WatchSonoma Watch

New laws coming to California businesses


California businesses and consumers will see a host of new laws in 2012, covering everything from tanning beds to online sales tax.

Most of the new laws go into effect Sunday.

Tanning salons are targeted by a law that bars those under 18 from indoor tanning beds — with or without their parents’ permission.

Sue Navarra, owner and airbrush technician for Great Sunsations Tanning, sprays Marri Bailey at the Santa Rosa spa. (CRISTA JEREMIASON/The Press Democrat)

It’s the toughest tanning law in the nation. Until now, California teens 15 to 17 could use the beds with parental consent. Those under 15 were not permitted to catch artificial rays.

The Indoor Tanning Association said 5 to 10 percent of its members’ customers are under 18 and that the new law isn’t needed because tanning salons already are regulated by state and federal health authorities.

But supporters said the California law is necessary because early tanning by children can increase their risk of skin cancer.

The law isn’t good for business, but there’s an alternative for teens who want a tan, said Larry Tomlinson of Great Sunsations, a tanning salon in downtown Santa Rosa.

“We offer a sunless option, airbrush spray tanning,” he said. The tanning solution is organic and provides a natural-looking tan for 7 to 9 days, according to the company’s website.

It’s especially popular during prom season, Tomlinson said.

Another new law could force Amazon and other online retailers to collect sales tax on California purchases next year.

Under compromise legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last fall, online retailers have until July 31 to get Congress to adopt a nationwide standard for online taxes. If that fails, they’d start collecting sales tax on purchases by California customers next September.

The online sales tax was adopted last June, but Amazon mounted an initiative campaign to repeal it. The web retailer dropped its ballot drive after winning the one-year reprieve.

Other new laws protect employee rights. Employers will be be barred from using consumer credit information about most job applicants or workers.

Businesses will face steeper penalties for misclassifying regular employees as “independent contractors” to avoid wage and benefit laws.

The new fines range from $5,000 to $25,000.

Under another new law, state and local government agencies can’t force employers to use E-Verify, a federal program that electronically checks employees’ immigration status to determine eligibility to work in the U.S. Employers can continue to use the program voluntarily.

Employees will get more information about their pay. A new law requires detailed notice of pay rates and methods, including overtime and allowances. Over the next year, employers who pay commissions must update their contracts with more information about how commissions are computed.

44 Responses to “New laws coming to California businesses”

  1. Canthisbe says:

    Before you allow any child under 16 (don’t forget to check your kids’ friends’ ID before you let them in) to get in your car you should read:


    Fines for second offense and up can apparently exceed $1,000.

    While most articles talk about 8 year olds and boosters, law has detailed requirements for seatbelting kids up to 16.

    Also applies to out-of-state drivers, so if you have visitors coming send them the CA laws or tell them to drop kids off in Nevada before entering CA.

    Also Smoking restriction
    Smoking in a vehicle is prohibited if a child under 18 is present. Consequences: The fine is $100 plus penalty
    assessments.** [Health and Safety Code 118948(a)].

    Also Bicycle operators are prohibited from carrying passengers without a separate seat. So there’s how Butch Cassidy finally gets busted. (But if you can get Katehreine Ross to ride on your bike – go for it!


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  2. Peacefull Fish says:

    @Working Man. You’re absolutely correct and the general public, your future customers, don’t realize the negative impact that the Eco-nazi’s are creating and the outrageous costs associated with any professional construction activity. The vision of a beautiful hi-tech environmentaly friendly community will not matreialize. People will be unable to renovate their homes and businesses because of the costs and fees. Businesses will not be able to pay for the high leasing costs associated with new development. The functionality of houses and business facilities will remain the same and will not be able to upgrade with technology. When owners have to the government is forcing the extra fees and costs on them with fines for non-compliance. I hear your story all the time. This county is in state of turmoil with leadership that endorses and supports the new EPA regulations and fees.

    Sadly,under our current national, state and county and local leadership the siutation will get worse. Product costs will continue to rise mainly because of government regulations, fees and taxes.

    Good luck.

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  3. Working Man says:

    The article doesn’t even mention the ridiculous new federal and state EPA requirements for contractors(due to increase remodel costs by 30%+)which carry fines of up to $35,000 per day of “non-compliance”.

    Why should I even bother.

    I bust my ass to keep myself and my guys busy in this state for what? for whom?

    I literally see an article a day from various news sources pointing to the mass exodus of businesses from California.

    I don’t get it,the same state reps get re-elected,and I’m sorry,but these people are over-opinionated and under-experienced
    trash with political axes to grind.

    I hear Nevada’s nice this time of year.

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  4. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @Common Sense – why are you using a name so similar to Commonsense, who was here first. Could you change yours to something a bit more different to make it easier for the rest of us? Thanks.

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  5. Social Dis-Ease says:


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  6. Commonsense says:

    Actually the first comment from Commonsense is a different person (it appears there are now at least two people using that name) and I should have clarified that, so I owe you an apology.
    I was unclear on your response though, so my post was both for clarification and to make the points I made. While I agree that not all new law is bad, I also agree that not all new law is needed or effective and in general between the new yearly laws passed and the regulations passed by the numerous local, state and federal agencies, we are a tad overregulated in many areas (maybe not in all and yes I do spend some time professionaly reveiwing many new laws/codes).

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  7. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @CS – my apologies. I was referring to UC and CSU spending compared to prisons.
    And it was meant to respond to your comment that our state was going downhill. I believe that one of the main economic generators for California was our higher education system, and we’ve been gutting it.
    The two new laws highlighted in this story were the sun tanning booths and online sales tax, both of which seem reasonable to me. I wasn’t going to respond to this article at all, until after reading all the knee-jerk reactions against ANY new law.

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  8. Commonsense says:

    If you are saying we spend more on prisons then education, I have to take issue with that, at least on a State level. If you look at the General Fund Budget on our State web page, you will find that we spend a vast majority of general funds on education and health and human services. In fact, education and health and human services make up over 60% of general fund expenditures, while corrections makes up a little over 10%. The State of California collects a large amount of revenue from many resources, income tax, corporate tax, tobacco tax, alcohol tax, etc. The list is ever expanding. So, again, California (actually the country) has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Although I’m not sure how this relates to the article above.
    As for the assertion that people who oppose the number and broadness of govenment regulation support children getting cancer, that seems a little dramatic and unreasonable of a claim. I think what most are frustrated over is the volume and duplicity of gov’t regulations. All one needs to do is review the differing California Codes (Penal, Civil, Education, Business and Professions, Family, etc etc..there are way too many to list them all) to determine there is no shortage of oversight, and then compare those to the Federal Codes and you will end up with even more duplication and probably a headache.

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  9. Graeme Wellington says:

    California’s private property tanning booth businesses need to organize a ban on state legislators patronizing their business. Bar owners need to do the same to protest the anti-smoking laws. Just a little reminder to our lawmakers that these businesses are private property and they choose who they will do business with. There has to be a counter-revolution of some kind.

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  10. Steveguy says:

    First–” Under another new law, state and local government agencies can’t force employers to use E-Verify, a federal program that electronically checks employees’ immigration status to determine eligibility to work in the U.S.”

    Hmmm, so now US citizens have to compete will illegal workers for taxpayer funded work ? That doesn’t sound so good.

    Second- ” Businesses will face steeper penalties for misclassifying regular employees as “independent contractors” to avoid wage and benefit laws.

    The new fines range from $5,000 to $25,000.

    There are rules and high penalties for that already. That said, we allow illegal workers to get paid cash with a wink and a nod, but try paying cash to a citizen for day labor, and you are in trouble, besides being exposed to Worker’s Comp, etc. So we make it easier to pay cash without withholding to illegals.

    The Libertarian in me wants to scream ” I should be able to earn my living however I want from whomever I want ” . Small businesses and true Independent Contractors are getting squeezed by onerous paperwork and costs. The result is that your costs go up while the State demands more and more of your net revenue be spent for so many more rules and regs.

    Please note that these are only the Laws passed, there is as much or more new regulations coming from un-elected Regulatory Agencies which have ALL power. The normal person does not usually know that, but ask most any business owner that has to deal with these Agencies, and they will tell you.

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  11. Graeme Wellington says:

    @Lets Be Reasonable – So do you know what the justification is for this nanny state law? You’ve got just as much “scientific data” for a stay out of the sunlight law.

    And I have to repeat that modern tanning salons don’t emit the dangerous UV anymore. Your quote is out of context. The theoretical possibility of an old and dangerous tanning booth and an overexposure beyond human reasoning should someone sit in it for hours isn’t a scientific basis. You shouldn’t be sticking your hand in a microwave after you’ve broken the door off and disabled the safety either.

    Saliva causes stomach cancer, but only when swallowed in small amounts over a long period of time. Do we need public funded spittoons or mandatory drool cups too?

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  12. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @Graeme – “Can the informed intelligent people just make their own decisions without the uninformed elected officials forcing their ignorance on me?”
    Usually, the “uninformed elected officials” rely on scientific research. Oh, let me rephrase that – Democratic elected officials tend to rely on scientific research. Apparently the Republican presidential candidates overwhelmingly do not, since they do not believe in evolution. I’m surprised they’re even willing to admit that the earth orbits the sun…

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  13. Lets be Reasonable says:

    “Indoor tanning is particularly dangerous, because tanning beds can emit 10 to 15 times more UVR radiation than the midday sun”
    A quote from a 2011 American Medical Association article.
    It seems that tanning beds do not use UVC, but do use UVA and UVB, both of which cause skin cancer. UVC is more energetic, but tends to be stopped by the outer layer of dead skin (which we all have). Sun screens are made to stop exactly the same UVA and UVB forms of UVR that are used in tanning salons.

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  14. Graeme Wellington says:

    @Lets Be Reasonable – There is more dangerous UV radiation from sunlight than there is in a tanning booth. The cancer causing type of UV is no longer emitted in modern tanning booths. The tanning booths are safer than you (yecch!) sunbathing in your back yard. So I guess you are in favor of kids getting cancer.

    See how seemingly good intentions of good people result in these nanny state laws? Lets be Reasonable had the honest, but mistaken belief that sunlight has minimal risks and that tanning booths are more dangerous.

    Need I repeat my college commencement speech about the benefits of sunscreen?

    Can the informed intelligent people just make their own decisions without the uninformed elected officials forcing their ignorance on me?

    Thanks for your unintentional good example of exactly what I was talking about.

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  15. Sun Fish says:

    The people posing as concerned business owners who want to spray chemicals on vain individuals with the perceived purpose that they will look beautiful and be healthy are just part of the idiot culture. Unfortunately many parents, mostly mothers presumingly female, are getting this wonderful treatment so why would they advise their children not to. Any advice to receive this treatment to people under 18 is child abuse. How pathetic.These services to include “sun tanning devices” are worst and most dangerous than the snake oil salesmen of yesteryear.

    In concluding these new taxes are only the beginning of a future horror show of higher taxes, lower quality of life and lesser and poorer services. We have no leadership.

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  16. Brent@Filley says:

    Some parents choose to spend more of their lives blogging than spending time in efforts to act as a responsible parent. Thus, the state will, occasionally, have to step in.

    Thumbs down if you agree sunlight is the best disinfectant.

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  17. homegirl says:

    “Under another new law, state and local government agencies can’t force employers to use E-Verify, a federal program that electronically checks employees’ immigration status to determine eligibility to work in the U.S. Employers can continue to use the program voluntarily.”

    FYI- AB1236- All our local electeds voted AYE on this matter- Allen, Chesbro and Huffman. I wonder why?

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  18. Frank says:

    California businesses and consumers will see a host of new laws in 2012
    Plus a host of new property, payroll, sales tax
    The water board continues to place more restrictions on farms and other industry.
    Moonbeam, signs laws that push company out of business or out of state
    yes, yes Cxalifornia is doing fine


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  19. Ron says:

    But…But…I thought we loved out state politicians. They are looking out for us because we don’t know how to think for ourselves. Lets all go nude here in cali! Not just San Francisco!
    Just remember, come election time…VOTE DEMOCRAT!!!

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  20. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @CS – “Look at the BIG picture here and see where our state is going! Mostly downhill.”
    And you blame this on some little regulation!? Maybe the fact that we’ve reversed the percentage we spend on prisons and schools might have more to do with it.

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  21. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @Graeme – “Would you support a law forcing minors to stay indoors because of the cancer causing sunlight?”
    No, since the benefits obviously outweigh the minimal risks. I do favor making it illegal for kids to smoke cigarettes – how about you? How about bicycle helmets? Seat belts? There is clear evidence that this tanning causes cancer. Why don’t we allow lead paint on our children’s toys – just so long as you put a warning on it, that should be fine. Let the parents choose what risk they want to expose their children to.

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  22. Money Grubber says:

    Here is yet another critically important new “law” that the government has dictated to you. Yes, “its the law.” You should be trembling as the government dictates your every life choice.

    Now, little 12 year old girls are recognized as being able to provide legal “consent” to vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases.

    Not reported by the Press Democrat, but every other online media is reporting it.

    Here was the online S.F. Chron’s version:

    “”Vaccines: Youths 12 or older can consent to medical treatment for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, with the focus being young women for the prevention of the human papillomavirus, which causes cancer and can be prevented with a vaccine. The measure is AB499, by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego.”"


    When was the last time that you, as a parent, decided that the government knows how to parent your young daughter better than you?

    Don’t like it? Too bad. “Its the law.”
    They steal our money and then play Nazi in their ever increasing power over us.

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  23. Brian Brown says:

    Aaaak! I’m so frustrated with the quick fire talking points.

    I’ve lived here all my life. My parents went to the same high school as me. That’s where they met, fell in love and got married. My oldest son went there too. We’ve weathered the ups and downs of CA.

    California’s economy ‘had’ made up the eighth largest economy in the world. Remember? We can do this again.

    That being said the ‘new’ California has converted us from residents to tenants. The lease to exist in California is high and fraught with rules and regulations that are much like a wealthy gated community while NOT worthy of that setting.

    The knee-jerk action of the legislature and the governor is to increase the ‘tenant’s’ contribution (tax) to offset poor budgeting, poor planning, no fiscal discipline, and a silly Utopian ideology.

    We as ‘tenants’ of California are strapped with a terms-of-engagement life now. California government has blurred the line between buyer and seller. Simply put.. The will of the citizens (now tenants) have been circumvented in every possible way. It is now a privilege to live here as opposed to a right.

    Sacramento has shown no willingness to do what its ‘tenants’ are required to do to conform to its budget.

    Oh and… we as human beings are personally motivated to raise and protect our children, help neighbors in need, help the homeless, and care for the sick. We humans are hardwired that way. Not all of us but most of us. So please don’t tie my dissatisfaction with Sacramento with some lack of compassion for others.

    And another thing! (…inhale…)

    The Press Democrat was a locally owned and operated newspaper that we all loved back in the day. One could drive down EVERY street in the Redwood Empire and find that neatly rolled icon placed with pride in every driveway by 4:00am. They will never admit this but the PD has directly suffered from the ills imposed by Sac, CA.

    There. I feel much better.

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  24. Closed Shop Years Ago says:

    We moved out of California 7 years ago and we have never looked back. Got a much better job, much better house in a great neighborhood, pay fewer taxes and the people in my town are very friendly and helpful. And a bonus, the schools are new and the kids actually learn things other than “Mary has two moms.”

    Yes, life is much happier and better moving out of this welfare state of depressing high taxes and oppressive government regulations.

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  25. Brian Brown says:

    ~ Lets be Reasonable ~

    You wrote: “Wow. So you guys all think it is fine to give cancer to kids?”


    That’s your talking point?!

    How dare you?!


    To put those words in our mouths… Now that’s “unbelievable”

    Happy New Year

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  26. Graeme Wellington says:

    No one is in favor of cancer for kids. This is the typical identity politics BS that confuses good people into supporting bad nanny state laws.

    The issue is that government need not regulate what is clearly a parental decision. Requiring a warning for all ages would be as far as any government needs to go.

    Would you support a law forcing minors to stay indoors because of the cancer causing sunlight? Why not? You think it’s okay to give cancer to kids then, eh?

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  27. Liz (Elizabeth Gatley) says:

    Oh and the press democrat left out a big new law for CA businesses. One that really ticks me off and will make my work twice as hard.
    Businesses are now required as of Jan 1st to report credit card income separate from cash income.
    I mean WTF? it’s income who cares and what does it matter of it came from a credit card or cash?
    This state keeps going further and further off the deep end, and before they know it there will be no businesses left and the state will be broke!
    Way to go CA legislature for destroying the beautiful state I was born in. I was once proud to be from CA, but now I hang my head in shame.
    I have tried hard to fight this stuff and tell them they are wrong in what they are doing, but as you can see they don’t listen to us. The time to say I am from CA is coming to an end, we are being forced to move to another state.

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  28. Common Sense says:

    So, Lets be Reasonable you know how to push buttons but you can not see the forest Thur the trees. Look at the BIG picture here and see where our state is going! Mostly downhill.

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  29. The Fish Speak says:

    Don’t you all feel safer, richer, wiser and healthier with the new laws the state legislature enacted this year?

    Safety car seats for 8 year olds. Mandatory teaching in our public schools discribing how gays really built the west, who knew? Incouraging employers to look the other way when employing illegal aliens. Granting illegal aliens college tuition. Illegals keep their cars when pulled over in roadblocks.

    And the beat goes on and on. It is time for a very part time legislature in California.

    Stop the insanity. Vote to time limits.

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  30. Lets be Reasonable says:

    Wow. So you guys all think it is fine to give cancer to kids?
    Oh, and giving an unfair advantage to online retailers over local retail outlets is also fine with you? unbelievable

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  31. Frank says:

    we the tax payers must follow rules and regulations or pay the fine
    but some are above the law


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  32. The Writing Is On The Wall says:

    The California State Legislature is a run away train. It single handedly is driving what little business there is out of the state. It is hard to believe how much more damage they can do to businesses trying to hire good, honest employees who are legally here in this country. But, I am sure they will dream more laws up to regulate and destroy more business.

    This state is turning rapidly into a banana republic with a government that is unaffordable and has a crumbling infrastructure.

    This decay spreads with each passing year. With a growing government dependent class of entitlements and politicians willing to do anything to get elected, this whole mess will fall and when it does, the whole little social structure will go with it. Not a pretty picture for those unfortunate to remain living in the state.

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  33. Brian Brown says:


    I think you were being kind. I think 5 to 7 years.

    Jerry Brown & Co are going to step out side of their luxury offices, look both ways down Main Street and hear crickets. Mission accomplished.

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  34. Charlie A says:

    I already closed my business and left California and I aint’ coming back.

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  35. Money Grubber says:

    Or, how about this NEW “hotline” that the Federal Government decided to open for the specific purpose of assisting in-custody illegal immigrants to request a federal review of their situation: “just in case that inmate is really not an illegal immigrant.”

    LA Times

    “Federal immigration officials Thursday announced the creation of a telephone hotline to ensure that detainees held by local police are informed of their rights.”


    Apparently, the street level police are not trusted by the Feds to inform suspected illegal immigrants of their “rights.”

    Ahhh, yes. The government left hand does not know what they government right hand is doing.

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  36. Money Grubber says:

    Here are a couple of laws that the Press Democrat forgot to mention. Found via a CNN Online news review.

    It would seem that the Press Democrat does not feel parents should know about this????

    “……a controversial California provision requiring that schools add “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans” to the list of those whose contributions “to the development of California and the United States” must be taught in schools.”

    “Another California law adds “gender identity and gender expression” to the list of characteristics that require equal rights.”

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  37. Follower says:

    What do you expect? We keep patting them on the backs, telling them what a great job they’re doing.
    “We’re so impressed with your last term in office, here’s another! Keep up the good work”.
    This HAS TO STOP! And the ONLY way it will is to FIRE THEM ALL!
    It doesn’t MATTER who replaces them. They can’t be any worse and if they are, FIRE THEM! Eventually these people will realize how expendable they are & they’ll start working for US!

    This isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue. We all really need to get our heads out of the “group think” of the political machines and start thinking about our state’s future.

    We don’t need a “stronger Democrat Party” or a “stronger Republican Party”, we need a stronger California.

    We don’t need to pass any new laws, we don’t need a “part time legislature” and we don’t need “term limits” because we already have them, they’re called ELECTIONS!

    The lobbyists will dry up & blow away if every election cycle brings a new cast with NO favors owed and no “deal” in hand. They have start all over and their power over OUR Government will be diminished.

    It’s sad that it has to come to this because we will be firing some very good, talented people in the process but the alternative is no longer acceptable.
    If our elected officials refuse to bring the “change” they ALL CONSTANTLY campaign on then they must go.

    Business as usual is destroying our state right before our very eyes.

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  38. David J. Spencer says:

    Interesting is the new law forbidding local governments from mandating the use of E-Verify. This law was passed completely out of public view, and didn’t become public until something like two weeks after Governor Brown signed it into law. This law was passed in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that O.K.d the use of E-Verify at the local level and, in fact, came a scant few weeks after the ruling, which is an outgrowth from forthcoming Court deliberations on the Arizona law.

    More on this can be Googled, search words “California legislation on E-Verify.”

    A couple of weeks ago a steel company in Oakland was Immigration audited, and out of a work force of 600 some 200 were found to be in this country illegally.

    Ironically, that steel company, at the behest of the Federal Government, is now using E-Verify in its hiring decisions.

    This event can also be Googled, search words “Pacific Steel immigration audit.”

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  39. Money Grubber says:

    Its all about “creating” jobs.

    Government “jobs”, that is.

    The government mantra:

    GIVE US YOUR MONEY… we’re your friends. lol.

    Thumb up 20 Thumb down 4

  40. Graeme Wellington says:

    This sort of thing is an argument for part-time legislators. Do we really need 70,000 pages of new laws every year, year in and year out?

    I would like our legislators to devote their full effort figuring out which laws to repeal or at the very least, amend the California Constitution so that any law that passes MUST include a sunset date so that the law expires and must be renewed – if the current legislators still believe it is needed. This way we would not cumulatively have millions of pages of laws and regulations.

    We’re heading toward larger and larger child seats and soon you’ll have to wear a helmet and safety harness until you turn 18 the way our lawmakers are going.

    And the Press Democrat still does not understand the nature of the Amazon Sales Tax collection issue and misrepresented it again.

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  41. Money Grubber says:

    I can’t help but laugh at the photo caption in which an “air brush technician” does her work.

    Spraying material out of a sprayer requires “technical” skills ?

    Maybe because that sprayed material is “organic” ??? lol.

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  42. Brian Brown says:

    Yep!! That’s what I need. I’ll model my business even more around taxes and regulations. Perfect! This will help keep my attention away from growth, hiring, and reinvestment.

    Go for it California! Run that last business out of town! You can survive on you good looks, I’m sure!

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  43. Jim says:

    Shocking. That’s all the government does, year after year, after year. More and more “laws” strangling businesses. This is exactly why so many leave the state, or at the very least expand out of CA. This is why Apple has $50B parked in NV, avoiding the obscene taxes in CA. This is why I’m deferring the maximum possible from my paycheck and then leaving the state before the taxes are due. Screw CA. The legislature keeps imposing laws, taxes and fees on its people and businesses, all to support bloated, wasteful programs and handouts to the lazy and illegals.

    This state will completely collapse in 15 years. Write it down.

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  44. Missy says:

    “Under another new law, state and local government agencies can’t force employers to use E-Verify, a federal program that electronically checks employees’ immigration status to determine eligibility to work in the U.S. Employers can continue to use the program voluntarily.”

    So that means the state & local governments can continue to hire illegal aliens over Americans. Gotcha. As well as all employers. No reason to, hire the cheaper illegal aliens, right?

    Then there’s the Amazon Tax, which is coming back with ferocity.

    “Under compromise legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last fall, online retailers have until July 31 to get Congress to adopt a nationwide standard for online taxes. If that fails, they’d start collecting sales tax on purchases by California customers next September.”

    This Congress is not into raising taxes (thankfully for all the R’s in it) so that means that in September, unless a vigorous campaign is mounted, Californians will pay the huge amount of sales tax that the state wants to pay for the state pork, much of it helps illegals.

    Got it.

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