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New laws from clearing pot crime to DUIs
Go into effect today

Students in California will now be able to represent their heritage during high school graduations and other school events.

Assembly Bill 1248 – which goes into effect today – protects the right of students to wear religious and cultural adornments despite the rules that individual public schools or districts may have against them.

The law was implemented after an Elk Grove High School student was kicked out of his graduation two years ago for refusing to remove a Kente cloth – representative of the Akan people of the Gold Coast region of Africa – from the top of his graduation gown.

That now means that students will be able to wear things like tribal feathers and leis at graduation events, despite the fact that some schools have adopted policies banning both of them.

And AB 1248 is not the only new law going into effect today. Here are a what that will mean for California residents:

*Senate Bill 1046 requires anybody convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol to install a breathalyzer onto their vehicle in order to get their drivers licenses back. Interlock devices were previously only required for people who had received multiple DUI convictions.

*AB 2989 allows adults 18 or older to ride electric scooters without a helmet on city streets with a speed limit of up to 35 miles per hour. The law previously prohibited electric scooters from being ridden faster than 15 miles per hour. That posed a problem in areas with heavy tourism where scooter rentals have become a popular way for people to sightsee.

*AB 1976 now mandates employers with nursing mothers provide a private area that is not a bathroom so that they may pump breast milk. The law already requires California businesses to make reasonable accommodations and to provide breaks and space for pumping, but the new law requires the space be private and not a traditional bathroom if possible.

*AB 1793 requires the state to identify, by July, all people who are eligible for expungement or resentencing for past marijuana offenses. California law already allows people convicted in the past of possession, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana to petition to have those convictions overturned now that cannabis is legal in the state. The new bill could allow for up to 200,000 criminal records to be cleaned up.

*Senate Bill 439 establishes a minimum age for prosecution in juvenile court, unless a minor younger than the age of 12 – the new cap – commits murder or rape.

*Senate Bill 1391 eliminates the ability of prosecutors to charge a minor under the age of 16 as an adult for a crime, forcing them to prison if convicted instead of a juvenile detention facility.

*AB 748 requires law enforcement agencies to release audio or video footage of officer-involved shootings within 45 days of the incident, unless the video would interfere with an active investigation. In tandem, Senate Bill 1421 opens up public access to internal investigations of police officers who have killed or seriously injured somebody, as well as those found to have committed sexual assault or lied on the job. Both laws are part of a renewed push towards transparency with law enforcement across the state.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.