The new California Legislature has a huge task ahead to deal with a projected nearly $35 billion revenue shortfall. State budget cuts or tax measures are expected to affect most of the state€™s residents in some manner.
In piecemeal fashion the 2002 Legislature also put its stamp on this new year and the years ahead. More than eleven hundred laws taking effect today also have the potential to affect most Californians.
— Real estate taxes will rise this year. Anyone buying property in California will be required to withhold about three-and-one-third percent of the sale price for state taxes.
— A new law requires landlords to give long-term renters 60 days to move out which is twice the traditional 30-day notice.
–Another new California law allows a domestic partner to inherit their partner€™s property if he or she dies without a will.
— And California€™s landmark farm labor law was expanded by requiring mandatory mediation to break deadlocks in farm worker contract disputes.
The Legislature during 2002 made some other groundbreaking moves.
— Allegations of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic Church prompted California lawmakers to push through a law making it easier for child abuse victims to claim damages. It gives victims whose statute of limitations have already expired an additional year to take legal action.
— California became the first state to take a stand on the long-running debate on stem cell research. It runs counter to Bush administration policy by explicitly allowing embryonic stem cell research in California.
— California€™s temporary ban on human cloning will become permanent.
And another measure effective today makes California the first state to repeal gun manufacturers´ special immunity against lawsuits.