Government / Politics

New state laws taking effect in 2022

Legislation focuses on housing, health, safety and cultural recognition.

With a new year comes new laws, including some to combat plastic pollution, several to deal with California’s housing crisis and others looking at Indigenous and immigrant rights.

Here is a list of some of the laws taking effect in 2022.


Three separate laws are aimed at streamlining housing production by increasing density to create more inclusive neighborhoods across the state. They address the interrelated problems of climate change and housing affordability by promoting housing closer to major employment hubs as a way to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

  • SB 8 extends the Housing Crisis Act of 2019 to jumpstart more housing production. 
  • SB 9 gives homeowners additional tools to add critically needed new housing and help ease California’s housing shortage. 
  • SB 10 establishes a voluntary, streamlined process for cities to zone for multi-unit housing, making it easier and faster to construct housing.


One new law taking effect will highlight the state’s move toward the recognition of Indigenous people.

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

Law enforcement

The state moved to strengthen hate crime legislation and peace officer training. It is also expanding public access to police misconduct records. 

  • AB 600 ensures that crimes targeting people due to their immigration status are considered a hate crime.
  • SB 2 creates a system within the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) to investigate and suspend or revoke peace officer certification for serious misconduct.
  • SB 16 expands public access to police misconduct records related to unreasonable or excessive use of force, discriminatory or prejudiced behavior and other misconduct.

Voting rights

In the era of COVID-19, many states and lower jurisdictions changed voting methods by opening non in-person voting to many more citizens. California has moved to allow vote-by-mail throughout the state.

  • AB 37 makes permanent the measure implemented in 2020 to send a vote-by-mail ballot to every active registered voter.

Workers’ rights

Workers’ rights are enhanced with a new law regarding production quotas.  

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

Health, safety and environment 

During 2020 and into 2021 as COVID-19 closed down in-person dining, restaurants turned to to-go and delivery. Prior to the pandemic, alcoholic beverages were not permitted with such orders. During the pandemic that changed and the state is extending this allowance.

  • SB 389 allows restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries that sell food to continue offering to-go alcoholic beverages with food orders.

Several laws taking effect tackle plastic pollution and protect residents from harmful chemicals.

  • AB 1200 prohibits disposable food packaging from containing intentionally added Perfluoroalklyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), and requires cookware manufacturers to disclose the presence of hazardous chemicals such as PFASs on product labels and online. PFASs are referred to as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down in the environment and have been linked to serious health hazards. Studies show these chemicals are present in most humans. 
  • AB 1311 allows more flexible operations for beverage container recycling centers to reduce overhead and increase redemption access statewide.


Visit California Legislative Information for a complete list of new laws.


BenitoLink Staff