If you sat watching the Rose Parade snuggled up in your jammies with a cup of hot cocoa thinking, "I could use some of that sunshine and blue sky right now -- I don't care if unemployment and living expenses are high, at least I wouldn't have to deal with snow--I'm moving!" you might want to think twice. We're a litigious lot out here and we've just passed a passel of new laws that went into effect on January 1. They will affect your ability to make a living in a number of ways, both good and bad.
If you're an actor: Your talent agent can no longer charge you a fee upfront, as in, "Just give me $500 baby, and I'll make you a star!"
If you're paparazzi: You can now be sued for up to $50,000 if you take a picture of a celebrity engaged in a "personal or familial activity," and sell that photo without the celebrity's consent. So no more hanging out at the posh private school waiting to catch photos of movie star moms in their sweats.
If you're a plastic surgeon: The Donda West law, named after rapper Kanye West's mother, makes it illegal to do elective plastic surgery until the patient has first been cleared by an extensive physical exam.
If you're the husband, wife or lover of a politician: You can no longer work for your partner's campaign and be paid a salary that will "enrich" your household. That puts an end to getting paid to smile, wave and match ties.
If you're a hooker: Your client's car can be impounded by local government authorities if you use that vehicle as a place of business. 'Nuff said.
If you're a coyote: Human trafficking fines have been quadrupled to $20,000, and all your assets can be seized. You're getting off easy. It serves you right.
If you're in the restaurant business: You now have to use oils, margarine and shortening with less than half a gram of trans fat per serving. You certainly don't want to contribute to your clients' gaining weight in this state, and you're doing your humble part to lower health care costs.
If you're a farmer: Blueberry farmers are all smiles now that a California Blueberry Commission has been created, although they'll have to pay an extra $0.025 per pound (of fruit) to fund it. Those in the cattle industry are now prohibited from inhumanely docking a cow's tail.
If you're a pet shop owner: You are officially required to use specific, "humane" methods to kill rodents before feeding them to snakes and other carnivores.
Dog fight enthusiasts, drunk drivers, jail guards, professional football players, noose hangers, used car sales people and teen voters will also be affected by new laws in 2010, but perhaps the most pervasive work force legislation involves none other than the office betting pool. The penalty, if you get caught, has been reduced from a misdemeanor punishable by fines up to $1,000, to an infraction with a fine not to exceed $250.