Effective July: CA New Laws 2016

vaccinesGovernor Brown signed 807 new State laws for 2016. Many laws—including the increase in the minimum wage from $9 to $10 per hour, the mandate that 50 percent of the State’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030, and the prohibition of the sale of e-cigarettes to minors—went into effect on January 1.

Some laws, however, begin with the new fiscal year. Below are a few of the new laws that went into effect on July 1.

Vaccination requirements: One of the most controversial bills this year, Senate Bill 277 (Pan) requires that, unless there is an underlying medical reason, parents must vaccinate their children in order for the children to be able to attend school.

Ivory ban/rhinoceros horn ban: Assembly Bill 96 (Atkins) bans the import, selling, and possession of ivory. The prohibition is enforceable by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, which is authorized to impose a penalty of up to $10,000 for the violation.

DMV proof of residency requirement: AB 1465 (Gordon) requires applicants for an original California driver’s license or identification card to submit proof of California residency to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

BPPE exam reviews: Under SB 752 (Salas), the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) will review the list of exams prescribed by the U.S. Department of Education. BPPE must approve an alternative exam for those with limited English proficiency or without a high school diploma or equivalent if it determines there is no appropriate exam for these students.

Disability payment change: SB 667 (Jackson) extends the disability benefit period from 14 to 60 days. Under this new law, fewer claimants with ongoing or recurring conditions will have to complete a new waiting period for each absence at work.

Wage garnishment protection: Under SB 501 (Wieckowski), the garnishment rate goes from a flat 25 percent of one’s wages to a sliding scale that depends on your income. The law does not apply to child support and government debt.

For more information about these laws or to find out about other new laws that took just effect, go to www.leginfo.ca.gov/NewLaws.html.



Estate Planning: Will or Living Trust?

Surprisingly, Prince didn’t have a will. Unfortunately, about half of all Americans don’t either.

Is dying without a will—called dying intestate—an issue? If you have possessions you wish to give to certain people, or monies you want to donate to a particular cause, it can be a big issue.  When you die intestate, state law determines how your alast will and testamentssets are distributed; your wishes are not taken into account.

To avoid this situation, it’s important as part of your estate plan to have either a will or living trust in place. A will, also called “last will and testament,” is a legal document that details your final wishes, is subject to probate, and takes effect and becomes public after your death.

Unlike a will, a living trust can take effect while you’re still alive, remains private, and doesn’t require probate proceedings. You, as the trustee, can transfer your property into a living trust while alive and continue to manage the property (sell, exchange, invest) in the trust. The trust names successor trustees, who can take over your living trust at the time of your death or if you become incapacitated. However, if you don’t have someone you feel you can trust as the successor trustee, an option is a professional fiduciary. (Visit the California Professional Fiduciaries Bureau website at www.fiduciary.ca.gov to learn more about professional fiduciaries and the services they can provide.)

In general, a living trust is more expensive to set up than a will; the cost depends on the complexity and size of your assets and investments, as well as where you live. If your estate is complex, it may be worthwhile to go with a living trust versus a will, and avoid the State’s probate process. However, be aware that California does have a simplified probate process for small estates (under $150,000); in that case, you may want to opt to use a will.

Although estate size and complexity are two important factors to consider when deciding whether to go with a will or a living trust, consult a qualified estate attorney or other qualified and reputable financial and estate planner on the best choice. Visit the State Bar of California (State Bar) website for a list of certified estate planning specialists referral services: www.calbar.ca.gov/lrs or call the State Bar at (888) 460-7364.

Obviously, if you die without an estate plan, you won’t be around to worry about probate and expenses—but think about what your loved ones will have to go through. Spare your family a great deal of stress, time, and money by having one in place that works for everyone.



Thinking About Purchasing a Rebuilt Mattress?  


If you are considering buying a rebuilt mattress, you’ll want to be sure you’re not spending money on a germ and bed-bug infested paradise.

Purchasing a rebuilt mattress can be less expensive than buying a new one, but you want to be sure of what you are getting. Rebuilt mattresses are required to be clean and sanitized and California law prohibits the use of fabrics containing visible soiling or stains in a new or used mattress.

A rebuilt mattress is made by adding filling materials to a used mattress and it is sanitized using an approved method.

Conducting research before you shop for a mattress is the most important way to protect yourself. All mattress retailers must be licensed by the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation.

You can check the license status by visiting License/Registry Search for Home Furnishings Licensees.

When shopping for a rebuilt mattress:

  • Check to be sure the store is licensed with the Bureau.
  • Inspect the piece to make sure that both a red and yellow label are attached.
  • A red label tells you the mattress is a used product.
  • The yellow label tells you the mattress has been sanitized by either dry heat or a chemical disinfectant.
  • A brand new mattress will only have a white label attached.
  • Ask the salesperson if the rebuilt mattress meets the federal flammability standard. If the salesperson cannot give you a definitive answer, you should consider other options.

The store you purchase a rebuilt mattress from should have their Bureau license displayed in a visible location in the store, usually near the front counter, along with other state and local permits.

If you do not spot a posted license, ask the salesperson if the business is licensed by the Bureau and ask to see a copy. If the salesperson is unable to show you a copy of a valid license, make sure to contact the Bureau and consider other options.

If you have any questions about the cleanliness and safety of a rebuilt mattress you’ve already purchased, please call (916) 999-2041 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or email homeproducts@dca.ca.gov.

Western States Cannabis Meeting Held in California

DCALogo_small 2007

SACRAMENTO—Government representatives from seven states met Wednesday to share issues, experiences, and best practices in a working session organized by the California Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation.

To read the full release, click here.

The Philosophy of Real Estate

If you watch Modern Family, you’re familiar with Phil Dunphy, suburban Los Angeles real estate agent and self-proclaimed real estate guru. You may have even caught one of the Real Estate Phil’s-osophies commercials for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) starring Ty Burrell, the actor who plays Dunphy. It’s not part of the show: NAR hired Burell to star in-character in a series of commercials that advise consumers to seek out a REALTOR® when buying or selling property.

A real estate agent talking about the pros of hiring a REALTOR® —are you confused? Is there a difference between the two?

There is. And there isn’t. dunphey

When you enter the world of buying and selling real estate, you are confronted with several different titles: real estate agent (also known as real estate salesperson), REALTOR®, real estate broker.

Let’s start with Real Estate Agents, or Real Estate Salespersons. These professionals are licensed by the California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE), which licenses and regulates the more than 400,000 Mortgage Loan Originators, Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons in California. In order to be licensed in California, you must qualify for and pass a written examination, then submit an application to CalBRE for approval. Anyone who conducts real estate activities in California must be licensed and must conduct business as stated in the California Real Estate Laws and Regulations.

A Real Estate Broker has continued his or her education past that required at the real estate agent or salesperson level and has passed the real estate broker licensing exam. Real estate brokers can work as independent real estate agents or they can have agents working for them. Brokers can work on their own, while agents or salespersons have to work under licensed brokers.

Last but not least, there’s REALTOR®. In order to join this one-million-member national association, you must be a licensed real estate agent in your state, and you must uphold the NAR’s strict code of ethics and standards.

It sounds like a Phil’s-osophy: Not all licensees are REALTORS®, but all REALTORS® must be licensees.

And there you have it—a little information to help you get through the maze of buying and selling—or at least know who’s who.

Don’t forget to check the license before you decide on a real estate agent! To check a license, visit the CalBRE website, www.calbre.ca.gov, or call (877) 373-4542. To verify that an agent belongs to the National Association of REALTORS®, go to www.realtor.com.


Men Discovering Pedicures Are “Man-Tastic”

male pediIn case you haven’t noticed, pedicures aren’t just for women anymore. A growing number of men—both young and old and who aren’t even Hollywood celebrities—are taking the pampered plunge. They’re discovering what women have known all along: Getting a spa foot treatment can be a luxurious experience that not only makes you look great, but feel great, too.

Kristy Underwood, Executive Officer for the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, discussed this growing trend and how some traditional women’s salons are stepping up to cater to their male clientele, particularly since barbershops don’t offer these services—not yet, anyway. Underwood also talked about what men should look for when choosing a salon, as well as some of the changes on the horizon for the nail/spa industry.

Q. Kristy, can you talk about the trend of men getting spa pedicures? What do you attribute it to?

A. Yes; this service is growing in popularity for men. Many salons even have side areas with foot spa chairs for men to get the service in a little more privacy. I have heard from men who say they find it relaxing, but also that it’s just good upkeep on their nails.

Q.  As men gravitate toward women’s salons, is it likely we will see barbershops start offering spa pedicures as part of their services?

A. I don’t think so. The barbershop has an image, and I think it’s a long way off from offering nail services. We’re actually seeing barbershops going back to more traditional settings. For example, the traditional shave and a haircut is being marketed to men and is becoming more and more common. But you never know, maybe pedicures have a future in the barbershops.

Q. If barbershops ever do make nail care a part of their services, what sort of guidelines and procedures would need to be established to do so, and would they be similar or the same as those regulations at women’s salons?

A. They would simply have to hire manicurists. Barbers are not licensed to do nails whereas cosmetologists are.

Q. What should men who want to try the whole foot spa experience look for when choosing a salon?

A.  First and foremost, valid licenses and a clean establishment. And they should make sure the establishment doesn’t use illegal tools. For example, some consumers think a razor is needed to remove calluses, but it’s illegal to use in a shop and removing calluses can be done perfectly safely with a proper smoother.

Q. What about people with diabetes who may have feet issues—should they get spa pedicures?

A. We get this question a lot. Licensees should ask their clients if there are any health concerns they need to be aware of. Lots of elderly consumers receive pedicures and are fine, but if they have a compromised immune system, we highly recommend they talk to their doctor before getting a service. I would also suggest that the pedicure be received in a transportable foot tub as opposed to a foot spa chair. And again, they should never allow someone to use a razor on their feet.

Q. There also seems to be a trend, perhaps more in the south and on the East Coast, for nail salons to use plastic liners in the foot spa. Are these used for sanitary/health reasons and is the usage becoming more prevalent in California salons as well?

A. In July of last year, we set regulations that allow for the use of liners. It really cuts down on the amount of chemicals used to clean [the whirlpool spas] and often makes the client feel safer. We will likely see more salons in California using liners as well.

Q. What are some changes and trends you see coming to the manicure/pedicure profession?

A. Green products. There is a lot of talk about trying to make nail services safer not only for the client, but for the licensees as well. I think more manufacturers will be putting out safer products. We also expect to see an increase in the use of liners in the foot spa.

For more information on the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, visit www.barbercosmo.ca.gov.