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Here are some key laws in California that have taken affect as of January 1 or will take affect later this year

Some laws will affect Californians in July, and a few need voter approval during the March 2024 primary elections


By ONME Newswire


SACRAMENTO – In partnership with the Legislature, Governor Gavin Newsom this year signed several key legislation to support the reproductive rights of Californians, increase affordable housing, hold Big Oil accountable, and protect the safety, health, and well-being of all Californians. Most of these bills will have taken affect since January, with the exception of one that most be voted on in the March 2024 primaries.


“California is more than just a state of dreamers, we’re a state of doers. Thanks to the Legislature’s strong partnership in 2023, the state is leading by example to create opportunity, and advance and protect the rights of all Californians,” said Govenor Gavin Newsom.


Here is a quick look at key bills that will affect Californians starting January 1, 2024 or later this year:


REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS

As the country continues to reel after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, California has put in reproductive freedom legislation for California.


  • Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan’s AB 352 requires companies that manage electronic health records to protect all Californians’ and visitors’ electronic medical records related to abortion, gender-affirming care, pregnancy loss, and other sensitive services. This closes a major loophole in privacy protections for people traveling to California for abortion and gender-affirming care.

  • Senator Skinner’s SB 345 protects providers and people from enforcement action in California of other states’ laws that criminalize or limit reproductive and gender-affirming health care services.



OPIOID CRISIS

To combat the opioid crisis, Assemblymember Haney’s AB 663 allows for more mobile pharmacies to be created in communities across the state and enables them to dispense treatment medications for opioid use disorder.


AB 701 - Enhances jail time for those trafficking more than a kilo of fentanyl.



WORKERS’ RIGHTS

Governor Newsom signed Senator Gonzalez’s SB 616, which expands the number of sick days available to workers from 3 to 5.


New protections for those who use or have used cannabis off the clock: SB 700 prohibits an employer from requesting information from an applicant's prior cannabis use. AB 2188 prohibits employers from discriminating against a worker or applicant based on their use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace. Those who work in building and construction trades and federal workers are exempt from this.


Minimum wage increases: California's minimum wage overall will increase to $16 dollars an hour when the new year begins because of a state law that requires the minimum wage to adjust for inflation.


In April, AB 1228 will go into effect to raise the minimum wage of fast-food workers to $20 an hour. In June, because of SB 525, some health care workers will begin seeing increases to their minimum wage depending on the type of facility they work in, to eventually reach a $25 minimum wage for the entire industry by 2033.



INCREASING VOTER ACCESS

Although California has some of the strongest voting laws in the nation, Assemblymember Pellerin’s AB 545 allows voters with a disability to complete a regular ballot outside of any polling place—known as curbside voting—and removes the requirement for a voter to declare under oath that they are unable to mark their ballot in order to receive assistance doing so.



OIL REFINERIES PRICING

Senator Skinner’s SBX1-2 grants the California Energy Commission new authority to penalize refineries and set a maximum gross gasoline refining margin if necessary to help combat price gouging. It also creates a new independent state watchdog to investigate market or price manipulation.



INCREASING AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Legislation signed this year aims to speed up the process to secure permits and meet housing goals.

  • Senator Wiener’s SB 423 extends and expands existing law, requiring local governments that are failing to meet state housing planning goals to streamline affordable housing projects. This will increase affordable housing throughout the state in uncooperative cities.

  • Senator Wiener’s SB 4, known as the “Yes in God’s Backyard” bill, allows housing to be developed on property owned by religious or independent higher education institutions. These groups are given this authority “by right,” which requires no discretionary local governance intervention.


AB 12 - Starting in July, prohibits landlords from charging more than one month's rent for a security deposit.



ADDRESSING THE MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS

Addressing our nation’s behavioral health crisis, the Governor signed legislation to improve health care delivery systems and make these services more accessible. These efforts will help tens of thousands of Californians and fill critical needs across the state, from homeless Californians with severe behavioral health issues to kids suffering from depression and everyone in between. Together, these reforms will be proposed to the voters for approval on the March 2024 ballot as Proposition 1.

  • Senator Eggman’s SB 326 reforms the Mental Health Services Act—making better use of Mental Health Services Act funding to address today’s needs and increasing accountability to the public.

  • Assemblymember Irwin’s AB 531 would issue $6.38 billion in bonds to fund 11,150 new behavioral health beds and housing as well as 26,700 outpatient treatment slots.


AB 360 - Prohibits "excited delirium" from being considered a medical diagnosis or valid cause of death, which has been used by coroners in other states, including Minnesota for the classification of the death of George Floyd.



PUBLIC SAFETY

In September, Governor Newsom signed Senator Grove’s SB 14 to steepen penalties for human trafficking of minors in California. The law designates human trafficking of a minor for purposes of a commercial sex act as a serious felony.


SB 673 - Establishes the "Ebony Alert" for missing young Black women and children between the ages of 12 to 25. The bill authorizes law enforcement to request that an Ebony Alert be activated if that agency determines the alert would be an effective tool. Democratic State Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, introduced the bill.


AB 452 - Eliminates the statute of limitations, or time limit for the recovery of damages, for victims of childhood sexual assault that occurs on or after January 1.


AB 413 prohibits stopping or parking a vehicle within 20 feet of an intersection or crosswalk clear of parked vehicles.



ONLINE PROTECTIONS: 

AB 587 requires social media companies to disclose how they address hate speech and disinformation. Tech companies are expected to provide reports to the state attorney general on how they address violations of user terms.



CONSUMERS:

AB 1084 - Requires retailers to have a gender-neutral toy section.


SB 244 - The Right to Repair Act, which will require manufacturers of devices that cost more than $50 to provide consumers and repair shops with parts, tools, or instructions to repair the device.


SB 478 - No more hidden fees: Starting in July, this will require websites to show the actual cost of a service or item upfront. This includes hotel or short-term rental stays, event tickets and food delivery services.



STREAMLINING THE UC TRANSFER PROCESS

AB 1291 by Assemblymember McCarty establishes the University of California (UC) Associate Degree for Transfer Pilot Program, beginning with UCLA, to prioritize admission of a student who earns an associate degree for transfer (ADT) from selected community colleges and to redirect a student who meets those requirements but is denied admission to the applicable campus and offer admission to at least one other campus. Expanding ADTs to the UC system allows qualified community college transfer students to fulfill the requirements of an ADT and meet the requirements for participating UC and CSU campuses, streamlining the transfer process and saving students money by being able to earn two degrees in four years.



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