California begins 2019 with batch of new laws


CALIFORNIA — New laws are taking effect this week that involve adding more women on corporate boards, banning plastic straws from restaurants, increasing restrictions on guns and more.

  

Corporation boards

On the large corporate scale, Senate Bill 826 — approved by Gov. Jerry Brown in October — requires domestic general corporations or foreign corporations located in California to have at least one female on their boards of directors.

If the corporation has five directors, two would be required for women, while a six-member board would need three females.

  

Plastic straws

In the world of dining, customers who want straws at full-service restaurants will have to ask for them while eating. The law, approved by Brown, will not apply to fast-food restaurants, coffee shops, delis or restaurants serving take out.

The City of Gonzales has been experimenting with a “No Straw November” campaign that is led by the Gonzales Youth Council.

Every November, the councilmembers approached several Gonzales restaurants to not give out plastic straws unless customers asked for one. Among the restaurants involved with the experiment were Luigi’s Restaurant, Lucky Bamboo, Tacos El Jalicience, El Famoso, La Enchilada, Carlito’s Steakhouse, Linda Taqueria, Burger Queen and Del Valle Paleteria Y Neveria. Starbucks has also jumped on the bandwagon and has plans to stop using plastic straws by 2020.

  

Fast-food restaurants

The California Senate is trying to tackle the obesity epidemic and approved Senate Bill 1192, which makes restaurants marketing children’s meals to serve water or milk as the default beverage. Customers would still have the option to order soda.

  

Gun laws

More restrictions are coming to gun enthusiasts and future gun owners as 2019 marks the ban of anyone under 21 from buying rifles, shotguns and semi-automatic weapons.

  

Minimum wage

The minimum wage per hour for Californians rises again to $11 per hour for those working at a company with fewer than 25 employees. Companies with more than 26 workers, the minimum wage for staff is changed to $12 per hour.

The wage increase is part of a gradual increase that was approved a few years ago with the end goal of $15 per hour wages for all employees by 2023.

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