Dozens of new laws to take effect in Calif.

December 27, 2010 10:31:54 AM PST
We're less than a week away from the New Year and that means dozens of new laws will be going into effect in California -- including a new rating system for nursing homes, the first of its kind in the country.

The federal ratings give nursing facilities one to five stars depending on quality of care - similar to restaurant letter grades. The new law should make it easier for patients and families to identify possible issues with the facilities. Nursing facilities that fail to participate in the new rating system will face fines.

Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) is behind several of the laws taking effect Saturday. The first protects victims of human trafficking and will allow courts to seize any property used to carry out trafficking. A similar law protects victims of domestic violence by preventing unfair evictions.

Another law would allow access to the high occupancy vehicle lanes for the latest generation of low-emission cars -- similar to a program that allowed hybrid cars this access. And a measure will restrict alcohol sales at hotels that do not have bars.