News

2023 brings new laws to California

Legislation affecting health care, environment and public safety and more went into effect Jan. 1

With the first of the year comes additional laws for California residents and businesses covering everything from vehicular hit-and-run to stealing someone’s family pet. Below is a list of just some of those new laws. 

 

Animal Welfare

AB 1290 Clarifies that stealing or taking someone else’s companion animal is theft.

AB 1648 Requires kennel owners to create a natural disaster evacuation plan as one of the conditions for obtaining a kennel license or permit. 

AB 2723 Expands microchip registration requirements for dogs and cats to support the return of lost pets to their owners and deter theft.

SB 774 Facilitates the emotional support dog certification process for homeless persons.

SB 879 The PET (Prohibiting Extraneous Testing) Act prohibits toxicity testing on dogs and cats for pesticides, chemical substances and other products. The bill includes exemptions for tests related to products intended for use in dogs or cats, including medical treatments. SB 879 does not impact federally required testing.

Previous bills signed by Governor Newsom include- end the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in California, ban the sale of new fur products, prohibit the use of animals like elephants and bears in circus acts, ban hunting, trapping or killing bobcats, and require shelters to microchip all reclaimed or adopted cats and dogs.

 

Business and manufacturing 

AB 701 Establishes transparency measures for companies to disclose warehouse production quota descriptions and prohibits the use of algorithms that disrupt basic worker rights.

SB 62 Ends the garment industry’s practice of piece-rate compensation and expands fashion brands’ liability for unpaid wages.

SB 389 Allows restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries that sell food to continue offering to-go alcoholic beverages with food orders, building on state regulatory relief announced in June.

SB 972 Makes it easier for street vendors to obtain local health permits.

 

Education

AB 1705 Requires community colleges to enroll their students in transfer-level math and English courses if the program they want to transfer into requires those subjects. 

 

Environment

AB 652 Bans the use of toxic Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in products for children, such as car seats and cribs. 

AB 1200 Prohibits the use of PFASs in disposable food packaging.

SB 1322 Requires oil companies to post how much money they make in California on their websites.

According to the website chemtrust.org, PFASs are often referred to as “forever chemicals,” as these synthetic chemicals degrade exceptionally slowly in the natural environment and have been found in the blood and breast milk of people and wildlife globally.

 

Equality 

AB 855 Removes Columbus Day as a judicial holiday and replaces it with Native American Day in September.

AB 600 Ensures crimes targeting people due to their immigration status are considered a hate crime.

AB 1084 Requires retail department stores to provide a gender-neutral section for toys and childcare items.

AB 1287 Prohibits what is commonly called the Pink Law. That is, it prohibits anyone from charging a different price for two goods that are similar, like razors because they’re marketed to women. 

SB 1162 Expands on existing transparency laws, which mandate pay data reporting by employee sex, race, and ethnicity.

 

Health

AB 1242 Prohibits law enforcement and California corporations from cooperating with or providing information to out-of-state entities regarding a lawful abortion in California. It also prohibits law enforcement from knowingly arresting a person for aiding in a lawful abortion in California.

AB 2091 and AB 1242 Expand abortion training options and abortion providers.

AB 2223 Protects people from criminal or civil liabilities for pregnancy loss or medical and surgical abortion.

AB 2963 Requires workplaces to continue providing employees with COVID-19 exposure notifications until 2024.

AB 2098 Makes it easier for the California Medical Board to punish doctors who spread COVID-19 misinformation.

SB 1375 Allows nurse practitioners to perform first-trimester abortions without a doctor’s supervision.

 

Housing

SB 8 Extends the provisions of the Housing Crisis Act of 2019 through 2030 to accelerate the approval process for housing projects and curtail local governments’ ability to downzone, among other provisions.

SB 9 Facilitates the process for homeowners to build a duplex or split their current residential lot.

 

Road safety and law enforcement 

AB 1314 Known as Feather Alert, this allows law enforcement agencies to request CHP to initiate an alert when an Indigenous person has been kidnapped, abducted, or reported missing under unexplained or suspicious circumstances, and specific criteria has been met to permit alert activation. Additionally, the Feather Alert program encourages the use of radio, television and social media to spread the information about the missing Indigenous person.

AB 1732 Authorizes law enforcement agencies to request the CHP to activate a “Yellow Alert” when a fatal hit-and-run crash has occurred, and specific criteria has been met to permit alert activation. The law also encourages local media outlets to disseminate the information contained in a Yellow Alert. 

AB 2147 Prohibits peace officers from stopping pedestrians for certain pedestrian-specific violations, such as crossing the road outside of a crosswalk, unless there is an immediate danger of a crash. 

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.

SB 1472 Expands the criteria for gross negligence as it relates to the crime of vehicular manslaughter. Drivers involved in sideshow activity, exhibition of speed, or speeding over 100 mph which results in a fatality could now be charged with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

 

Other

AB 37 Makes permanent the measure that requires a vote-by-mail ballot to every active registered voter.

AB 2799 Restricts the use of creative content like song lyrics and music videos against artists in court. 

 

More information including the full text of laws is available here.

 

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Carmel de Bertaut

Carmel has a BA in Natural Sciences/Biodiversity Stewardship from San Jose State University and an AA in Communications Studies from West Valley Community College. She reports on science and the environment, arts and human interest pieces. Carmel has worked in the ecological and communication fields and is an avid creative writer and hiker. She has been reporting for BenitoLink since May, 2018 and covers Science and the Environment and Arts and Culture.