New California Laws For 2008

The following are a few of the hundreds of new laws that went into effect in California on January 1, 2008:

A notary public's acknowledgment must now be based on "satisfactory evidence" and the certificate must now be signed under penalty of perjury. An acknowledgment based on mere "personal knowledge" or one that does not conform to the exact language of the California form are no longer valid. If you are having your signature notarized on any document, be sure the acknowledgment conforms to the new law or it won't be valid!

A new law makes it an infraction punishable by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100) for a person to smoke a pipe, cigar, or cigarette in a motor vehicle any time a minor is present in the vehicle. The law does not distinguish between cars that are moving or stopped or even running.

The California minimum wage has increased by 50 cents to $8.00 per hour. California workers now have one of the highest minimum wages in the country.

And our favorite new law . . .

Consumers can now redeem gift cards with balances of less than $10 for cash. So now when you use your card and leave a balance under $10, all you have to do it present your card to the merchant, cite California Civil Code section 1749.5(b)(2) and enjoy your cash!

(And don't forget about two important laws that go into effect on July 1, 2008 drivers under age 18 will be prohibited from using cell phones or any other "mobile service device" while driving; and adults can only use a cell phone while driving if they use a hands-free speaking and listening system.)