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What Did the Bay Area's Elected Officials Do in Sacramento This Year?

From automated juice dispensers to online dating service contracts, here are some of the most important new laws.


The deadline for Governor Jerry Brown to sign bills into law was October 15th. So what have your elected officials been up to this year? In addition to a massive deal on housing, an extension of the cap and trade system, and new infrastructure funding, politicians in Sacramento have been keeping busy. Here are some of the new laws written by the Bay Area’s representatives.

Alcoholic Beverages in Museums and Educational Centers (AB 297)
Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-Marin County)
This bill allows the planned California Wine Center in downtown Santa Rosa to serve wine. You’d better believe not a single person voted against it.

Online Dating Service Contracts (AB 314)
Assemblymember Kevin Mullin (D-San Mateo)
The laws that govern the user contracts for online dating services like Tinder and OkCupid were written in 1989, and last amended in 1993. It’s about time to swipe right on an update, which this bill does.

Cold Pressed Juice Technology Adaptation (AB 836)
Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco)
This bill legalizes “automated juice distribution systems.” Okay. We’ll have a Snickers bar and a fresh-pressed detox blend, please.

Parks Under Freeways (AB 857)
Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco)
No, they’re not creating more parking. Instead, Caltrain can more easily build actual, fresh-air parks, which this bill allows San Francisco to offer at reduced-rate leases. Trade sitting under the shadow of a tree for the shadow of 101.

Sales of Dogs and Cats (AB 1491)
Assemblymember Anna Caballero (D-Salinas)
Bans lease-to-own arrangements for purchasing pet dogs or cats, which, honestly, is an way to adopt a pet we only learned existed at the beginning of this sentence.

New Firearms Warnings (AB 1525)
Assemblymember Catharine Baker (R-Dublin)
The Bay Area’s only legislative Republican is not exactly following Donald Trump’s playbook, authoring this law that updates the warnings required on the packaging of firearms. (Funny enough for Baker, it passed only thanks to the votes of the party that actually favors gun control.)

Autonomous Vehicle Testing (SB 145)
State Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo)
In 2012, the state of California began allowing autonomous vehicle testing on our roads. It’s been going pretty well so far, so this bill makes it a little easier for companies to keep testing.

LGBT Senior Long-Term Care Bill of Rights (SB 219)
State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco)
Existing California law makes it illegal for nursing homes to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. Wiener’s bill replaces these vague laws with specific protections that include the use of preferred pronouns and fair treatment regardless of HIV/AIDS status.

School Suspensions (SB 607)
State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley)
This bars schools from suspending students for “willful defiance,” aiming to close racial disparities in suspensions and expulsions by forcing administrators to give a better reason than bad attitude.


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