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California Governor Gavin Newsom signed nearly a thousand bills into law in 2022. Some will be phased in over time, others went into effect on January 1. Some provide minor fixes to earlier legislation, others impose sweeping changes. Here is a selection of the bills that became law on the first of the year.
Minimum wage: California’s minimum wage will increase by 50 cents to $15.50.
Pay Scale Transparency: Companies with 15 or more employees must reveal pay scales when posting a job listing. The law also requires all companies with 100 or more employees to include “the median and mean hourly rate for each combination of race, ethnicity, and sex within each job category” when issuing the pay data reports they are already required to submit to the state. The goal is to improve transparency and equalize pay.
The Feather Alert: Native American women and girls are murdered and go missing at a much higher rate than other demographic groups. The Feather Alert, modeled on the Amber Alert, will be operated by the California Highway Patrol and will send out systemwide alerts to help locate indigenous people who have gone missing under suspicious circumstances.
New Holidays: Official Califonia state holidays now include Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day on April 24; Juneteenth, on June 19; Lunar New Year—the second or third new moon following the winter solstice; and Native American Day on the fourth Friday of September.
Abortion protections. California now prohibits law enforcement and California corporations from cooperating with, or providing information to, out-of-state entities regarding a lawful abortion in California. It also prohibits law enforcement from knowingly arresting a person for aiding in a lawful abortion in California.
Oil Industry Accountability. Oil companies are now required to reveal how much money they make off Californians. The data will be provided on company websites.
Legalizing Jaywalking. It is now legal to cross the street at a non-designated area, unless “a reasonably careful person would realize there is an immediate danger of a collision.”
Passing space for cyclists: Instead of skimming by bicyclists with three feet of clearance, motorists must now move into another lane to pass a cyclist, “with due regard for safety and traffic conditions,” and “if practicable and not prohibited by law.”
Gender-based pricing: The so-called “pink tax” on products like razors or shampoo is now verboten in California. AB 1287 prohibits gender-based pricing, provided: there are no substantial differences in the materials used in production, the intended use is similar, the functional design and features are similar, and the brand is the same or both brands are owned by the same individual or entity.
Fur ban: AB 44, which was approved in 2019, is finally going into effect. It bans the manufacture and sale of new fur clothing and accessories.
Ban on BFAS in food packaging: AB 1200 bans the sale, distribution, and offering of any food packaging that contains toxic PFAS—perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl.
Converting Retail Space to Housing: The goal of AB 2011 is to increase affordable housing options by converting empty retail space into homes. It goes into effect on July 1.
Street vendors. SB 972 makes it easier for street vendors to obtain local health permits.
Gun Manufacturers: AB 1594 allows the victims of gun violence in California to sue firearm manufacturers. This controversial new law, modeled on Texas’ draconian abortion law that allows citizens to sue women for seeking an abortion, is already facing legal challenges.
Residential Oil drilling ban: SB 1137 prohibits new oil drilling near or in communities statewide. Opponents have already challenged the law in court and launched the referendum process to challenge the new law on the ballot in 2024, but the odds aren’t in their favor.
This is just a small selection of all the new laws taking effect this year. For more information, visit https://www.gov.ca.gov