January 1, 2020 was the start date of many new laws in the state of California. while hundreds went into effect, here are a few that may affect you.


There were a lot of new laws in this area, but none so under scrutiny as AB 5 - the Gig Worker Law. It requires independent contractors to be considered employees, aiming to provide minimum wage, paid sick days and health insurance, if the employer controls their work, directs them and is part of their core business. A number of industries are exempt, and others are still looking to be exempt.

The minimum wage will increase with SB 3 to $13/hour with a workplace of 26 or more employees, $12/hour for smaller businesses.

With AB 9, the time limit extends to 3 years for workplace harassment, discrimination or retaliation complaints to be filed with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

Sexual harassment training is now mandatory for all employees with SB 1343 for those working for a business with five or more employees within six months of hire.

Paid family leave is extended with the SB 83 from six to eight weeks to care for an ill family member or to bond with a new child.

Lactating mothers can now expect a private room and break time for expressing milk with the enforcement of SB 142.

Known as the Crown Act, SB 188, protects against discrimination in the workplace or school in regards to hairstyles, such as afros, braids, twists and locks.

Environment and


The law SB 8 bans smoking at state beaches and parks, however, smoking is allowed on paved surfaces. It also illegal to toss a cigarette or cigar onto a state beach.

The California Public Utilities Commission has more oversight over tree trimming efforts by utilities with law AB 247.

The Circus Cruelty Prevention Act, SB 313, law now enforces the use of only domesticated animals in circus acts.

No sale or import of cosmetics that are made of ingredients that were tested on animals will be allowed in the state of California with the new law SB 1249. However, this does not affect products globally sold where it is required to have had animal testing.

All animal shelters, public and private, must disclose a dog’s biting history, breaking a human’s skin at four months or older, to a potential new owner in the AB 588 law.

Under SB 245, adoption fees for military veterans will be waived.

Criminal Justice

The new law, SB 439, changes the age minors can be sent to juvenile hall or prosecuted to the age of 12. This does not apply to minors who commit murder, rape or great bodily harm.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2020, in preparation for AB 32, the state cannot renew contracts with private prisons.

The statute of limitations has expanded to age 40 for childhood sexual abuse victims to file civil lawsuits with AB 218.

The law AB 602 now requires consent from a person before their likeness can be digitally reproduced in porn. Victims can sue for damages.

The statute of limitations for domestic violence felonies has been extended from three to five years with SB 273.

Operators of motels and hotels are now required with the passing of SB 970 to provide training to its staff on how to identify victims of human trafficking.

Felons who have completed all their sentences, parole, probation and supervision will not longer be disqualified from serving as jurors with SB 310 coming into effect.

With gun control, SB 61 prohibits anyone from buying more than one handgun, or semiautomatic rifle, a month. No one under 21 can purchase a gun. AB 1968 states that no one can own a gun for life if they’ve been committed to a health facility more than once within a year. AB 164 prohibits anyone in California from purchasing a gun, if they have been denied the right to purchase one in another state. If a child or prohibited person takes a gun outside the home, the registered owner will be banned from owning a gun for 10 years and be charged with a crime with the bill SB 172. Firearm sales, under AB 1669, will increase $31.19, the money to be used for firearms regulatory and enforcement activities.

The California Act to Save Lives redefines the use of force by police with AB 392. Use of lethal force is only to be used to prevent imminent and serious bodily injury or death. Loss of job or facing criminal charges could be in store for those officers who use unnecessary force. Officers must use warnings, verbal persuasion and other methods of defusing situations when applicable.


The law SB 419 states that all schools, including charters, cannot suspend a student, grades 4-8, for willful defiance. However, they can still be suspended for violence. K-3 grades already have that protection.

The DREAM loan program has been expanded with SB 354 for those undocumented youth who were brought to the U.S. as children, enrolled in programs for a professional or graduate degree at a public university can apply for state-funded grants.


A rent cap of 5% each year plus inflation has been put into effect for the next decade with AB 1482, along with no evictions without just cause. The law does not apply to housing built in the last 15 years.

SB 652 allows religious displays on entry doors or door frames, no larger than 26 X 12 inches, and property owners and homeowner associations cannot ban them.

The popular granny-flats, or accessory dwelling units, have become cheaper and faster builds on properties due to AB 63.

New housing protections have been put into effect with SB 222 for veterans and military personnel, and landlords cannot deny low income Californians on Section 8 housing vouchers with the onset of SB 329.


A few notes on healthcare. Those that go without health insurance in 2020 will have to pay a penalty on their 2021 tax returns. Medi-Cal coverage for adults has added benefits such as audiology, incontinence creams and washes, eyeglasses, podiatry, speech therapy.

Medi-Cal has expanded to include health care to income-eligible undocumented adults from 19-25 with SB 104.

Mothers can now go a full 12 months, up from 60 days, for insurance network coverage with AB 577 for mental health care.

Transgender youth in the foster care system will be able to have gender affirming medical services with AB 2119.


The definition of beer expands with AB 205. Now beer includes fermented alcoholic beverage with fruit, honey, herbs and other approved ingredients.

Restaurant patrons can now bring, eat from and store leftovers with their own containers and silverware. AB 619 also lets food vendors and farmers’ markets to use reusable items.

Latex gloves and utensils are now prohibited in the food service industry due to SB 677.

Consumer Protection

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) offers internet users more control of their data with AB 375. Consumers can reject the sale of their data and ask it to be deleted and sue for data breach if a company fails to protect the collected data.

With AB 539, loans of $2,500-$10,000 now have a cap of 36% above U.S. Federal REserve’s main interest, hoping to curb predatory lending.


Smart phones can help voters cast their votes in polling place, with AB 1707, as long as it doesn’t violate other laws.

Campaign finance disclosures now require digital ads to clearly display who funded the ad, with AB 2188, and requires top contributors to be listed on all petitions for initiatives, referenda and recalls with SB 47.

Domestic Partners

Heterosexual couples now have an alternative to marriage with SB 30. Prior to its passing, only those 62 and older could claim domestic partnership but now California, not federal law, treats domestic partners and married people the same.

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