Two other states – Arkansas and Louisiana – have laws that bar smoking in vehicles containing children. The Arkansas statute applies to children under age 6 or 60 pounds. The Louisiana law covers children under age 13. California’s ban would prohibit smoking in a vehicle containing anyone under 18, but the traffic stop would have to be made for another offense, such as speeding, before a vehicle’s occupant could be cited for smoking. The measure’s author, state Sen. Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, agreed to that concession to assure its approval by the state Assembly, said her spokesman, Ray Sotero. Another change in law that will limit motorists’ activities – a ban on the use of hand-held cell phones while driving – takes effect July 1. For drivers under the age of 18, the prohibition extends even to handsfree use of cell phones. The new year will bring a pay raise for the 1.4 million California workers who make minimum wage. Their hourly pay will increase by 50 cents to $8 on Jan. 1, making them the second highest paid minimum wage workers in the country along with workers in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts minimum wage also will reach $8 an hour on Jan. 1, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Washington state, which automatically adjusts its minimum wage each year to keep pace with inflation, will have the highest at $8.07 an hour. The California increase is part of a two-step adjustment approved by lawmakers in 2006. The wage jumped from $6.75 to $7.50 last Jan. 1. Here are some of the other laws that take effect with the start of the new year: LIGHTS, WATER – Legislation by Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, gives the California Energy Commission until the end of 2008 to develop tougher efficiency standards for general purpose lights. Other Huffman bills authorize a $250 million subsidy program to encourage installation of solar water heaters and require the Energy Commission to establish water-efficiency standards for the design of new buildings. HOMELESS SHELTERS – A new law written by Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, is intended to remove roadblocks for homeless shelters by requiring cities and counties to designate areas where shelters can be located without obtaining a conditional use permit. IDENTIFICATION DEVICES – Legislation by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, prohibits an employer or anyone else from requiring a person to have a radio frequency identification device inserted under the skin. The devices, about the size of a rice grain, can be used to track and transmit personal information about the user. FLOOD CONTROL – Cities and counties could be forced to cover a share of the damage caused by flooding if they approve new development without considering flood risks, under legislation by Assemblyman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento. A related bill by Sen. Mike Machado, D-Linden, will require cities and counties in the flood-prone Central Valley to follow new flood protection requirements in making land-use decisions. GANG PARENTING – Courts could require the parents or guardians of gang members to attend parenting classes under legislation by Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, that attempts to prevent first-time juvenile offenders from committing additional crimes. ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS – Legislation by Assemblyman Charles Calderon, D-Whittier, prevents cities and counties from requiring landlords to serve as surrogate border patrol agents by obtaining and reporting the immigration status of their tenants. The measure also prohibits ordinances preventing landlords from renting to illegal immigrants. HIV TESTING – A law written by Assemblywoman Patty Berg, D-Eureka, makes it more likely that people will be routinely tested for HIV and AIDS. The measure drops a requirement that patients fill out a form to have the tests. They only would have to give a doctor verbal consent to add HIV to other conditions for which they are being tested. SPERM CLEANSING – Legislation by Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, allows sperm from a man with HIV to be used to artificially inseminate a wife or partner who does not have the disease if the woman consents and the sperm is processed to minimize the possibility of infection. IRAN INVESTMENTS – The state’s two giant public pension funds, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, will be prohibited from investing in companies that have defense- or nuclear energy-related business with Iran. The bill is by Assemblyman Joel Anderson, R-La Mesa. PHONY MUSIC – Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge, is the author of a law that attempts to ensure that music fans who buy tickets to oldies concerts are not victims of deceptive advertising. The legislation requires performing groups to meet at least one of several standards to be able to legally use the name from the groups’ recording days. An example: The group must include at least one member who has the legal right to use the name. Bands also can avoid lawsuits by acknowledging they are a salute or tribute to the original recording group and had a name that did not confuse ticket buyers. GIFT CERTIFICATES – A law written by Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, allows shoppers to cash in gift certificates that have less than $10 left in value. Consumer advocates say that will prevent stores from benefiting from an “undeserved bonanza” generated by unexhausted gift certificates that stores have refused to trade for cash. — On the Net: www.assembly.ca.gov and www.senate.ca.gov160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – Lighting up behind the wheel will become an expensive habit in California if there are kids in the car. Starting Tuesday, motorists could be hit with fines of up to $100 for smoking in a vehicle containing a child. The ban is among hundreds of changes in state law that take effect with the new year. Others include the second increase in the minimum wage in 12 months and measures to require more efficient lights, promote solar water heaters and ease the way for more homeless shelters. The smoking ban is the latest attempt by the state to shield people from the health risks created by breathing secondhand smoke. California already prohibits smoking in enclosed workplaces, including taverns and restaurants, and within 25 feet of a playground.