With the start of a new year, Californian’s will now have a new set of laws to be aware of which went into effect at the stroke of midnight. Here are 21 laws you should be aware of:
A rundown of the laws:
Car Sales – A 2010 law went into effect that requires vehicle manufacturers to make brake pads no more than 5% copper material by 2021. This law will limit certain cars that can be sold.
COVID-19 Exposure – This bill authorizes all employers to promptly notify employees of potential coronavirus exposure as well as public health officials after someone at the worksite tests positive for COVID-19 (AB 685)
Diversity Requirement on Corporate Boards – Any corporate board based in California must appoint one director from an unrepresented community (AB 979)
Distracted Driving – Using a cell phone in a handheld manner while driving is currently punishable by a fine. Beginning July 1, 2021, violating the hands-free law for a second time within 36 months of a prior conviction for the same offense will result in a point being added to a driver’s record. This applies to the violations of talking or texting while driving (except for hands-free use) and to any use of these devices while driving by a person under 18 years of age. (AB 47)
Expanded Leave for Crime Victims – increases job-protection for victims of crime or abuse or threat to physical injury. This law requires companies with 25 or more employees to provide victims with time off to seek medical attention or counseling. (AB 2992)
Emergency Vehicle Flashing Lights – increases penalties for not moving over or slowing down for emergency vehicles with flashing lights on freeways and local streets or roads. This bill also included tow trucks, Caltrans vehicles to emergency vehicles (AB 2285)
Family and Medical Leave Expansion for Small Businesses – Requires small business with 5 employees or more to provide up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job protected leave for qualifying life events (SB 1383)
Inmate Firefighters – Allows for the states inmates firefighter program to become firefighters after completing prison terms (bill does exclude persons convicted from certain crimes) (AB 2147)
Insurance Code Update – This bill would require an insurer to obtain a signed acknowledgment from an applicant or insured if the insurer issues a new residential property insurance policy on or after July 1, 2021, that does not provide coverage for the peril of fire. (AB 2756)
Kin Care Leave – Employees have the power of how they use their sick days. Business cannot deny an employees use of their sick day whatever the reason (AB 2017)
Juvenile Interrogation – Youths up to age 17 can’t be questioned by police or waive their rights until they have a chance to consult with an attorney (SB 203)
Minimum Wage Increase – Statewide minimum wage jumps to $14 an hour for employers who have 26 employees or more.
Pay Data – companies with 100 or more employees must submit pay data report every year aimed to assist in the states gender wage gap (SB 973)
Police Holds Banned – prohibits police officers from using chokeholds and carotid holds (AB 1196)
Police Use of Force – Each law enforcement agency must maintain a policy that provides guidelines on use of force, de-escalation techniques, and other alternatives (SB 230) – note, more info on this bill and similar ones.
Racial Bias – suspects could get new trials if racial bias played a role in the case (AB 2542)
Sex Offender Registration – Judges now have discretion over sex-offender registration in cases where a person found guilty of oral or anal sex with a minor between the ages of 14 to 17, where the age difference is less than 10 years. (SB 145)
Sheriff Oversight Board – Allows County Supervisors or public vote to create a sheriffs oversight board to and create special powers for the board (AB 1185)
Vehicle Trespassing – Exempts a person from civil or criminal liability when damaging a vehicle to rescue a child 6 years old or young who is in danger from heat, cold or other dangerous situations (AB 2717)
Wildfire Protection – homeowners in fire areas must create between 5 ft to 30 ft around their home in addition to 100 feet of defensible space (AB 3074)
Wildfire Bill – bans employers from requiring workers to work during an evacuation due to wildfire or other public safety issue (AB 2658)