California to See New Laws Go Into Effect in 2020

From motorized scooters to the REAL ID, new laws will affect the way many Californians get from point A to point B.

dmv real id sample
California Department of Motor Vehicles

With the start of a new year comes a new batch of laws for the state of California.

Here is a list of laws that will go into effect Jan 1, 2020:

  • AB 317 makes it against the law for anyone to sell, or offer for sale, a DMV appointment.
  • SB 957 allows certain used vehicles that were previously issued a green or white clean air vehicle decal to receive another decal, which allows access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes until Jan. 1, 2024. However, in order to qualify, the vehicle must have a new owner whose income is 80% or less than the statewide median income.
  • The courts will no longer have the authority to revoke, restrict or order the DMV to delay the driving privilege of a person convicted of prostitution, vandalism or other non-driving offenses since SB 485 was approved.
  • AB 1614 extends a pilot program to evaluate the cost-effectiveness and use of alternatives to license plates and registration cards until Jan 1, 2021.
  • Drivers who are in the U.S. Foreign Service as well as their spouses will benefit from SB 267. The bill extends the validity of their driver’s licenses for the period of their service and up to 30 days after they return to California.
  • AB 1810 allows any person with a valid driver’s license or permit of any class to operate a motorized scooter. A Class M2 driver’s license or permit will no longer be required.
  • Drivers who are approaching or passing a stopped waste service vehicle will need to make a lane change and pass at a safe distance, according to AB 2115.
  • AB 544 created a new program to grant low-emission vehicles and transitional zero-emission vehicles access to HOV lanes for about four years, regardless of the vehicle occupancy level. The DMV will issue orange decals in 2020 that grant access to HOV lanes until Jan. 1, 2024.

And as a reminder, beginning Oct. 1, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require residents to have a federally approved document, like a REAL ID driver's license or ID card, to board domestic flights, and access secured federal facilities and military bases.


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"We urge Californians to apply for their REAL ID at the time of their renewal or their earliest convenience – so they are fully prepared by October 1, 2020," DMV Director Steve Gordon said.

To apply for a REAL ID, California residents must fill out an application and visit a DMV office with the following documents in hand:

  • Original or certified proof of identity, such as a valid passport or birth certificate
    • Legal name change document(s) if name on proof of identity is different from the name on other documents
  • Proof of Social Security number
  • Two proofs of California residency, like a utility bill, bank statement, etc.

For more information about the REAL ID, click here.

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