A look at California's new laws for 2013

December 31, 2012 11:40:21 PM PST
The New Year means hundreds of new laws take effect in California. They cover everything from your Facebook password to the new car you buy.

There's good news for users of social media. Starting Jan. 1, 2013, it will be illegal for employers and colleges to demand one's username and password. Yet despite this new law, tech analysts still recommend using common sense.

"It doesn't solve the issue that what you post online can haunt you literally for the rest of your life. So be careful with privacy settings and never post anything that would embarrass you in front of an employer, a college admissions officer or your grandmother," said tech analyst Larry Magid.

Also scheduled to take effect Jan. 1st are "Silver Alerts" for missing seniors who have dementia or Alzheimer's. It's an expansion of the AMBER Alert system currently used for missing children. Another law requires auto dealers that help finance car purchases to provide 30- day warranties for any vehicles they sell. And then there are the new requirements for party buses -- they hold the party bus driver responsible for underage drinking.

"The drivers now of buses, if they see or condone or ignore alcohol being consumed by minors on the bus, they will be subject to a misdemeanor similarly as limousine drivers are today," said St. Sen. Jerry Hill, D-Palo Alto.

One law that was supposed to take effect Jan. 1st is now tied up in federal court. The Legislature passed a bill banning a form of psychotherapy aimed at making gay teenagers straight. Supporters of the ban hope the issue will be resolved soon.

"By having gay reparative therapy that is available to people really does send out the message that being gay is not OK," said Sam Alazi, Bay Area Youth Summit

It will likely take months for that issue to be resolved. Under the current schedule, supporters and opponents of the ban have until mid-February to submit written briefs.