LAWS -- The weird and the real
January 26, 2021
When in Palm Springs, please remember that you can’t walk your camel down Palm Canyon Drive from 4 to 6 p.m. Apparently it is OK at other times of the day.
If you head to San Francisco and you bring your elephant, please know that you can’t walk it on Market Street – unless it is on a leash. And don’t even think about bowling on sidewalks in Chino.
It is also illegal in Los Angeles to wash your neighbor’s car without their permission and you can’t curse while on a miniature golf course in Long Beach.
Those are just some of the “weird laws” in California, according to the website www.california.com.
While weird laws like these and others exist - but hopefully never need to be enforced - every New Year brings with it new laws that are intended to be enforced. While there are fewer of them this year because, well, 2020 happened, there are some that you may need or want to know about.
In no particular order, here are some of the new laws that either already have or will go into effect in 2021:
-- Price gouging law now covers people who only start selling products after an emergency has been declared. This was in response to the recent pandemic during which people bought items in bulk and then sold them at a higher price. That could now be price gouging, which is illegal.
-- People convicted of texting and driving twice within a three-year period will now have a “point” added to their driving record. This one goes into effect in July.
-- Probation sentences in most cases will be reduced to a maximum of two years for felony convictions and one year for misdemeanor convictions. Again, this is for most crimes but there are exceptions that can still allow for a lengthier probation sentence.
-- Law enforcement officers can no longer use chokeholds or any restraint that compresses a person’s carotid arteries.
-- The California Attorney General’s Office will now investigate any officer-involved shooting that results in the death of an unarmed person.
-- California emergency call centers must be able to accept text messages to 911.
-- Anyone who breaks or tries to break a vehicle window to rescue a child 6 years old or younger that is at significant risk inside is now protected from possible civil or criminal liability.
-- Emergency and law enforcement responders can be charged with a misdemeanor for taking photos of deceased persons for any reason other than that of official business.
-- Retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits is no longer allowed. Animal shelter or rescue groups can still offer pets to be adopted at retail businesses, as long as the store is not paid for the animals.
-- The death penalty cannot be sought against a defendant if health experts find evidence that the defendant had an intellectual disability that started during early years of brain development.
-- Women in jail or prison who are, or believe they may be, pregnant must have access to pregnancy testing and other pregnancy-related services.
So now you know. Please continue observing all the laws so we don’t end up seeing you in court. And don’t forget the leash if you go to San Francisco with your elephant.