By Haddon Libby
Sacramento was busy last year. Below are some of the new laws that go into effect on January 1st.
Abortion: AB-2223 protects a woman’s right to end a pregnancy without fear of prosecution, no matter how the abortion is carried out. If you help someone end a pregnancy, you are protected from criminal or civil liability whether you are a doctor or not.
Mental Illness: Family members, first responders and medical workers will now be able to work with a judge in putting together conservancy plans for those with a variety of psychotic disorders. Riverside County will be amongst the first to roll out these special courts.
Criminals: If you have fulfilled the penalty for your actions, fewer people will be able to access your criminal history. Criminals can now have their records sealed so long as they stay out of trouble for four years. The law does not apply to registered sex offenders. Other than schools, government, and law enforcement, most will no longer have access to criminal history.
New Optional Holidays: The state now recognizes Lunar New Year (January 22nd) and Genocide Remembrance Day (May 18th) and Juneteenth (June 19th).
Minimum Wage: All employers must pay at least $15.50 per hour.
Fast food workers: A new council is being established to review working conditions while establishing a minimum wage for workers in the industry. This council can raise wages to as high as $22/hour.
Street Food Legalized! The permitting process is being revised to allow for street food vendors. The objective is to bring greater health protection while allowing these small businesses to operate legally.
Jaywalkers Rejoice! The Freedom to Walk Act is now law. This law allows you to cross a street outside of an intersection or crosswalk so long as it is safe to do so.
Woman Rejoice! Dry cleaners can no longer charge a woman more to clean her polo shirt than a man. Going forward, businesses must charge a woman the same amount as a man or be subject to fines.
Bicyclists: From now on, motorists are required to change lanes and give right of ways to bicyclists if reasonably possible. For bicyclists (including e-bikes), you can now use pedestrian crosswalks. In the past, bicycles were required to follow the same traffic signals as motorists.
Combatting Catalytic Converter Theft: Anyone buying a used catalytic converter must keep a record of who sold it to them. To sell these oft-stolen devices, you must be state-certified to be able to sell these oft-stolen devices.
Sex trafficking: To try and combat sex trafficking, hotels will be subject to civil penalties if anyone working at a hotel suspects human or sex trafficking and does not report this to law enforcement.
Trans-gender protections: While it is legal to change your gender in California, not all states are so friendly toward this group of Americans. The law is meant to protect people who come to our state for treatment from having to share this health information with another state, healthcare provider or other group. The law also allows the state jurisdiction on custody rights for young adults or juveniles looking for gender care.
Bereavement Leave: It is illegal for employers of more than five people to deny unpaid bereavement leave. The only requirement is that the employee worked for the business for at least 30 days.
Employer Wage Transparency. If you work for a company with at least 15 employees, you can now ask for salary ranges on all job postings. The idea behind this law is to counter workplace discrimination where people with similar skill sets receive different pay.
The California Consumer Privacy Act states that cannot collect your personal data without prior consent. Starting in 2023, employers can no longer collect information on employees.
Haddon Libby is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Winslow Drake Investment Management. For more information, please visit www.WinslowDrake.com.