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New year, new laws take effect in 2013

January 2, 2013 |  9:52 am

The voter-approved quarter-cent hike in California sales tax is now in effect -- along with more than 750 new laws.

In 2012, the governor and Legislature overhauled California's public pension and workers' compensation systems. They made it illegal to carry rifles openly in cities. They allowed certain illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses and qualify for state college financial aid.

A slew of other new laws also govern drivers, healthcare, Hollywood and the Internet.

Here are a smattering of new laws:

Insurance: Drivers pulled over by police are permitted to show officers their proof of insurance on an electronic device, such as a smartphone.

Texting: Drivers may dictate, send and listen to text-based communications as long as they use voice-command or other hands-free technology.

Religious garb: California employers may not shunt Sikh and Muslim employees to work areas out of public view for wearing clothing or hairstyles, such as turbans, hijabs or beards, because of their religious beliefs.

Pets: Landlords are not permitted to require that tenants declaw their cats or cut vocal cords in their dogs.

Stadium violence: Sports arenas and stadiums must post contact information for security personnel that is visible from seating and parking areas, so help can be summoned quickly if violence occurs.

Here's a list of many other new laws took effect Jan. 1: "Sales taxes go up, long guns are barred in public."

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--Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

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