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The Good, the Interesting, and the Modern

by Phyllis Pollack
February 2014

PGP Mediation Blog by Phyllis G. Pollack

Phyllis  Pollack
It is Friday afternoon, and I am bored. Being desperate, I decided to review the Daily Journal's supplement of "New California Laws for 2014." Not only did I manage to stay awake throughout the entire 70 pages, I actually found some interesting laws. (All quotations and page references below are from the Supplement unless otherwise noted.)

First, California legislators pay attention to the news. For example, "revenge porn" has been in the news. Well, SB 255 created a new misdemeanor "... for the distribution of an image of an identifiable person's intimate body parts which had been taken with an understanding that the image would remain private...." (Probate Code Section 647.) (Page 13)

In the first quarter of 2013, there was a well publicized incident in which an 87 year old resident of the Glenwood Gardens retirement home in Bakersfield, California collapsed in the community dining room. Written records of the 911 call revealed that the staff was forbidden by the employer from performing lifesaving procedures. The resident passed away before the paramedics arrived. In response to this tragedy, AB 6323 now "...prohibits an employer from adopting a policy or practice that prohibits an employee from voluntarily providing emergency medical services..." in such situations. (Health and Safety Code Section 1799.103.) (Page 33)

In December 2011, President Obama signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act "... authorizing the indefinite military detention of civilians, including... U.S. citizens or legal residents on U.S. soil." Evidently, the California legislature, (along with Virginia and Alaska) opposes this idea. In October 2013, California enacted AB 351 which prohibits "... members of the California National Guard on official state duty from knowingly aiding an agency of the Armed Forces of the United States in ..." essentially incarcerating anyone pursuant to this federal statute. (Penal Code Section 145.5) (Page 47)

On a more somber note, Assembly member Ammiano from San Francisco introduced AB 755 which "... requires consideration of a suicide barrier for new or replacement bridge projects." According to the legislative analysis for this bill, "...statistics point to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge as the location of more suicides than virtually any other location in the world. Since it opened in 1937, over 1,400 confirmed deaths have been reported with untold others having gone undetected. In 2008, directors of the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District voted to install a suicide barrier on the bridge...."( at page 1).This new law is the result of the Assembly member's work to obtain a suicide barrier for the Golden Gate Bridge. (Government Code Section 14527.1) (Pages 62-63)

On a lighter note, AB 272 now requires dogs to receive their rabies shots at the age of 3 months rather than 4 months; this brings California into line with other federal rules, other states and vaccine labels. (Health and Safety Code Section 121690.) (Page 53)

AB 61 makes it legal, at least until January 1, 2017 to park at a broken parking meter for up to the posted time limit; no longer can one be given a citation for doing so. (Vehicle Code Section 22508.5) (Page 49)

Should one be so lucky as to win the California State Lottery, he/she may now "...assign any portion of their last three years' of prize winnings to another person or entity." It pays to be friends with or related to a lottery winner! (AB1332, Government Code section 8880.325) (Page 49)

Evidently, in California there is a problem with what to do with used mattresses. SB 254 establishes the Used Mattress Recovery and Recycling Act"... which requires mattress manufacturers and retailers to develop a ... program increase the recovery and recycling of used mattresses to reduce illegal dumping." (Public Resources Code Section 42985 et. seq.) (Page 24.)

I am not sure if the next statute is oxymoronic. AB711 requires the use of nonlead ammunition "... for the taking of wildlife in California as soon as practicable but no later than July 1, 2019" (Five years to use up all of the lead ammunition!) (Fish and Game Code section 3004.5) (Page 22)

Voter registration card information can now be made available to the public.... as long as the record is at least 100 years old! (but, suppose the person is still living? Is it an invasion of privacy?) ( SB112,Elections Code Section 2194.1) (Page 21)

Under SB 274, more than two persons can be deemed the parents of a child.(Amending Family Code Sections 3040, 4057, 7601, 7612, 8617 and adding section 4052.5). (Page 26)

But, at the same time, under AB 490, a parent who abandons his/her child cannot later inherit from that child if the child dies without a will. This makes sense to me! (Probate Code Section 6452.) (Page 26)

Finally, California is moving into the modern age. AB 1405 repeals The Subversive Organization Registration Law "... which requires the registration of subversive organizations....conceived and existing..." to undermine democracy. So much for the McCarthy Era! (Corporations Code Section 35000) (Page 7)

And good fences make good neighbors.... AB 1404 modernizes Civil Code Section 841 which was enacted 141 years ago to make certain what this old Civil Code section implied: that neighbors are to share in the expense of the construction and maintenance of boundary fences! (Page 51)

While there are many, many more interesting statutes, this blog is already too long. I will be glad to send a copy of the supplement upon request to anyone who has the time and inclination to learn how the California legislature earned its salary in 2013.

... Just something to think about!


Phyllis Pollack with PGP Mediation uses a facilitative, interest-based approach. Her preferred mediation style is facilitative in the belief that the best and most durable resolutions are those achieved by the parties themselves. The parties generally know the business issues and priorities, personalities and obstacles to a successful resolution as well as their own needs better than any mediator or arbitrator. She does not impose her views or make decisions for the parties. Rather, Phyllis assists the parties in creating options that meet the needs and desires of both sides.  When appropriate, visual aids are used in preparing discussions and illustrating possible solutions. On the other hand, she is not averse to being proactive and offering a generous dose of reality, particularly when the process may have stalled due to unrealistic expectations of attorney or client, a failure to focus on needs rather than demands, or when one or more parties need to be reminded of the potential consequences of their failure to reach an agreement.

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