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12 New California Laws That Could Affect Your Daily Life


SACRAMENTO – Though their session was dwarfed by a global pandemic, raging forest fire season, and a recall election against Governor Gavin Newsom, California lawmakers passed hundreds of new laws in 2021.

But these are just examples of the new measures that will take effect in a few weeks. Legislators have passed dozens of lesser-known bills ranging from measures to deal with everyday problems to those that address niche issues.

Here are 12 more new laws that will go into effect January 1st:

Emotional Support Dogs: As dogs become increasingly popular for emotional support, California will crack down on people to prevent people from mistakenly portraying them as service dogs. AB468 by Laura Friedman, Congregation Member, D-Glendale, Los Angeles County, illustrates the difference between mental support dogs and trained animals serving the disabled. The measure requires that companies selling emotional support dogs – or associated identification equipment such as certificates, tags, vests, or leashes – notify the buyer that the dog is not entitled to the same privileges as authentic service, guide, or signaling dogs .

Minimum wage: The lowest wage California employers can pay will rise as the state nears a minimum wage of $ 15 for almost all workers. On New Year’s Day, the statewide minimum wage increases to $ 15 an hour for employers with 26 or more employees and to $ 14 an hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees. Legislature approved the gradual wage increases with SB3 in 2016 until then-Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco. Local ordinances that require higher minimum wage increases, including many in the Bay Area, also typically go into effect January 1.

Photos of the arrest: Law enforcement agencies have limited ability to post photos of prison bookings on social media. Congregation member Evan Low, D-Campbell’s AB1475 prohibits police from posting mug shots in most circumstances when they arrest someone on suspicion of nonviolent crime. Low said publicly posting unflattering arrest photos fuel an internet mob mentality and can cause irreparable harm to the lives of suspects who have not been proven guilty. Such photos are ubiquitous on the police departments’ Facebook and Twitter pages, which routinely post mug shots before anyone is charged with a crime.

Animal cages: Eggs, bacon and other pork products that you buy in the supermarket need to be produced under more humane operating conditions. Proposal 12, which the electorate overwhelmingly approved in 2018, creates minimum space requirements for the rearing of some farm animals. The measure requires farmers to source eggs sold in California from cage-free chickens. In addition, breeding pigs must be reared with at least 24 square meters of floor space per pig.

Speed ​​Limits: Cities struggling to fight pedestrians may soon force motorists on accident-prone roads to slow down. Friedman’s AB43 gives cities new powers to reduce limits in 5 mph increments by taking pedestrian and cyclist safety into account during traffic inspections. Friedman said the state’s existing standards set limits based on how quickly drivers are comfortable, not what is actually safe.

School dropouts: Native American children and others who miss school to attend cultural ceremonies or events don’t have to worry about being flagged as truant. AB516 by Megan Dahle, Congregational Member, R-Bieber (Lassen County), adds such events to the state’s list of reasons for excused absences from K-12 students. A cultural event is defined as an event that relates to the “habits, practices, beliefs and traditions of a particular group of people”.

child s’ toys: Who says fire trucks are for boys and barbie dolls are for girls? Legislators are pushing retailers to break away from outdated stereotypes about gender-sensitive items for children. Low’s AB1084 requires large stores to have a gender neutral area or exhibit selling children’s toys and items. The bill does not prohibit boys and girls’ sections in shops, but calls for the addition of a neutral section. Stores that fail to comply by 2024 can face fines of up to $ 500 for repeated violations.

Gender on diplomas: Transgender college graduates are eligible for a diploma that reflects their true identity. AB245 by former Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, gives transgender and non-binary graduates from public colleges in California the option to have names representing their gender identity printed on diplomas rather than the name given to them was assigned at birth. For their part, they must provide documents that their name has legally changed.

Olive oil: Scammers who falsely claim to be selling California-grown olive oil will be notified! AB535 from Congregation member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters (Yolo County), requires that every bottle of olive oil sold in the state that has the word “California” on the label is actually made from olives grown here. If not, the seller must state what percentage of the oil comes from olives grown elsewhere.

Mental health: Relief is on the way for people who wait weeks and months to see a therapist about their pandemic-era fears. SB221 from Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, requires insurance companies and health insurers to provide timely follow-up care and reduce waiting times for patients being treated for mental health and drug use.

Plastic garbage: For years, cities have inflated their recycling numbers by counting plastics shipped overseas that have often never been recycled. But not anymore. AB881 by Congregation Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, raises standards for when local governments can count plastic waste sent to other countries towards their recycling targets. Such plastic is often incinerated or landfilled after it arrives overseas. The measure discourages waste shippers from pushing consumers to recycle film packaging and other types of flimsy plastics with low reuse values.

Hair stylists: The hairdresser or beautician who cuts your hair needs less training to obtain their license. SB803 from Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, requires hairdressers and beauticians to complete no less than 1,000 hours of course training. That is 600 hours less for beauticians and 500 less hours for hairdressers. The bill also provides a new license for hairdressers who can do many of the same things and only require 600 hours of training. Roth said the changes would remove a barrier to employment, but his bill has been protested by many in the industry.

Dustin Gardiner is a contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: dustin.gardiner@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @dustingardiner


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