California Laws that go in effect 2021
Written by beachcityradio on December 28, 2020
2020, which was somehow both the longest and the quickest year of our lives, has finally drawn to a close. And with the new year comes a bevy of new laws.
Californians will barely notice most of the hundreds of new laws going into effect in 2021, as many affect small groups of people or tweak existing legislation. But we’ve pulled out the most noteworthy, interesting and wide-reaching laws that will take effect in 2021.
Expedient COVID-19 notices for employees
Assembly Bill 685 ensures the right of employees to quickly learn if COVID exposure has occurred in the workplace. Within one day, private and public employers who learn of possible coronavirus exposure must provide written notice to all employees and employers of subcontractors who shared a worksite with the potentially infected person.
All contacted employees must also be provided with information about work’s comp, paid sick leave and anti-retaliation policies.
Bans on certain police holds
After a number of high-profile deaths in police custody around the nation, California passed AB 1196, which prohibits police from using chokeholds and carotid holds.
Minimum wage goes up again
As part of California’s continued incremental raising of the minimum wage, it will go up to $14 per hour on Jan. 1 for employers with 26 or more employees. Businesses with 25 or fewer employers must increase minimum wage to $13 per hour. Minimum wage may be higher where you live already based on local laws.
Firefighting opportunities for former inmates
California’s firefighting force is bolstered by thousands of inmate firefighters who, because of their convictions, are barred from or have difficulty finding work as firefighters after their incarceration. Public backlash grew over the past few years, and AB 2147 seeks to rectify this situation. Now, those who complete the California Conservation Camp program have the possibility of getting their felonies expunged upon release, meaning they will not have to indicate that they’ve been convicted of a felony on job applications.
Certain crimes, such as murder and rape, automatically disqualify someone from the program.
Further diversification of corporate boards
AB 979 already mandates that corporate boards of publicly held companies headquartered in California must have at least one female director. This additional requirement mandates boards must also appoint at least one director from an “underrepresented community.” That person can self-identify as Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Alaska Native, or gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
That requirement must be achieved by Dec. 31, 2021.https://ef280e46e895b05917dcb19fc09bc4dc.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Reparations task force
Although there’s no concrete action yet, AB 3121 tasks the state to create a commission that will study the possibility of paying reparations for slavery. The task force, which must meet by June, will be appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the speaker of the Assembly and the State Senate leader. Along with studying the issue, they will be asked to create proposals for possible implementation.
No liability for some child car rescues
If you’re in the terrifying situation of finding a child locked alone in a car, you may be exempt from criminal or civil liability if you attempt to rescue them — but there are a series of conditions according to AB 2717. The person must prove they called 911, determined the vehicle was locked and breaking in was the only option and had a “good faith belief” that the child inside was in imminent danger.
Certain cars won’t be sold in California anymore
A 2010 law signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger aimed at phasing out heavy metals in brake pads is going into further effect this year. The law stipulated by 2021 vehicle manufacturers cannot make brake pads with more than 5% copper material. As a result, Car and Driver reports Chevy will no longer be able to sell the 2021 Camaro SS, 1LE, and ZL1 models in California, as each use pads with more than that amount of copper.
More hand-washing at work
Thanks to AB 1867, food facility workers will be allowed to leave their work station every 30 minutes to wash their hands, or more often if needed.
Far greater coverage of CFRA
Starting in 2021, the California Family Rights Act will apply to most businesses in the state. The act provides for 12 weeks of job-protected leave for health issues, a family’s health condition or bonding with a new child, as long as the employee has worked with the company for at least a year.
Formerly, this law only covered businesses with at least 50 employees. Now it will include businesses with at least five.
More mandated child abuse reporters
Human resources employees who work at companies with at least five employees and also employ minors must now become mandated reporters for child abuse. As with teachers and other state-mandated reporters, the HR workers affected will need to complete training.
Voting rights restored to parolees
Through the passage of Proposition 17 in the most recent election, individuals on parole may now vote.
Records of juveniles sealed from public
This law fixes a gap in confidentiality protections for children who have had contact with law enforcement, safeguarding juvenile records from public inspection. AB 2425 ensures that youths who have interacted with the juvenile justice system, but are no longer under its jurisdiction, are protected from the negative consequences of a police record.
Phasing out juvenile prisons
This bill will lead to the closure of California’s troubled youth prison system. Youths who would have previously been sent to the state facilities will instead remain in local settings closer to their families and communities. Senate Bill 823 goes into effect in July 2021.
California Racial Justice Act
After a year of racially motivated violence that has shone a light on discriminatory practices in law enforcement, this progressive — and some say long overdue — act prohibits state prosecutors from using discriminating means to seek or to obtain a conviction or sentence. AB 2542 states that if a suspect can show racial bias in case, they may be entitled to new trial or sentence.