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New Calif. laws taking effect Jan. 1

3:24 PM, Dec 27, 2012   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - Shoppers are still getting their fill with those after-Christmas sales.

But come Jan. 1, the sales tax will temporarily jump another quarter-cent, bringing the statewide sales tax to 7 and 1/2 percent for four years.

California voters okayed the tax hike under Proposition 30 last month to save schools from deeper budget cuts.

"I got a 17-year-old now. I got grandkids that are going to be growing up and be in school. So whatever helps, we got to dig in our pockets a little deeper to help," said shopper Evangelina Hernandez.

Not everyone, though, is happy with another tax hike.

"Not looking forward to it," said shopper Vicki McAdams. "The reasons for it I know is to improve things, but I never see it going towards that."

The new year also brings some help to California's senior citizens.

Modeled after the Amber Alert for missing children, a Silver Alert could be activated by police for anyone 65 years old or older who's missing and in great danger because of a medical condition like Alzheimer's and dementia.

Families typically have to wait 24 hours to file a missing person's report.

"The Silver Alert law supercedes all of that and immediately puts the public and law enforcement into action looking for seniors who are lost," said Gary Passmore with Congress of California Seniors.

2013 changes some driving laws to account for technology.

Since lots of Californians are using SmartPhones these days, you'll be able to whip out your proof of insurance on those devices when a cop pulls you over.

Mike Dobson loves the idea since he just got a new iPhone 5.

"Because you have it with you all the time. What a wonderful thing if you have your proof of insurance all the time," he said " Maybe we can have our driver's license on there, you know? -(laugh").

Another change for drivers on New Year's Day: You'll be able text while you drive-IF you have SIRI or some other program on your cellphone that allows you to text hands-free

One controversial law is still on hold. The ban forbidding the use of gay-to-straight conversion therapy on minors in California is still tied up in court over its constitutionality.

Nannette Miranda
ABC7

ABC7

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