Mike Billings, the assistant managing editor at the San Francisco Examiner newspaper, reports that with the new year comes new laws in California; so here are some of those going into effect in 2013.
Gay therapy ban tied up in courts
The most controversial California law once set to go into effect Tuesday is now on hold pending a review of its constitutionality.
Senate Bill 1172 bans therapies meant to “convert” gay, lesbian or bisexual minors into heterosexuals. California’s ban represents the first time that any state has outlawed such practices, which are alternatively known as reparative, conversion or gay therapy.
Texting behind wheel legal — with a hands-free device
Drivers in California can now text and email while they drive if they use voice-operated systems that keep their hands free for driving.
Assemblyman Jeff Miller, R-Corona, authored the new legislation, which goes into effect Tuesday. The bill would remove the prohibition on writing, sending or reading text-based messages if the driver is using an electronic device configured for voice-operated, hands-free text-based communication.
But the new law has caught the attention of the National Safety Council, which is calling for its repeal. The group says that even with hands-free devices, drivers can be distracted.
New laws will restrict banks from pursuing so-called dual-track foreclosures in which they simultaneously work on renewing a borrower's mortgage terms while also proceeding with foreclosure of a home; make banks give homeowners a single, knowledgeable point of contact for their loan; and require purchasers of of foreclosed homes to give tenants a 90-day notice before starting eviction proceedings. These laws and others constitute the Homeowners Bill of Rights.
A law by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, will guarantee that clergy members do not have to perform nuptials that violate their religious beliefs, such as same-sex marriages. The law also protects denominations from losing their tax-exempt status because of the refusal to perform such a marriage.