A glance at some of Cal­i­for­nia’s new laws for 2020,

Antelope Valley Press - - Front Page -

SACRA­MENTO (AP) — Hun­dreds of new Cal­i­for­nia laws take ef­fect with the start of the new year, in­clud­ing mea­sures stem­ming from the dev­as­tat­ing wild­fires that have swept the state. Oth­ers ad­dress an­i­mal rights, crim­i­nal jus­tice, busi­nesses and health care. Among them:


•In a step to curb green­house gas emis­sions, Cal­i­for­nia be­comes the first state to re­quire new homes to in­stall so­lar pan­els, which the Cal­i­for­nia En­ergy Com­mis­sion says could add about $9,500 to the cost of a new home. But an­other new law ex­empts home­own­ers forced to re­build be­cause of a wild­fire or other nat­u­ral dis­as­ter.

•The state is tem­po­rar­ily sus­pend­ing its lengthy en­vi­ron­men­tal re­view process for ar­eas af­fected by the 2018 Camp Fire wild­fire in a bid to speed up re­con­struc­tion of hous­ing after the state’s most de­struc­tive wild­fire dis­placed more than 50,000 peo­ple. But the law does not in­clude the city of Chico be­cause the mayor and most of the city coun­cil op­posed it.

•State en­ti­ties can waive or re­duce gov­ern­men­tal li­cens­ing fees for busi­nesses ex­pe­ri­enc­ing hard­ship and dis­place­ment after wild­fires and other emer­gen­cies.

•Care­givers can face en­hanced civil penal­ties if they aban­don the el­derly in dis­as­ters such as wild­fires. The law re­sponds to the aban­don­ment of se­niors at two Santa Rosa as­sisted liv­ing cen­ters dur­ing wild­fires in 2017.

An­i­mal wel­fare

• Cal­i­for­nia be­comes the first state to ban com­mer­cial or recre­ational fur trap­ping. It re­mains le­gal to trap an­i­mals for other pur­poses, in­clud­ing pest con­trol and pub­lic health.

•It is also the first state to bar cos­metic com­pa­nies from sell­ing prod­ucts in Cal­i­for­nia if they were tested on an­i­mals.

• Cal­i­for­nia be­comes the third state, be­hind Hawaii and New Jersey, to ban most an­i­mals from cir­cuses, in­clud­ing bears, tigers, ele­phants and mon­keys. The law ex­empts rodeos and does not ap­ply to do­mes­ti­cated dogs, cats and horses.

•It’s il­le­gal to hunt, trap or kill bob­cats in Cal­i­for­nia un­til 2025, when the state can be­gin is­su­ing lim­ited li­censes as part of a bob­cat man­age­ment plan.

•Cal­i­for­nia’s ban on im­port­ing and sell­ing al­li­ga­tor or croc­o­dile prod­ucts takes ef­fect, though the state of Louisiana is su­ing to block the pro­hi­bi­tion.

•Cal­i­for­nia be­comes the lat­est state to al­low for the even­tual use of road-killed deer, elk, pronghorn an­te­lope and wild pigs. But wildlife war­dens warn it’s still il­le­gal to col­lect road­kill be­cause a state per­mit­ting and track­ing pro­gram is not yet in place.

•It’s il­le­gal to smoke or dis­pose of cigar and cig­a­rette waste in Cal­i­for­nia state parks and beaches. The law cov­ers tra­di­tional cig­a­rettes and elec­tric smok­ing de­vices, but smok­ing will still be al­lowed in park­ing lots.

Crim­i­nal jus­tice

•Cal­i­for­nia is the first state to bar health and den­tal co-pays for all in­mates. Cal­i­for­nia has one of nine state prison sys­tems that al­ready banned the charges, but the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union says Cal­i­for­nia is the first to also abol­ish the prac­tice in county jails.

• Po­lice are barred for three years from us­ing fa­cial recog­ni­tion soft­ware in body-worn cam­eras in a move that fol­lows New Hampshire and Ore­gon.

•Vic­tims of vi­o­lent crime have seven years, up from three, to seek com­pen­sa­tion.

• Law en­force­ment agen­cies must sub­mit rape kits for test­ing within 20 days.

•The statute of lim­i­ta­tions for do­mes­tic vi­o­lence felony crimes in­creases from three years to five.

• Most of those with felony con­vic­tions can serve on ju­ries.

• The state re­moves two manda­tory sen­tences: a manda­tory min­i­mum for cer­tain drug crimes, and an au­to­matic one-year en­hance­ment for each prior felony jail or prison term. Of­fi­cials es­ti­mate the lat­ter change could af­fect about 10,000 cur­rent in­mates.

• In­mates con­victed of a sex­u­ally vi­o­lent of­fense must un­dergo a risk as­sess­ment be­fore their pa­role hear­ing.

• Most children un­der age 12 must be re­leased to their par­ents in­stead of pros­e­cuted if they come to the at­ten­tion of law en­force­ment.

• Those un­der 21 can no longer buy cen­ter-fire, semi­au­to­matic firearms, the type of ri­fle used in shoot­ings this year at a Poway syn­a­gogue and a Gil­roy food fes­ti­val. Sales of those ri­fles will be lim­ited to one a month for adults start­ing July 1.


•New Year’s Day is the dead­line for pub­licly held Cal­i­for­nia cor­po­ra­tions to add at least one woman to their Boards of di­rec­tors, though the man­date is be­ing chal­lenged in court.

• Em­ploy­ers are pro­hib­ited from us­ing “no re-hire” clauses for work­ers set­tling a sex­ual ha­rass­ment, dis­crim­i­na­tion or other em­ploy­ment dis­pute. Sup­port­ers say the clauses pun­ish vic­tims, while per­pe­tra­tors may re­main em­ployed.

• Cal­i­for­nia’s min­i­mum wage in­creases to $13 an hour for em­ploy­ers with more than 26 em­ploy­ees, and to $12 for em­ploy­ers with 26 or fewer work­ers. An­nual dol­lar-a-year in­creases con­tinue un­til all em­ploy­ers reach $15 an hour in 2023.

• Em­ploy­ers are barred from forc­ing work­ers to en­ter into ar­bi­tra­tion agree­ments as a con­di­tion of em­ploy­ment. Pro­po­nents say waiv­ing rights in­clud­ing the abil­ity to sue can leave em­ploy­ees more vul­ner­a­ble to ha­rass­ment and dis­crim­i­na­tion.

•Cal­i­for­nia is cap­ping in­ter­est rates for con­sumer loans be­tween $2,500 and $9,999 at 36 per­cent­age points above the main in­ter­est rate set by the Fed­eral Re­serve. Con­sumer ad­vo­cacy groups say some loan com­pa­nies charge in­ter­est rates as high as 225%.

• Lo­cal gov­ern­ments can form their own banks to han­dle tax­payer money, which sup­port­ers say could be used for things like af­ford­able hous­ing and in­fra­struc­ture. The Cal­i­for­nia Bankers As­so­ci­a­tion fears they could be un­fair com­pe­ti­tion for com­mu­nity banks.

•Col­leges must dis­close whether they pro­vide pref­er­en­tial treat­ment to stu­dents re­lated to donors or alumni un­der a law aim­ing to pro­vide more eq­uity in col­lege ad­mis­sions fol­low­ing a na­tion­wide ad­mis­sions scan­dal.


• Cal­i­for­nia be­gins tax­ing peo­ple who refuse to buy health in­surance. A fam­ily of four would pay at least $2,000. The pro­jected $300 mil­lion to $400 mil­lion in tax pro­ceeds will go to giving mid­dle-in­come peo­ple dis­counts on their monthly health in­surance pre­mi­ums.

•Cal­i­for­nia will pro­vide health in­surance for low-in­come im­mi­grants ages 25 and younger liv­ing in the U.S. il­le­gally. It’s ex­pected to cost $98 mil­lion and cover about 100,000 peo­ple. Cal­i­for­nia al­ready pro­vides health in­surance for children liv­ing in the U.S. il­le­gally.

•Adults en­rolled in the Med­i­caid pro­gram will have in­surance cov­er­age for eye­glasses, restor­ing a ben­e­fit cut dur­ing the Great Re­ces­sion.

As­so­ci­ated Press files

Gov. Gavin New­som has signed a mea­sure, to take ef­fect in 2020, mak­ing it harder for in­dus­tries to treat work­ers like con­trac­tors in­stead of em­ploy­ees who are en­ti­tled to min­i­mum wage and other ben­e­fits.

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