How 2014 laws will affect students

Thousands of new laws came into effect at the start of the new year, some of which will affect SF State students.

More than 40,000 new laws and regulations were passed countrywide, 800 of which were in California alone. A handful of these new laws include minimum wage increases, labor laws, gun restrictions and rights for immigrant and transgender students, according to the National Conference of State Legislature.

Starting July 1, working students in California will see minimum wage rise to $9.00. San Francisco already increased its minimum wage to $10.74, the highest in the United States, according to the United States Department of Labor.

However, the wage increase affects the people working on campus in a different way.

“For students who work on the campus, even though the campus is in the city and county of San Francisco, the city and county say the minimum wage doesn’t apply because it’s a state run institution, so the state minimum wage applies, which is only $8.00 an hour,” said Bill Sokol, a labor lawyer and lecturer in the labor studies department at SF State.

Employees of private vendors, such as the SF State Bookstore or the Village Fitness Center, are paid at the state rate, which is different from San Francisco’s city minimum wage. Public vendors not associated with the University, such as The Village Market and Peets, are paid at the city rate.

“It’s perfect because it’s on campus,” said Alyssa Tunnelle, a senior working as a student assistant in the American Language Institute. “It’s not the highest paying but it’s so convenient. Everyone is so nice and so flexible because they know I’m a student.”

In addition to new minimum wage laws, employers are no longer allowed to question a person’s status before hiring them. This means immigrants can work legally in California. It is now against the law for employers to report workers to immigration authorities based on suspicions, according to the United States Immigration and Citizenship website.

“There is a whole anti-immigrant sentiment, specifically focused on Latinos, around the news media. The stigma of being Latino and undocumented is a big stresser. There is just a lot more stressers that can affect undocumented students,” said Karla Castillo, who is involved with the counseling and psychological services at SF State.

Most of the new laws with the power to affect students have already come to fruition, but by mid-year all of the new laws will be in effect.