Laws impacting nursing mothers, rent control, hairstyle discrimination take effect
SAN FRANCISCO -- While internet companies have prospered with little oversight in the past decade, 2020 ushers in a new era California with more protections for internet users and the rising number of gig workers. Here is a list of the new state laws that will take effect on January 1, 2020.
SB 3: Minimum wage
Another pay hike is on the way for minimum wage workers. The minimum wage in California goes up by one dollar to $12 an hour for workers at companies with 25 or fewer employees and to $13 an hour for workers at larger companies.
AB 5: Independent workers
While aimed directly at gig workers, this new law may also apply to many more contract or independent worker in California. Under AB-5, workers would be considered employees and not independent contractors if the employer controls the work, directs them in the course of their work or if the worker's job is part of a company's core business. Uber and several other businesses are suing to stop Assembly Bill 5.
SB 188: Hairstyles
California becomes the first state to ban workplace and school discrimination based on a person's natural hairstyle or hair texture, with the Crown Law. Protected hairstyles include braids, twists and locks.
SB 142: Lactation accommodations
While California has had a law requiring employers to provide breaks for nursing mothers, many were forced to express breast milk in a bathroom stall or office closet. This new law requires companies to provide appropriate lactation accommodations that is close to the employee's work area, has electrical plugs and is free of intrusion.
AB 51: Arbitration agreements
Starting January 1, workers can't be forced into mandatory arbitration by an employer. The law bans mandatory arbitration agreements with employees. The law does not apply to arbitration agreements entered into prior to January 1, 2020.
SB 1343: Sexual harassment
Requires businesses with at least five employees to provide sexual harassment training to its employees within six months of being hired, and every two years after that.
SB 83: Paid family leave
New parents will have more time to care for their child. Benefits under Paid Family Leave will increase from six weeks to eight weeks starting on July 1, 2020.
AB 1482: Rent control
Communities without their own rent control laws will now be covered by statewide rent control protections. The law limits rent increases to 5 percent each year plus inflation, but never above 10 percent total. The law does not apply to housing built in the 15 years prior. The limit is a rolling number so the date housing is excluded changes every year.
AB 652: Religious displays
You have more protections to display religious items like menorahs or crosses outside your home. The law prohibits landlords and homeowner associations from banning the display of religious items on entry doors or door frames. The items cannot be larger than 26 by 12 inches.
SB 222: Housing discrimination
This law expands existing law to protect veterans and military personnel against housing discrimination.
AB 375: Online privacy
Want to know what information companies like Facebook or Google are collecting about you. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) gives internet users more control over their data. Among other things, the law gives users the right to know what data is collected, the right to reject the sale of your information and the right to delete your data.
SB 30: Domestic partners
What's good for same-sex couples is good for heterosexual couples. This law allows heterosexual couples to register as domestic partners instead of getting married. Currently, only heterosexual couples age 62 or older were allowed to register as domestic partners because of social security benefits. The new law could help couples with combined higher incomes avoid the federal marriage tax penalty.
SB 419: School suspensions
Students in elementary school can't be so easily suspended for causing trouble at school. The law bans schools from suspending students in grades 4-8 for disrupting school activities or defying teachers and administrators. Students in grades K-3 already have this protection. High school students must wait until 2025 for the same benefit.
SB 104: Healthcare for undocumented immigrants
California becomes the first state in the nation to offer government-subsidized health benefits to young adults living in the country illegally. The law expands the Medicaid program to include low-income adults age 25 or younger regardless of their immigration status.
AB 2119: Transgender youth
Transgender youth in the foster care system will get appropriate health care. The law is the first in the country to include access to gender-affirming medical services, mental health counseling, hormone therapy and surgery.
SB 273: Statute of limitations
Extends statute of limitations for domestic violence felonies from three to five years.
SB 439: Juvenile hall
This law changes the age that a minor can be sent to juvenile hall. Minors under 12 who commit non-violent crimes would be released to his or her parent or legal guardian instead of being sent to juvenile hall. The law does not apply to minors who commit murder, rape, or great bodily harm.
SB 970: Human trafficking
Operators of motels and hotels in California must provide training to teach its staff how to identify victims of human trafficking.
SB 1249: Animal testing
Prohibits the sale of cosmetic products with ingredients that were tested on animals after January 1, 2020. The law does not affect products sold globally where animal testing is required by law.
AB 1762: Dog areas
The California Department of Parks and Recreation has until July 1, 2020 to establish a comprehensive list of state parks that allow dogs, including the specific areas that allow dogs and the total miles of trails that are open to dogs.
SB 167: Public safety power shutoffs
Requires utilities like PG&E to devise plans on reducing the negative impact of planned power shutoffs to first responders and people with disabilities.
AB 247: Tree trimming
Gives the California Public Utilities Commission more oversight over tree trimming efforts by utilities. Power companies would have to submit timely reports on their brush and tree trimming work.
SB 209: Wildfire warning center
Establishes a wildfire warning center to broaden the state's ability to predict and prepare for wildfire. The center would rely on a statewide network of automated weather stations and fire detection cameras.
AB 1707: Smartphones in polling places
Voters may use handheld electronic devices to help them cast their ballots at polling places, as long as they don't violate other election laws.