Surprise! 5 New California Laws You May be Breaking Today

Shark Underwater Night Bottom - H 2011
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Shark Underwater Night Bottom - H 2011

Minors banned from indoor tanning; child actor work just got easier, and other new legislation that went into effect on January 1.

With each new year comes a slew of rules, regulations and even a few breaks that you probably don't even hear about.

Dozens of new California laws went into effect on the first day of year, and among members of the class of 2012 are bills restricting indoor tanning, potential employee screening and certain foods served in restaurants.

THR has narrowed down the frequently dry list to five applicable and bizarre laws, which you will definitely want to read before -- at least before you get in a car with anyone under 8 years old.

Child Actors
The state voted to streamline the process by which minors get permission to work in the entertainment industry. For rushed opportunities, parents can now get temporary permits online rather than applying formally through the mail. Finding work for your child is now almost as easy as signing up for car insurance.

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Indoor tanning
On the subject of child actors, they could be noticeably more pallid in the coming year. A another law goes into effect preventing minors from using indoor tanning facilities. Citing the growing number of melanoma cases in California, the World Health Organization pushed to prevent even parental permission from getting minors in the doors of tanning salons. California is now the first state in the country to ban tanning completely to anyone under 18 years of age.

Car seats
One law that has seen its share of media exposure is the new measure requiring children under 8 years old to sit in booster seats. Only children at least 4 feet 9 inches tall are now allowed to ride in cars restrained only by a safety belt.

Shark fins
Fans of niche gourmet dishes like shark fin soup have only a few more days to enjoy the controversial delicacy -- if that. The state has made it illegal to buy, sell or possess shark fins starting Jan 1. Restaurants that obtained shark fins before the end of 2011, however, will be allowed to serve the product until their supply runs out.

New hires
One previously acceptable form of criteria in screening potential employees has gone out the window. Credit reports can no longer be considered when filling an open job, so now anyone with a low score has one less reason to be nervous.