Jan 022017

New California Laws For 2017

California government, with Governor Brown at the steering wheel, worked tirelessly to introduce, pass and sign 898 new laws. The laws treat into effect in 2017. We are obviously not going to discuss all of them here but here are a few worth noting.

Holding a cellphone or any other wireless electronic device while driving is illegal and punishable by law starting in 2017. From now on any such devices have to be mounted in front of the driver (without obstructing the view of the road, of course) and only a single swipe / single tap feature or function activation is allowed while driving.

Vehicle registration fees are rising on all vehicles and trailers.

Minimum wage is going up (for those employed by businesses with 26 or more employees) from $10 to $10.50 per hour. The minimum wage is to gradually increase and reach $15 per hour in 2022.

No more statute of limitation on rape. In 2017 California joins the 16 States that don’t have statute of limitations on rape. (13 additional States vary on the definition of rape.) Until now California’s law limited the time for prosecution of a felony sex offense to 10 years, the sole exception: the emergence of new DNA evidence. For Californians, the new law means more hope for justice for rape victims. (The law applies to rapes committed after January 1st 2017.)

Good mood while pampered is allowed: free wine and beer can be legally served to customers in hair salons and barbers shops before 10 pm.

Stocking EpiPens by businesses is legal. Businesses, educational institutions, entertainment venues and such prepared for EpiPens’ use in cases of life-threatening allergic reactions can now buy and stock it legally.

We have the Right-To-Die. The law makes death-on-demand legal for terminally-ill patients and legalizes physicians’ assistance for patients who choose to die.

The last one – technically doesn’t belong on this list – but yes, recreational marijuana use became legal in California in 2017 and some Angelenos simply couldn’t contain their joy…..

L.A. celebrates legalization of recreational marijuana use

California is making progress in safety, security, justice and healthcare. (Not to mention our commitment to delaying climate change, renewable fuels and environmental protection.) Happy New Year!

Additional information on specific California laws is available on http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/
Full information on new California laws for 2017 is supposed to be available here
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/newLawTemplate.xhtml but isn’t, hopefully it will be soon.



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Aug 182016


New Metro Pedestrian Tunnel in North Hollywood Will Improve Connections, Ease Congestion

A new pedestrian tunnel connecting Metro’s Red and Orange lines will improve connections for transit riders, and ease congestion by taking them beneath the busy traffic on a major San Fernando Valley thoroughfare.

The tunnel is expected to save riders up to five minutes from the time they disembark an Orange Line bus to their arrival on the Red Line platform — allowing passengers to make faster bus and rail connections.

“By letting riders make connections underground, we’re making it easier to transfer between the Orange and Red lines, and easing congestion for drivers on Lankershim,” said L.A. Mayor and Metro Board First Vice Chair Eric Garcetti. “This is a smart project that helps Valley commuters and strengthens our regional transportation system.”

Metro has installed ticket vending machines, TAP fare gates, closed-circuit security cameras, Transit Passenger Information System monitors and other amenities within the tunnel.

“Metro’s new tunnel reduces the main point of conflict between high-volume vehicular traffic and transit riders, cuts their travel times and adds capacity to our busy Red and Orange Line stations,” said John Fasana, Duarte City Council Member and Metro Board Chair. “Metro has built an extremely robust facility that will position these stations to better accommodate the San Fernando Valley’s growing demands for transit in the coming years.”

On a daily average, approximately 23,000 vehicles travel along this segment of Lankershim Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. Transit riders typically mass on opposite sides of the street to wait for pedestrian signals to turn green, before scrambling across the street in groups of 60 to 80 people at a time. Patrons sometimes cross in the middle of the street or jaywalk against red intersection signals — risky behavior that can jeopardize their safety and impede vehicles.

The tunnel offers pedestrians a completely grade-separated alternative, and allows motorists to enjoy less traffic congestion and shorter traffic signals. The tunnel will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a result of reduced vehicle idling at the intersection.

“Metro is constantly focused on enhancing the customer’s experience. Our new North Hollywood pedestrian tunnel is evidence that we are committed to providing improved safety and mobility as we continue to create a world-class transportation system in Los Angeles County,” said Phillip A. Washington, Metro CEO. “With all the improvements planned in North Hollywood in the coming years, this tunnel will help keep people moving as efficiently as possible.”

The pedestrian tunnel, which fully complies with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, is the first in a series of transportation improvements aimed at continuing the revitalization of North Hollywood as a transit hub for the San Fernando Valley. The design-build project cost $22 million and took approximately two years to construct, and the U.S. Department of Transportation contributed a $10 million livability and sustainability grant for the project.

This is the second pedestrian connection to open this year. This new Metro pedestrian tunnel in North Hollywood will make life easier for transit riders as well as improve their safety. In April, Metro opened an award-winning pedestrian bridge connecting the Universal City Metro Red Line station with the Universal Studios Shuttle stop across the street.

The project is part of Metro’s effort to build greater convenience and safer pedestrian connections. Metro approved a new sales tax measure for the November ballot to fund more than $120 billion in critical rail and road projects, including a subway line from the San Fernando Valley to LAX, and extensions to connect communities throughout the region — from Claremont to Culver City and San Fernando to the South Bay. For more information on Metro’s bold plan, visit theplan.metro.net

About Metro
Metro is a multimodal transportation agency that is really three companies in one: a major operator that transports about 1.4 million boarding passengers on an average weekday on a fleet of 2,200 clean air buses and six rail lines, a major construction agency that oversees many bus, rail, highway and other mobility related building projects, and the lead transportation planning and programming agency for Los Angeles County. Overseeing one of the largest public works programs in America, Metro is changing the urban landscape of the Los Angeles region. Dozens of transit, highway and other mobility projects largely funded by Measure R are under construction or in the planning stages. These include five new rail lines, enhanced bus operations, and numerous highway and local projects.