New California Laws 2016

Hundreds of new California laws took effect on Jan. 1. Capital Public Radio looked at the tangible impacts of these laws on the lives of Californians.

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New Law Gives Californians "Right to Dry"

Photo / Project Laundry List

Photo / Project Laundry List

This story is part of our series on new California laws that take effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

It’s called having the right to dry. That’s right. California needed a law to allow everyone to hang clothes outside on a clothesline or drying rack.

“This is not the first time that we have tried to get a bill like this passed,” says Mindy Spatt with The Utility Reform Network. She says for years, some homeowners associations, apartment associations and landlords have banned clotheslines because they were considered unsightly.

Those groups supported this bill because it set a number of restrictions. It restricts where clothesline can be hung and prevents clothes from drying off balconies, railings or awnings. A landlord also has to approve the type of clothesline or drying rack before attaching it to a building.

Spatt says driers can be energy hogs. Clotheslines can save people money.

"It’s the most simplest form of renewable energy available yet it has been banned in thousands and thousands of HOA’s and apartment associations meaning that basically millions of Californians were prohibited from using clotheslines,” says Spatt.

At least ten other states have passed similar laws. 

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