.]
- Testing autonomous vehicles (SB 719): You may not believe this, but California’s official rules of the road require a minimum of 100 feet of space between vehicles moving down the road. One of the promises of autonomous vehicles is the potential to operate closer together, in effect adding capacity to our existing highways. SB 719 provides for continued testing of “technologies that enable drivers to safely operate motor vehicles with less than 100 feet between each vehicle or combination of vehicles until January 1, 2020, and requires Caltrans to submit an updated report on the testing to the Legislature on or before July 1, 2019.”
“…One of the promises of autonomous vehicles is the potential to operate closer together, in effect adding capacity to our existing highways…”
Who is selling and who is buying this logic? This has got to be the most unbelievable idea the “control traffic” geniuses have come up with yet. Why are they removing traffic lanes to decrease capacity while promising autonomous vehicles to increase it? The cheapest fastest way to increase capacity is to STOP decreasing lanes! Politicians who doesn’t get this logic do not deserve your vote of confidence.