Some of the bills signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown that will take effect in the new year, by category:
— People who are required by law to report suspected child abuse or neglect are no longer required to do so based on homelessness alone.
— State officials must give journalists five days’ notice before they subpoena reporters’ telephone records. The legislation responds to the U.S. Justice Department’s retrieval of Associated Press telephone logs.
— School officials can suspend or expel students who engage in cyberbullying, using computers, smartphones and social media on- and off-campus. Private school employees who work with minors must undergo fingerprint background checks. Youth sports programs can run criminal background checks on potential volunteer coaches.
— Inmates who were sentenced to lengthy prison terms for crimes they committed before they turned 18 may get quicker parole hearings. And law enforcement agencies must videotape interrogations when a minor is suspected or accused of committing murder.
— Anyone making fake 911 calls could face a fine of up to $10,000 to cover the costs of the emergency mobilization. The practice is referred to as “swatting” because SWAT units sometimes have had to respond.
— Photographers who harass celebrities and their children face tougher penalties under a law supported by actresses Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner.
— Paroled sex offenders who cut off their GPS tracking devices will receive harsher punishments, up to six months in county jail. Offenders have frequently faced little punishment because many jails are overcrowded, leading them to be released after just a couple of days.
— Teenage drivers are banned from texting while driving even if they use hands-free devices to dictate, send and listen to text messages.
11 new gun control laws also take effect, including:
— A ban on kits that allow people to turn regular ammunition magazines into high-capacity ones.
— Two bills restricting the ability of mentally ill people to possess firearms.
— Legislation requiring the safe storage of handguns.
— And a requirement that buyers of rifles and shotguns pass a safety test.
The firearms laws were praised by Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, who said in a conference call with reporters that California “tops the list of states with the most-effective gun laws.”
— California becomes the first state to ban lead bullets for all types of hunting. The ban is seen as a way to protect wildlife from ingesting the toxic metal, although it will be phased in through July 2019.
— Mountain lions will receive additional protections. California Department of Fish and Wildlife wardens must try to capture and relocate troublesome cats instead of killing them, unless they are deemed an imminent public safety threat. The law was enacted after wardens shot two cornered 4-month-old mountain lion kittens in Half Moon Bay a year ago, drawing outrage from residents.
— The state also will begin developing its first rules for how oil drillers use a technique known as fracking. Drillers will have to disclose the chemicals they use and obtain permits before they employ hydraulic fracturing, which involves injecting water, sand and chemicals into deep rock formations to release oil or natural gas.