California is looking poised to be an economic leader this year: There Outta Be a Law: Californians Getting 725 New Ones in 2011 Trans-fats are thing of the past in certain food facilities, for example. And insurance companies can't charge men and women different rates for the same coverage. By Hoa QuÃ¡ch December 31, 2010 Californians will welcome 725 new laws on Jan. 1. Here's a glance at some of the laws taking effect when you ring in the new year: AB 119 prevents insurance companies from charging different rates for men and women for identical coverage. SB 782 prevents landlords from evicting tenants who are victims of domestic or sexual abuse or stalking. AB 1844âinformally known as Chelsea's Law and authored by local Assemblyman Nathan Fletcherâwill increase penalties, parole provisions and oversight of sex offenders, including a "one-strike, life-without-parole penalty" for some. ﻿ AB 1871 allows people to lease out their cars when they are not being usedâalleviating the need to purchase additional insurance. AB 537 will make food stamps an acceptable form of payment at farmers markets through an EBT process. SB 1411 makes it a misdemeanor to maliciously impersonate someone via a social media outlet or through e-mails.﻿ SB 1317 allows the state to slap parents with a $2,000 fine if their K-8 child misses more than 10 percent of the school year without a valid excuse. It also allows the state to punish parents with up to a year in prison for the misdemeanor﻿.﻿ AB 715 makes a change to the California Green Building Standards code. The change will require new California buildings to be energy efficient. SB 1449 makes the possession of one ounce of marijuana an infraction with a penalty of a $100 fine. AB 12 allows foster youth to acquire state services until the age of 21. SB 1399 allows California to medically parole state prison inmates with physical incapacitating conditions and ultimately﻿ shifts some of the cost of care to the federal government. AB 97 bans the use of trans-fats in food facilities.﻿﻿ And why do they need all those trans fatty laws to control the people? The Valley That Jobs Forgot POSTED AT 11:35 AM ON DECEMBER 31, 2010 BY ED MORRISSEY If one had to guess where unemployment is highest in the US, most would probably suggest Detroit or Michigan as a whole. Others who paid attention to the midterm elections would know that Nevada surpassed Michigan as the state with the highest unemployment rate about mid-year. Others might guess Florida. However, in terms of metropolitan areas with the highest levels of joblessness, a new survey by the Birmingham Business Journal shows that Californiaâs Central Valley is the epicenter for unemployment. Verum Serum discovered this while analyzing the data and noting the incredible concentration of joblessness in the country: But the concentration within the concentration clearly shows the Central Valley as the worst area for jobs. Nine of the top 10 metro jobless rates in the nation are California, and seven are in Californiaâs Central Valley: El Centro, CA â 29.3% (east of San Diego near border with Mexico) Yuma, AZ â 26.7% Yuba City, CA â 17.8% Merced, CA â 16.3% Stockton, CA â 16.3% Modesto, CA â 16.2% Visalia-Porterville, CA â 15.9% Fresno, CA â 15.7% Palm Coast, FL â 15.5% Hanford â Corcoran, CA â 15.0% Four of the next five after that are in central California as well, with #15 being the Riverside-San Bernardino area, not necessarily considered a Central Valley locale but also an area of significant agricultural production in normal times. Why has California become the epicenter of unemployment? While Michigan and Florida have a mix of problems, including (in Michiganâs case) a history of bad management decisions on labor contracts, Californiaâs Central Valley woes are entirely a government creation. As I wrote yesterday, the decision by a federal judge to cut off water supplies to an area that literally fed the world turned the Central Valley from an agricultural export powerhouse to a center of starvation within two years. Congress has refused to act to reverse this decision, and as a result, almost a quarter of the families in the area now need government assistance to feed themselves while living on some of the most productive land in the world. John at VS concludes that the federal government can take just three actions to address these concentrations of chronic joblessness: âControl the border, turn on the water in the central valley, and prevent unions from negotiating any more devastating contracts like the ones that almost destroyed the nationâs auto industry.â Turning the water back on to the Central Valley is the easiest and quickest of the three, and unlike the labor-management relationship in (what used to be) a private industry, falls entirely within the purview of the federal government, thanks to the much-abused Endangered Species Act. Until Congress turns the water back on to this breadbasket to the nation, nothing they do on joblessness can be taken seriously.