California welcomes 2023 with new laws | Corning Observer

California welcomes 2023 with hundreds of new laws. Some laws are common sense, others not so much, depending on a person’s political or moral viewpoint.

From protecting abortion to legalizing jaywalking, state legislators and Gov. Newsom approved a plethora of new rules in the state taking effect in January and later in the year.

Just a snapshot sample of the new laws are listed:

HEALTHCARE

• Gender-affirming care: SB 107 aims to make California a sanctuary state for transgender health care, shielding transgender people, including youth and their parents, from legal action from states with bans and restrictions.

• Abortion: Several reproductive healthcare-related measures have either already taken effect or will at the start of the year in response to the United State Supreme Court’s decision to overturn federal abortion protections, which restricted access to the procedure in several states.

• This includes laws that protect medical records and cooperation with out-of-state entities regarding abortion restrictions (AB 2091, AB 1242), expands abortion training options and providers (SB 1375), and protections for people from criminal or civil liabilities for pregnancy loss or abortion (AB 2223).

• COVID-19: AB 2963 requires workplaces to continue providing employees with COVID-19 exposure notifications until 2024; and AB 2098 makes it easier for the California Medical Board to punish doctors who spread COVID-19 misinformation as unprofessional conduct.

LABOR

• Minimum wage increase: SB 3 (2016) will raise California’s minimum wage to $15.50.

• Pay transparency: SB 1162 requires employers to make salary ranges for available job positions to applicants and employees. It also sets new pay data reporting requirements based on gender and race.

• Paid family leave: SB 951 increases the share of paid family leave provided to lower-income Californians. It extends what was a temporary increase in the benefit from 55 percent of wages to 60 percent depending on income. In 2025, the bill requires an increase of the benefit to 70 precent.

LAW ENFORCEMENT/JUDICIAL

• Retail theft: AB 1700 sets up a section on the state Attorney General’s office website to report stolen items. AB 2294 gives law enforcement the ability to keep those in custody who are accused of organized retail theft.

• Immigration status in court: SB 836 prohibits disclosure of a person’s immigration status in open court in a criminal case by any party unless approved by a judge.

• Jaywalking: AB 2147 allows pedestrians to jaywalk (or cross the street outside of an intersection) without being ticketed, as long as the crossing is done when it’s safe to do so.

• Introducing rap lyrics at trial: AB 2799 would require prosecutors who want to use “creative expressions” as evidence of a crime to hold a pretrial hearing away from the jury to prove that rap lyrics or other artistic expression are relevant to the case. T

• Rape kits: SB 1228 prohibits law enforcement agencies from using the DNA collected from a sexual assault victim from being used in the investigation of an unrelated crime.

• Free prison phone calls: SB 1008 provides free phone calls to people detained in California prisons and jails.

BURIAL OPTION

• Human composting: AB 351 establishes licensing and regulation processes for human composting. It would also require the state’s public health department to regulate the “reduction chambers” where it’s done to prevent the spread of disease. The regulation would be funded by a maximum fee of $8.50 per reduction, or per body, paid by licensed facilities to the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Cemetery and Funeral Bureau.

RETAIL

• Pink tax: AB 1287 prohibits gender-based pricing on products based on who they’re marketed toward.

• Fur: AB 44 (2019) bans the sale and manufacturing of new fur clothing and accessories. It does not apply to used fur products, leather, cowhide, faux fur or shearling.

• Food packaging: AB 1200 bans the sale, distribution or offering of any food packaging that contains perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also knowns as PFAS.

• Kid’s privacy online: AB 2273 requires businesses that provide online services or products likely to be accessed by kids under 18 will have to provide greater privacy protections by default starting in 2024. For example, the bill would generally prohibit companies from collecting, selling, sharing, or keeping kids’ personal information other than to provide the service that the kid is actively interacting with.

Laws that take effect later this year

• Mental Health: SB 1338, also known as CARE Court, will launch new judicial branches in six California counties in October, which would provide court-ordered mental health care to severely mentally ill, unhoused people. Those counties are Glenn, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne. The rest of the state is expected to implement the new system by the end of 2024.

• Housing: AB 2011 aims to boost housing production and affordability by turning unused retail spaces into homes and communities. It goes into effect on July 1.

• Guns: AB 1594 allows the state attorney general, local prosecutors and anyone who suffered harm as a result of gun violence in California to sue firearm manufacturers.

• Sealed convictions: As of July 1 SB 731 allows most old convictions on non-violent or non-sex-related offenses in criminal records to be permanently sealed. It applies to previous convictions of those who completed their sentence and did not return to the criminal justice system.

New laws that may be delayed or blocked

• Farmworker unionization: AB 2183 makes it easier for farmworkers in California to unionize. The implementation of this law has been delayed following an agreement signed by the governor and labor leaders. The governor agreed to sign the bill, with conditions, after facing political pressure from high-profile people and politicians, including President Joe Biden. One of those conditions involved striking out nearly half of the measure that farmworker groups had been pushing for, while another is based on the assumption the state Legislature will approve the changes the governor wants.

• Fast food workers: AB 257 would create a state council to bargain wages and working conditions on behalf of the than half-million fast food workers in the state. Opponents of the measure have said they have gathered more than enough signatures to keep the measure from going into effect, and to give voters the final say on the issue in 2024.

• Oil drilling boundaries: SB 1137 establishes new setbacks for new oil drilling near communities across the state. Opponents have launched the referendum process to land the issue on the 2024 ballot and face a key signature-gathering deadline this week to keep it from going into effect.


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