December Legal News Recap 2017

December News Update — California, Employment, Business, Insurance

December 2017’s trending legal updates, court decisions, and important news in California, Employment, Business, and Insurance.

California Law

    1. People in Los Angeles county can now text 911 during emergencies. The SMS message service is intended for the hearing impaired and those in dangerous situations unable to talk on the phone. Law enforcement encourages victims of crimes to use the text to 911 service as a last resort, as calls are preferable.

    The capability announced Friday is aimed at mobile users who are hearing and speech impaired as well as those who may be in a situation where it is too dangerous to dial 911.

    1. 13 states including Missouri and Arkansas have joined together for a lawsuit that opposes California’s egg law, which mandates that larger cage sizes are required for egg-laying hens. The attorney representing the states in the proposed lawsuit argue that the higher prices resulting from the egg law are unfair to consumers and farmers.

    “The suit argues that California’s requirements violate the U.S. Constitution’s interstate commerce clause and are preempted by federal law.”

    1. Uber is facing fresh legal woes for concealing a data hack. California law asserts that companies must inform consumers immediately when there is a data breach. The breach happened in October of 2016, and the company waited until November of 2017 to notify customers that their data was compromised.

    “California law requires companies to report hacks ‘in the most expedient time possible’ and ‘without unreasonable delay’ when some forms of personal data, including driver’s license numbers, are compromised. The law is designed to help consumers fight identity theft.”

    1. Cal/OSHA has notified employers that they must offer protection to workers if they are exposed to smoke from the California wildfires while doing their jobs.

    “…when outdoor workers are exposed to air quality that is designated Unhealthy, Very Unhealthy or Hazardous by local air quality management districts, employers are required to provide filtering respirators such as masks.”

    1. 2018 will bring on a new wave of traffic laws, which includes regulations on cannabis consumption while driving, and penalties for possession.

    “With the new year one week away, the California Department of Motor Vehicles is reminding voters about new traffic laws taking effect in 2018.”

Employment Law

    1. The California minimum wage is going up on January 1st, 2018. Businesses that have 25 employees or less are now required to offer $10.50 an hour to workers. Businesses with 26 employees or more must offer minimum wage employees $11 an hour.

    “The increases result from a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on April 4, 2016. The law made California the first state in the country to commit to raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour statewide by 2022 for large business and by 2023 for small ones.”

    1. Several new laws are going into effect in January of next year that employers are required to comply with. This includes the “ban the box” law, and changes to existing anti-harassment training requirements.

    “Current mandatory sexual harassment training for supervisors is being expanded to require training content that addresses harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.” 

Insurance Law

    1. Pharmaceutical companies are suing California over a drug transparency law that would require them to give notice if they plan to significantly raise drug prices.

    “PhRMA argued the state law imposed nationwide restrictions on the price of drugs, because it is tied to a nationwide measure of drug costs.”

    1. Homeowners’ Insurance in fire-prone areas of California may see their rates go up due to this year’s influx of wildfires across the state.

    “This year’s wildfire fire disasters, including the Lilac fire, could change insurance policies in California. Insurers are likely to take a massive hit as 2017 is now the worst wildfire season in the state’s modern history. Here’s what you need to know: Insurance rates could slightly go up with all these wildfires.”

Business News

    1. The FCC has voted to end “net neutrality”, a regulation put into effect by the Obama administration that prevented Internet Service Providers from charging customers extra fees for higher-speed content from sites of their choosing. Groups that oppose the decision are planning to sue the FCC in response to the decision.

    “Critics of the changes say that consumers may have more difficulty finding content online and that start-ups will have to pay to reach consumers.”

    1. The California Drought had a large impact on fisheries across the state — the largest of which had to truck Salmon out to sea. The results now are showing, with the state’s largest hatchery 6 million salmon short this year.

    “They knew at the time trucking the fish would lead to fewer fish coming back to Coleman this year to spawn. ‘Everybody kind of acknowledged and understood at the time the consequences,’ said John McManus, executive director of the Golden Gate Salmon Association, a fishing advocacy group.”

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