New laws go into effect with the New Year

January 1, 2010 7:27:55 PM PST
Hundreds of new state laws took effect on January 1, 2010. There were no major changes because lawmakers were focusing more on the state's massive budget deficit, but here is a sampling of what did pass.

If there are any unscrupulous mortgage brokers left out there, a new state law will rein them in by requiring they show buyers the whole range of loan options. It also prohibits them from steering buyers toward loans they cannot truly afford.

RPM mortgage loan officer Dick Lepre questions the usefulness of such a law at this time.

"This isn't closing the barn door after the horse gets out. This is closing the corral gate after the herd has escaped," says Lepre.

Lepre says there is another new law that requires mortgage brokers to commit to settlement costs and pay the difference if they increase.

"One thing that it does that is a benefit to the consumer is it locks you in. Once we tell you that this is your title insurance and this is our processing fee, this is our underwriting fee, this is our appraisal fee, I'm locked into that," says Lepre.

While same-sex partners cannot get married in California, starting Friday, the state will recognize same-sex marriages from other states, but only those marriages performed between June 16, 2008 and November 5, 2008, before passage of California's Prop 8.

"I think it's great, it's like a stepping stone," says Ray Gonzales.

And this year will mark the first Harvey Milk Day, on May 22. He was the first openly gay man elected to public office in the U.S.

"Finally we're recognizing somebody of historic reference that has really done something in society, where we have celebrities dominating the press every day, somebody who actually made a difference in this community and gave us a place to be," says Chuck Stuthard from the Castro District.

And crab could be more plentiful at stores and restaurants. A law that banned fisherman from having Dungeness crab and rock crab together on the same boat has been relaxed. As long as both are in season, they can be brought in together, reducing the number of trips fisherman make to bring in their catch.

Bon appétit!