New Year, New Laws 2019

| by Heather Duncan, Esq.

As has been our tradition at the Network News, this January edition will depart from our usual deposition tips and techniques to bring you an overview of a few of the many new laws that go into effect in 2019.


In California, bills were signed into law banning secret settlement of harassment allegations and placing new limits on non-disparagement agreements limiting a person from speaking out about workplace misconduct. While a victim can choose to keep his or her name private, the perpetrator’s name can no longer be confidential.

Most California employers will now be required to provide biannual sexual harassment training to all employees.


California now requires rifle and shotgun owners to be at least 21 years old (state law already sets a minimum 21 year age for handgun possession).

Going forward, anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence will lose his or her right to own a firearm.


California has eliminated cash bail for criminal defendants.

California also ended felony murder charges for those who are accomplices in crimes that end in death.

For juveniles, two new laws are on the books: courts are prohibited from trying 14-and-15-year olds as adults, except for the most serious crimes, and there is a new ban on prosecuting most minors younger than 12 in juvenile court.


California enacted the nation’s first ban on unrequested plastic straws in dine-in restaurants.  Additionally, kid’s meals must now come with a water or milk based drink as the standard option.


Adults 18 or over may ride through the streets on an electric scooter without a helmet.


First responders who encounter a distressed dog or cat can provide emergency medical assistance to those pets, which was previously allowed only by licensed veterinarians.


Californians who don’t identify as either male or female will now have a third option for their driver’s license, a nonbinary gender category designated by the letter “X.”

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