By: Eye On Inglewood Staff Writer,
As we enter a new year, California residents should be aware of the multitude of laws that have been passed by Governor Gavin Newsom. With the arrival of 2024, several of these laws will come into effect, alongside some that have been in place for previous years.
It is crucial for all Californians to understand the implications these new laws will have. To get a glimpse of the significant laws that will be enacted on January 1, please refer to the list below.
All-gender bathroom signage:
Starting from the beginning of this year, every business in California is required to display an all-genders sign on the door of any single-occupancy bathroom.
Automated tickets news:
Some cities are implementing an automated ticket system for traffic violations. California has given approval for a pilot program that will introduce speed cameras equipped with license plate readers in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles, Glendale, and Long Beach. This means that if you are caught speeding, a ticket will automatically be sent to your address without requiring police intervention.
A new law has been established to enhance access to public parks and beaches in California by promoting responsible reservation practices. Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan explains that this law modifies the online camping registration system to prevent instances of no-shows and cancellations.
Commencing in 2024, employees in California who consume marijuana are offered additional protections. While the use of cannabis during work hours remains restricted, it is now illegal for employers to refuse employment or terminate employees based on their consumption of cannabis products outside of the workplace.
Cause of Death law:
It is no longer permissible for any California coroner or medical examiner to attribute a death to 'excited delirium.' Assembly Bill 360 also prohibits law enforcement from using this term in incident reports. Further information about this law and the term 'excited delirium' can be found here.
Child sex trafficking:
Individuals who are arrested and tried on charges of sex trafficking of minors for monetary gain will receive harsher penalties than before. SB 14 designates human trafficking of minors for commercial gain as a "serious felony," resulting in harsher prison sentences and inclusion in California's "Three Strikes" law.
Concealed Carry Weapon Laws:
Senate Bill 2 has bolstered California's concealed carry weapons law by implementing strict criteria for obtaining a CCW license. The law also limits where firearms can be possessed, and mandates enhanced training requirements for firearm handling and storage.
For the first time in over half a century, California's conservatorship laws have undergone significant changes. The updated definition now includes individuals who are unable to ensure their safety, necessary medical care, food, clothing, or shelter due to severe substance use disorder or serious mental health illnesses. Proponents of the new law believe it brings greater transparency to conservatorship data and improves equity in mental health conservatorships.
California is poised to become the first state to establish an alert notification system specifically designed to address missing Black children and young Black women aged 12 to 25. Senate Bill 673 grants law enforcement agencies the ability to activate an Ebony Alert, which the California Highway Patrol will coordinate.
Fast Food Workers Law:
Starting in April 2024, minimum wage fast food workers in California will experience a significant increase in their hourly wages. Their pay will rise from just over $16 an hour to $20 an hour.
California will impose harsher punishments for people convicted of trafficking large amounts of fentanyl. AB 701 classifies fentanyl on the same list of controlled substances as heroin, cocaine, and other drugs, which carry stiffer penalties and sentencing enhancements for dealers. When the law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2024, an individual convicted of dealing a kilo or more of fentanyl will face much stricter sentencing.
Full refunds for some canceled hotel and Airbnb stays:
It will now be more accessible to cancel accidental bookings on hotel sites, third-party booking companies, and short-term rentals like Airbnb. If you cancel within 24 hours of your booking, you are now guaranteed a full refund. There’s just one caveat: The stay has to be for at least 72 hours from the time of booking
Gas powered outdoor equipment:
Under AB 1346, retailers are prohibited from selling gas-powered outdoor equipment. That includes certain chainsaws, hedge trimmers and edgers, lawnmowers, and leaf blowers. It does not have air compressors, portable generators, and pressure washers.
Gender neutral toy section
Under AB 1084, major retailers or any company with 500 or more employees, would be required to have a gender-neutral display for children’s toys in their store and have it clearly labeled as such. The law applies to retailers operating inside the state of California. Companies that fail to maintain a gender-neutral toy aisle face a civil penalty of $250 for the first time and $500 for each subsequent penalty.
Criminal penalties for three hate symbols are now equalized under AB 2282: Nazi swastika, noose, and desecrated crosses. It also increases the locations where they are banned to include K-12 schools, colleges, cemeteries, places of worship, places of employment, private property, public parks, public spaces, and public facilities.
Junk fees are (mostly) going away:
A concert ticket that suddenly doubles in price when you click through to the payment screen should soon be a nuisance of the past in California. Senate Bill 478 prohibits “hidden fees” from being added to the advertised cost of hotel reservations, sports tickets, car rentals, and more.
Low income housing:
Religious institutions and nonprofit colleges in California can turn their parking lots and other properties into low-income housing under a new law to combat the homeless crisis. The law rezones land owned by nonprofit colleges and religious institutions, such as churches, mosques, and synagogues, to allow for affordable housing. Starting in 2024, they can bypass most local permitting and environmental review rules that can be costly and lengthy.
Minimum Wage Increase:
As tradition holds, California's minimum wage sees its annual increase on January 1. In 2024, the minimum wage rises from $15.50 per hour to $16. Moreover, two new bills introduce higher base pay for fast food workers and healthcare employees. Starting April 1, 2024, fast food workers will receive a minimum wage of $20 per hour, including all national fast food chains and franchises, as specified in Assembly Bill No. 1228 and Senate Bill 525.
Mobile opioid treatment:
Californians battling opioid addiction will be able to obtain vital medications through mobile pharmacies starting Jan. 1. AB 663 allows pharmacies to create mobile access to medicines like buprenorphine, which is used to treat opioid addiction. Patients seeking the medication will also have access to enroll in treatment and recovery services for drug addiction. The law removes barriers to administering controlled substances used for drug addiction and creates mobile access to medication.
Non-Californians' Access to Abortions:
In the aftermath of the consequential overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court in 2022, its impact on American politics continues to reverberate. A new law in California aims to protect the state's doctors from legal consequences when they mail abortion pills to states that have criminalized the practice. This law ensures access to abortion for non-Californians.
Employers are now prohibited from including post-employment noncompete clauses in contracts or compelling employees to enter into them. By Valentine's Day, employers must provide written notice to current and certain former employees declaring the invalidity of any post-employment noncompete clause.
Paid Sick Leave:
California workers will now enjoy two additional days of paid sick leave annually. Senate Bill 616 mandates that employers provide eligible employees with five days of paid sick leave annually, an increase from the previous three days. The new law also expands the definition of sick leave to incorporate caring for ill family members. Additionally, it provides paid time off for employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assaults, and stalking.
Reproductive Loss Leave:
Under SB 848, private employers with five or more employees and all public employers are obligated to grant up to five days of reproductive loss leave for qualifying events such as failed adoptions, failed surrogacy, miscarriages, stillbirths, or unsuccessful assisted reproduction. These five days do not need to be consecutive.
Security Deposit Update:
Great news for renters! Starting July 1, 2024, you are no longer required to save more than two months' rent for your security deposit. Assembly Bill 12 limits landlords of unfurnished residential properties, allowing them to request only one month's rent as the deposit. Landlords who own just one or two rental properties with a maximum of four rental units are exempt from this law.
Other Notable Law:
SB 71 raises the jurisdictional limit in small claims court from $10,000 to $12,500 for civil cases. Similarly, in limited civil cases, the limit increases from $25,000 to $35,000.