New California laws on mental health, traffic and wages taking effect on Jan. 1

Here are some new California laws coming in the new year that might affect you.

ByPamela Parker KGO logo
Saturday, January 1, 2022
New California laws that will take effect on Jan. 1
New California laws 2022 taking effect on Jan. 1 include wildfire management, lower speed limits, cocktails and higher minimum wages.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Every year, new laws are approved in California in the hope of tackling the problems people face in the Golden State.

Those taking effect on Jan. 1, 2022 range from wildfire management, minimum wage, traffic safety rules and mental health.

Here are some new laws that might affect you.

Wildfires : SB332

Existing law prohibits, among other things, a person from setting fire or causing fire to be set to any forest, brush, or other flammable material that is on any land that is not the person's own. This had hampered efforts to clear overgrowth that fueled so many of the runaway wildfires in California over the last few years.

This bill reduces the liability of those who are doing prescribed control burns for the purpose of wildland fire hazard reduction in the hopes it will encourage more to get that dry fuel cleared up ahead of the next fire season.

Minimum Wage : SB3

This bill would require the minimum wage for all industries to rise to $15 on Jan. 1, 2022, for employers employing 26 or more employees and $14 for employers employing 25 or fewer employees.

Cocktails-to-go SB 389

Getting cocktails and wine to go with your dinner order was something that became a thing during the pandemic. This bill allows restaurants to continue doing so until Dec. 31, 2026. However, the delivery of cocktails ends Dec. 31, 2021.

Traffic Safety: AB43

This bill would authorize local authorities to reduce speed limits in consideration of the safety of vulnerable pedestrian groups such as cyclists and pedestrians.

Mental Health: SB221

This new bill codifies regulations adopted by the Department of Managed Health Care and the Department of Insurance to provide timely access standards for health care service plans and insurers for non-emergency health care services.

The bill would additionally require, commencing July 1, 2022, a health care service plan and a health insurer, including a Medi-Cal Managed Care Plan, to ensure that an enrollee or insured that is undergoing a course of treatment for an ongoing mental health or substance use disorder condition is able to get a follow-up appointment with a non-physician mental health care or substance use disorder provider within 10 business days of their last appointment.