CalChamber Releases List of New Laws Affecting Businesses in 2007

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The California Chamber of Commerce is urging employers to be aware of new laws now in effect or that will take effect in 2007.

"CalChamber uses its knowledge of laws and regulations to provide products and services to help businesses comply with both state and federal laws," said CalChamber President Allan Zaremberg. "California employers need to be aware that there are several new laws that will affect the ways in which they operate their businesses in 2007. Our CalBizCentral compliance division has already prepared the 2007 California Labor Law Digest which is available at our website http://www.calbizcentral.com, because providing compliance products and advice is another way CalChamber helps California business do business."

The following is a list of new laws that have recently gone into effect or will take effect in 2007:

-- Discrimination --

SB 1441

Adds sexual orientation to existing classifications protected from discrimination by recipients of state funds and expands the definition of discrimination to include the perception that the victim is a member of a protected class.

-- Employment --

AB 546

Outlaws the use of state-owned or state-leased computers by government officials or employees to access obscene materials.

SB 1759

Establishes requirements for background checks of certain administrators, executives and employees in the health care industry, and a process for transmission of fingerprint images.

-- Health and Safety --

AB 2067

Extends and clarifies the prohibition on smoking in the workplace.

AB 409

Immediately authorizes suspension of the license of a cosmetologist, barber, estheticians, manicurist, and electrologist if required to protect the public health and safety. Provides a means for temporary stay and appeal of the suspension.

AB 881

Requires all roofing contractors to have workers' compensation insurance, whether or not having current employees.

SB 1613

Effective July 1, 2008, limits the use of cell phones while driving to those having hands-free operation except for contacts with law enforcement and public safety agencies and certain commercial vehicles for whom the effective date is July 1, 2011.

Until July 1, 2011, this prohibition does not apply to a person driving a motor truck or truck tractor, an agricultural vehicle, tow truck, or a commercial vehicle, when using a digital 2-way radio service that utilizes a wireless telephone that operates by depressing a push-to-talk feature as long as it does not require immediate proximity to the user's ear.

The law does not apply to a person driving a school bus or transit vehicle that is subject to certain existing wireless telephone usage restrictions, or to a person while driving a motor vehicle on private property.

-- Sexual Harassment --

AB 2095

Limits mandated sexual harassment training to supervisors located in California.

-- State Government --

AB 3058

Directs development of a web-based small business handbook on emergency preparedness.

AB 1302

Amends the process by which state government agencies can create and impose emergency regulations and the duration of the period during which emergency regulations can remain in effect.

SB 1436

Requires state agencies to improve their communication regarding regulations and assistance with the business community, with an emphasis on small business.

SB 1827

Permits registered domestic partners to file joint state income tax and have their earnings treated as community property on a par with married couples.

SB 1428

Permits payroll services companies in the motion picture industry to be treated as the employer for purposes of unemployment tax filings and responsibility.

AB 2293

Penalizes an educational employer that submits willfully false statements about a worker's employment or termination to the Employment Development Department.

-- Wages --

AB 2613

Establishes conditions for a state overtime exemption for teachers in private educational institutions.

SB 1468

This law extends the repeal date of the Car Wash Industry compliance program from January 1, 2007 to January 1, 2010.

SB 1719

Permits employers and unions in the entertainment industry to establish conditions for payment of final paychecks by collective bargaining.

AB 1835

Increases California's minimum wage and exempt salary standards for all California employers.

This law increases the California minimum wage to $7.50 per hour on January 1, 2007, and to $8 per hour on January 1, 2008.

AB 2095

Permits reporting of overtime hours on the same payroll date as the hours are paid when overtime is paid in the payroll period subsequent to the one in which it is earned.

-- Wage Deductions --

AB 2440

Imposes a penalty on an employer that assists an employee or contractor with child support obligations evade meeting those obligations, including failure to file reports upon hiring.

-- Workers' Compensation --

AB 1368

Excludes public safety employees from the presumption that medical apportionment applied to certain specified job-related illnesses or injuries.

AB 2068

Permits pre-designation of a medical group as the primary treating physician and extends the sunset date of the right of pre-designation.

AB 2292

Provides for payment of workers' compensation death benefits to the estate of the deceased worker. Labor Code Section 4706.5 requires workers' compensation death benefits to be paid to the California State Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) if the employee does not leave surviving any person entitled to a dependency death benefit.

For more information about the new laws, visit http://www.hrcalifornia.com. For information about the CalChamber's 2007 California Labor Law Digest and other products that help employers comply with California business laws, please visit: http://www.calbizcentral.com.

The California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) is the largest broad-based business advocate to government in California. Membership represents one-quarter of the private sector jobs in California and includes firms of all sizes and companies from every industry within the state. Leveraging our front-line knowledge of laws and regulations, we provide products and services to help businesses comply with both federal and state law. CalChamber, a not-for-profit organization with roots dating to 1890, promotes international trade and investment in order to stimulate California's economy and create jobs. Please visit our website at http://www.calchamber.com.

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