SAN FRANCISCO -- The new year is bringing a host of new rights and privileges to California residents that impact how they live, work and entertain themselves. Here's a list of new laws taking effect on Jan. 1, 2024 and beyond.
California's minimum wage will increase to $16 an hour on January 1, 2024. The increase is triggered by a 2016 law that tied minimum wage increases to inflation.
AB 1228: Increases the minimum wage for fast food workers to $20 an hour starting in April. It also establishes a fast-food council that will operate for five years and determine future wage increases and working conditions.
SB 525: Raises the minimum wage of health care workers to $23 an hour by June of 2024. The law applies to nursing assistants, medical technicians and janitorial workers. The minimum wage would increase by $1 each of the next two years until the base wage reaches $25 an hour.
SB 616: Increases sick time benefits for all full and part-time California workers from three days to a minimum of five paid sick days a year. Both hourly and salaried employees qualify.
SB 848: Requires employers to provide five days of leave to an employee who suffers a reproductive loss such as a failed adoption, miscarriage, stillbirth, unsuccessful embryo transfer or artificial insemination.
AB 783: Requires businesses to put signage on single-user restrooms that indicates the toilet facility is available to all genders.
AB 1136: Sets up a retirement fund for mixed-martial arts fighters in California. Any MMA fighters who have fought in at least 39 rounds in the state will be eligible for retirement benefits starting at the age of 50.
AB 1740: Requires child care facilities and other businesses providing pediatric care to post information about human trafficking and slavery. The information must include resources available to people forced into work.
AB 2188: Makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate or penalize an employee based on the person's use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace. A similar law, SB 700, makes it illegal for an employer to ask a job applicant if they've used cannabis.
SB 497: Prohibits employers from retaliating against workers who complain about their wages, discuss wages with colleagues or inquire about another worker's wages.
SB 699: Expands the prohibition of non-compete contracts in California by making them unenforceable by the employer. This applies even for agreements signed in another state. A similar law, AB 1076, requires employers to notify employees hired after January 1, 2022 that their non-compete clauses are void.
AB 12: No more saving up two month's rent for a security deposit when moving into an apartment. This new law limits the amount landlords can charge for a security deposit to just one month.
AB 1418: Prohibits cities and counties from adopting nuisance ordinances that require or encourage penalties or even an eviction if a tenant or a family member had an interaction with law enforcement or a criminal conviction.
SB 4: Removes regulatory barriers to allow churches, religious organizations and non-profit colleges to build affordable housing on their land.
SB 407: Directs the California Department of Social Services to modify its foster parents' vetting process to ensure that LGBTQ+ youth are placed in supportive and gender-affirming homes.
SB 567: Modifies the state's "no fault just cause" eviction to make it harder for a landlord to dislodge a tenant. Starting April 1, the law will require that if a tenant is evicted for an owner move-in, the property owners or their family members must move into a property within 90 days and live there for at least 12 months.
SB 712: Allows tenants to store electric scooters and bicycles in their apartment, as long as the battery meets certain safety standards. If a battery does not meet safety standards, then the tenant may have to purchase liability insurance or may be prohibited from charging the mobility device indoors.
AB 413: Aims to make crosswalks safer by prohibiting stopping or parking a vehicle within 20 feet of a vehicle's approach to a marked or unmarked crosswalk, or 15 feet from a curb extension. Drivers will only get warnings for now, but citations can be issued starting in 2025.
AB 436: Prohibits cities and counties from adopting laws that ban cruising on city streets or the driving of vehicles that have been modified to be a certain height.
AB 645: Allows six cities - Glendale, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose - to install speed cameras. The law requires cities to put up signage warning drivers they could get a ticket if they don't slow down before approaching the speed camera.
AB 1909: This law has been in effect for a year, but starting on January 1, 2024, a provision takes effect that allows bicyclists to cross a street when a pedestrian signal is activated instead of waiting for a green light.
AB 416: Allows the sale of Japanese shochu in bars and restaurants that are allowed to sell beer and wine. The spirit must not exceed 24% of alcohol by volume.
AB 899: Requires baby food manufacturers to test its products once a month for arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury. Test results will have to be posted on the manufacturer's website beginning in 2025.
AB 1200: This law is part of the California Safer Food Packaging Cookware Act approved in 2021. Beginning in 2024, it requires cookware manufacturers to disclose if their non-stick products contain certain hazardous chemicals, such as PTFEs, FEPs and PFAs. It also prohibits misleading advertising on cookware packaging.
SB 244: Makes it easier, and likely cheaper, to repair televisions, cellphones and other electronics and home appliances. The law requires manufacturers to provide consumers and repair shops with the parts, tools and documentation needed to service or repair the device. The Right to Repair Act takes effect in July.
SB 644: Cancelling a hotel or Airbnb reservation will be a lot easier if the place you are staying at is in California. The new law allows consumers to cancel, without penalty, a hotel or short-term rental reservation within 24 hours after the reservation is confirmed. The reservation must be made at least 72 hours before check-in.
SB 478: Prohibits those hidden fees that don't show up until you are about to finalize a purchase online. Starting July 1, 2024, the law requires websites and apps to display the true cost of an item or service, such as lodging, tickets for live events and food delivery fees.
Proposition 24: Originally approved in 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act will finally take effect in March of 2024. It establishes standards for the collection, retention and use of personal data and allows consumers to prevent businesses from selling or sharing consumer's sensitive data.
AB 587: Approved in 2022, the law requires social media companies to disclose their policies on how they handle hate speech and misinformation. Beginning in January 2024, social media companies must provide regular reports to the state on how they responded to violations of the terms of service and any enforcement action that was taken. In September, Elon Musk's X Corp sued the state claiming the law violates the U.S. Constitution.
SB 60: Allows the public to seek a court order against a social media company requiring them to remove content that offers to sell, provide or give away a controlled substance in violation of state law.
SB 362: The California Delete Act will give consumers more control over their personal data. Beginning in January, the law requires that data brokers register with the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA). By 2026, the CPPA will establish a mechanism that consumers can use to direct all data brokers to delete their personal information.
SB 76: Allows cities to create temporary Entertainment Zones that allow existing restaurants and bars to sell alcohol if they are located within the boundaries of a city-permitted street festival.
AB 618: Increases the financial penalties on people who don't show up to a reserved campground at a state park or beach. Cancellations made within two to six days of the reservation will cost one day's lodging. Those who cancel within 24 hours or don't show up for their stay will forfeit the entire cost of the reservation.
AB 607: Requires California Community Colleges and California State Universities to display the estimated cost of course materials and fees for their classes. Compliance by the University of California campuses is voluntary. The law takes effect in time for the 2024-2025 school year.
AB 1138: Requires that California colleges and universities provide free and anonymous transportation to and from sexual assault treatment centers that offer sexual assault forensic exams. Services may include medical care, emergency contraception and the collection of DNA evidence that may be used to prosecute rape cases.
AB 2282: Increases the penalties for people who use hate symbols such as swastikas, nooses or desecrated crosses. It also bans these symbols in schools, cemeteries, places of worship, workplaces, private property, public spaces and facilities.
SB 808: Requires the California State University system to submit a report on the investigations and outcomes of sexual harassment complaints. The report must include how many complaints resulted in investigations and how long it took for the investigation to conclude. The reports are due by December 1 of each year.
AB 1539: Makes it a misdemeanor to vote in an election in California and in an election in another state if they are held on the same date.
AB 421: Aims to clarify the language used in ballot measures that propose to change existing law. These ballot measures would be required to use precise language like "keep the law" or "overturn the law" to clearly explain the intention. The law also requires that a ballot measure's top funders be listed.
AB 1412: Adds borderline personality disorder to the list of mental health conditions eligible for pretrial diversion. People with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or post-traumatic stress disorder have already been able to avoid jail and instead receive mental health treatment if they were charged with a non-violent offense.
SB 43: Expands the definition of who can be put on an involuntary mental health hold. Currently, people who are mentally incompetent or unable to provide their own food, clothing or shelter can be forced into treatment. The new law now includes people who suffer from drug or alcohol addiction, or unable to provide for their personal safety.
SB 345: Provides legal protections to doctors and health care practitioners who are based in California and mail abortion pills or gender-affirming treatment to patients in other states. The law forbids authorities from cooperating with out-of-state investigations and bans bounty hunters from apprehending doctors or pharmacists in California to stand trial in another state.
SB 385: Allows physician's assistants in California to perform surgical abortions without the direct supervision of a physician.
AB 360: Prohibits coroners, medical examiners and physicians from listing "excited delirium" as a cause of death. Criminal justice reform activists say the term has been used by law enforcement to justify the death of a person while in police custody. Law enforcement officers are also banned from using the term to describe someone's behavior.
AB 452: Eliminates the time limits childhood victims of sexual abuse have to recover civil damages for assaults that occur on or after January 1, 2024. Sexual abuse cases that occurred before this date are still subject to time limits that prohibit filing a claim after the victim's 40th birthday or within five years of becoming aware of the assault.
SB 14: Increases prison sentencing for those convicted of trafficking a minor for the purpose of prostitution. It also imposes harsher penalties and sentencing enhancements for those convicted of sex trafficking.
SB 673: Creates the Ebony Alert, an emergency alert system to help find missing Black women and youth between the ages of 12 and 25 years.
AB 28: Imposes an 11% tax on the sale of firearms and ammunition. The money generated would fund gun violence prevention and school safety programs. The law takes effect July 1, 2024.
SB 2: Strengthens California's concealed carry weapons law by limiting the possession of firearms in certain public places. It also requires stronger firearms safety training and sets a minimum age of 21 to obtain a concealed carry permit.
SB 831: Authorizes the governor to enter into negotiations with the U.S. Attorney General's Office to develop a program that would grant immigration parole to undocumented agricultural workers. The program would grant undocumented workers work visas and protect them from deportation. It does not provide a pathway to legal residence.
AB 261: California may have a state bird (quail) and a state flower (poppy), now it will also have an official state mushroom. The California Golden Chanterelle is a fungus native to California that grows near live oak trees.