Ban on all plastic shopping bags
Law SB-270: Starting in July, the use of single-use plastic bags will be prohibited from clothing stores, supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies. Governor Jerry Brown approved this law on Sept. 30, 2014 and the law will be in motion on Jul. 1, 2015. This law has been implemented because some consider plastic bags to be a threat to the environment if they are not properly recycled. Plastic is harmful to Marine life because mammals may confuse the bag with prey, and sea creatures devour the plastic, which prevents them from digesting real food. Companies make plastic bags from petroleum products, meaning that they are nonrenewable. When the plastic supply is empty, the earth will take millions of years to create more crude oil for plastic. This new law will help in keeping the planet free from harmful waste and save plastic for more useful products. Instead of utilizing plastic bags, stores now distribute paper bags for a fee of 10 cents. While plastic bags for certain items are no longer allowed, people may use them for items such as vegetables, fruits or meats.
“I do not like this law,” said junior Gucci Mandela. “Let me do what I want and save the earth at the same time.”
Public schools must have EpiPens
Law SB-1266: Public schools must have a stock of epinephrine injectors in case a student has a severe allergic reaction and needs immediate attention. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2015. In order to prevent long-term injuries or even death, this new law requires all public schools to have epinephrine injectors (EpiPens) in case a student has an allergic reaction. An EpiPen gives one an emergency shot of epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, to stop a serious reaction. The chemical epinephrine narrows blood vessels and opens airways of the lungs to allow one to breathe properly. This chemical can reverse low blood pressure, wheezing, severe skin itching, hives and other allergic reaction symptoms. If a person has a critical reaction, manufacturers and doctors advise users to seek medical attention even after the dose is injected. The school nurse or trained personnel of a school is in charge of stocking the EpiPens and giving them to students. School districts must distribute a note to staff once a year requesting volunteers to be trained to administer the epinephrine injection to students in need.
“I think this law will be beneficial,” said junior Veronica Piedrahita. “I would rather a school require EpiPens than let students die.”
Toy weapons must be brightly colored
Law SB-199: Approved on September 30, 2014, law SB-199 requires manufacturers of toy weapons to make the toys brightly colored so that officers can differentiate them from actual firearms. To stop police from accidentally shooting citizens who possess toy weapons that resemble real weapons, all toys are now required to be brightly colored. The purpose of this law is to prevent the unwarranted death of young people. This law was propositioned in response to the police killing 12-year-old Tamir Rice, a young boy who was playing with an air gun in the park. Therefore, this law will attempt to prevent a situation like this from occurring again. Any toy gun purchased before 2016 will not be affected by this law. If the toy guns are brightly colored, they will resemble a toy rather than a weapon.
“I like that toy manufacturers are not going to make the toy guns so life-like anymore,” said junior Isaiah Hayes. “Due to the fact that children are being shot, the toys should be made in more vibrant and bright colors instead of realistic black or silver.”
Employers required to provide paid sick leave
Law AB-1522: California employers are required to provide a minimum of three days paid sick leave to their employees. The Governor approved this law on September 10, and it will go into effect starting July 1, 2015. This law covers part-time and temporary employees. Employees must be employed for at least 90 days before taking sick leave, with each employee receiving one hour of paid time-off for working every 30 hours. Under the law an employee may take off work for his or her own physical or mental health condition or for a family member’s health condition. Sick leave may also be used if employees are victims of sexual violence, domestic assault or stalking. Employers must pay employees their regular hourly wage for each hour of sick leave. If this law is violated, offenders will face administrative fines. This law authorizes the Attorney General and Labor Commissioner to reinstate employees.
“If you’re sick you might need to buy medicine and pay for a doctors visit, so three paid sick days is really substantial and helpful,” said junior Tristan Bailey.