More than 800 New Laws added to California

California Marijuana Laws

California marijuana laws changed drastically with the decriminalization of possession (under 28 grams) and legalization ofmedical marijuanaunder the Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215) in 1996. The state’s mairjuana laws were drastically relaxed once again in 2016 after voters approved theAdult Use of Marijuana Act, which was on the ballot as Proposition 64. Under the new law, adults 21 and over may purchase, possess, and consume up to 1 oz. of marijuana in their private residence or in an establishment licensed for marijuana consumption. Adults also will be allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants and keep the herb that is produced, as long as it is done in a secure space not visible to the public.

While most criminal sanctions for marijuana were lifted immediately after the general election, the regulation of businesses, production facilities, and marijuana consumption establishments will be phased in over time. Licenses are scheduled to be granted in Janurary 2018.

Note:State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Medical Marijuana Protections

In order to qualify for the protections afforded by California’s medical cannabis laws, a person must be either a qualified patient or a primary caregiver. A person is considered to be a qualified patient if a physician recommends or approves of their medical use of marijuana. Typically, this means that the doctor will give a written recommendation to the patient as proof of the patient’s status that entitles them to use, possess, and cultivate cannabis.

The legalization of recreational marijuana leaves the medical marijuana laws and regulations intact, while patients with a doctor’s recommendation are exempt from sales tax. (

New California Laws

In addition to the“sanctuary state” legislationsigned into law by Governor Brown yesterday, the Governor also signedAB 450 into law. The law is effective January 1, 2018, and requires, among other items, employers to verify that immigration officials have a judicial warrant or subpoena prior to entering the workplace and for employers to provide notice to employees if there has been a request to review the employer’s immigration documents, such as Form I-9s. The new law puts employers in a difficult situation of having to comply with federal immigration law obligations on one hand and state law requirements on the other, with large penalties that could result for violations of either law. This Friday’s Five discusses five key aspects California employers must understand about the new obligations created by AB 450.

1. Employers may not voluntary consent to an immigration enforcement agent to enter any nonpublic areas of “a place of labor” without a subpoena or judicial warrant.

The new law provides that employers cannot provide voluntary consent to an immigration enforcement agent to “access, review, or obtain the employer’s employee records without a subpoena or judicial warrant.” This prohibition does not apply to I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form and “other documents for which a Notice of Inspection has been provided to the employer.”

2. Employers must give notice to employees of any immigration review of employment records.

Employers are required to post information about any inspections of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms or other employment records conducted by an immigration agency within 72 hours of receiving notice of the inspection. The notice must be posted in the language the employer normally uses to communicate employment-related information to the employee. In addition, the notice must include the following information:

(A)The name of the immigration agency conducting the inspections of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms or other employment records.

(B)The date that the employer received notice of the inspection.

(C)The nature of the inspection to the extent known.

(D)A copy of the Notice of Inspection of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms for the inspection to be conducted.

The Labor Commissioner is required to publish a template for employers to use by July 1, 2018.

3. An employer, upon reasonable request, shall provide an “affected employee” a copy of the Notice of Inspection of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms.

An “affected employee” is an employee identified by the immigration agency inspection results to be “an employee who may lack work authorization, or an employee whose work authorization documents have been identified by the immigration agency inspection to have deficiencies.”

The employer is required to provide the affected employee a copy of the written immigration agency notice that provides the results inspection within 72 hours of after receipt of the notice. In addition, the employer shall also provide written notice of the obligations of the employer and the affected employee arising from the results of the records investigation. The notice needs to relate to the affected employee only and shall be delivered by hand at the workplace if possible and, if hand delivery is not possible, by mail and email, if the email address of the employee is known.

4. Except as otherwise required by federal law, employers cannot reverify the employment eligibility of a current employee at a time or in a manner not required by federal law

Violations of this provision can result in civil penalties up to $10,000.

5. Potential penalties.

Penalties for failure to provide the notices required under the new law are $2,000 up to $5,000 for a first violation and $5,000 up to $10,000 for each subsequent violation. The penalties will be recovered by the Labor Commissioner.

Alimony and the New Tax Law: How the New Tax Law May Affect Your Divorce

By: Russell J. Frank, Esq.
Last Update: February 28, 2018

The new tax law will have an effect on your overall divorce settlement agreement and your taxes post-divorce.

By now I’m sure that you’ve heard President Donald Trump signed a new tax law into effect back on December 22, 2017 that is sure to have big implications for just about everyone. While many of the headlines will focus on tax rates and the effects on your monthly paycheck, also contained within the new tax bill are provisions that will fundamentally change how alimony is treated for tax purposes throughout the country.

The New Law Changes How Alimony Is Treated for Tax Purposes

As it relates to the payment and receipt of alimony, prior to the enactment of this new tax law, the party paying alimony was entitled to deduct their payments from their tax liabilities, while the party receiving the alimony payment would end up paying taxes on their alimony as a form of income. This, however, has been turned on its head by the new tax law. Starting with alimony-related judgments after January 1, 2019, the spouse paying alimony will no longer be entitled to deduct those payment amounts from their overall tax liability, and the spouse receiving the alimony payments will no longer have to pay taxes on their alimony payments.

The prior tax laws were seen by many divorce attorneys as a way to preserve more money for the divorcing parties, allocating tax liabilities between former spouses and helping each party to afford to live separately. There are now concerns that with the new tax laws set to take effect in less than a year that it will leave less money overall for the divorcing family.

To help explain the effect of the new law a little better, imagine that one spouse is paying alimony in the annual amount of $20,000. Under the old tax law, if the paying spouse were to pay and then deduct $20,000 per year in alimony, with their income being taxed at the federal rate of 33%, then the previous tax law’s deduction had the potential to save them about $6,600 per year. On the flip side of that equation, the party receiving the alimony payments of $20,000 per year, if taxed at a standard rate of 15%, would see them paying about $3,000 per year in taxes, rather than the $6,600 that the paying spouse would have incurred under their tax rate. As a result, under the old system, the parties would have saved about $3,600 between the two of them, providing the paying spouse a tax break that makes the payments more affordable. These same savings would not be seen under the new tax law due to the difference in the allocation of the tax liability.

Why Was a New Tax Law Introduced?

So why was the law changed and why did the folks in Washington think this was a good idea to change up the tax responsibilities as they relate to these alimony payments? In writing the new tax law, Congress has referred to the alimony deduction as a “divorce subsidy,” and it appears that part of their rationale was to try and close the gap in which it was seen that a divorced couple could often obtain a better tax result for alimony payments made between former spouses than a still-married couple could.

Additionally, by making the paying party pay the taxes on alimony payments, it would bring alimony payments in line with child support payments, which historically have not been tax-deductible for the payer or taxable for the recipient. Of course, another significant reason for the change is the government’s bottom line, as Congress’s nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that by repealing the alimony deduction, the government has the potential to add $6.9 billion in new tax revenue over 10 years.

Consult with a Tax Professional

During the course of your divorce, it is generally a good idea to consult with an independent tax professional to ensure you understand how taxes could impact your overall settlement agreement, and with these new tax laws ready to take effect, this will be become even more important.

If you have additional questions or concerns about your alimony requirements or the new tax law, it’s important to speak with an experienced family law attorney to discuss your specific case and circumstances.

Attorney Russell J. Frank is a partner at CPLS, P.A. and focuses his practice areas on family and marital law. Contact Attorney Frank today at to discuss any family or marital legal issues you may be experiencing. 

By:Russell J. Frank, Esq.| February 14, 2018 | Financial IssuesLegal Issues |

California- Employer Check Laws

Employers can no longer request credit reports for Californians unless they are working or seeking work in a financial institution, law enforcement or the state Justice Department.
The law also exempts anyone who:
(1) has access to people’s bank or credit card account information, SSN number and date of birth,
(2) has access to an employer’s proprietary information or trade secrets, (3) signs a check, credit card, financial contract, or transfers money for an employer,
(4) has access to more than $10,000 cash, or (5) is a manager in ‘certain industries’. (Law now in effect)