In 2023, California will see the implementation of a number of new laws and regulations that are intended to address a range of issues, from reproductive access and hate crimes in schools to the minimum wage and affordable housing. These laws have the potential to significantly impact individuals, businesses, and communities throughout the state. In this article, we will examine some of these new laws in more detail, including their goals and potential impacts. We will also consider the challenges and controversies that some of these laws have faced, and the ways in which they may be modified or amended in the future. Overall, these new laws reflect the diverse and complex needs of California’s citizens, and the efforts of policymakers and advocates to address these needs in a just and equitable manner.
I. Expanding Access to Abortions
One of the new laws set to take effect in 2023 in California is Senate Bill 1375, which expands access to abortions by allowing qualified nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives to perform first-trimester abortions without the supervision of a physician. This law builds on two existing laws: Assembly Bill 890, which passed in 2020 and allows nurse practitioners to practice independently, and Assembly Bill 154, which passed in 2013 and permitted nurse practitioners to conduct first-trimester abortions under a doctor’s supervision.
The goal of Senate Bill 1375 is to increase the number of trained healthcare professionals able to provide abortion services in high-need areas, particularly in communities of color and rural areas where access to such services may be limited. A 2017 study by the advocacy and policy organization the Guttmacher Institute found that more than 40% of counties in California do not have a clinic that provides abortions.
“California’s facing a potentially catastrophic shortage of providers, especially in communities of color and rural areas, a problem that is only expected to get worse in the next decade,” said Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins, the author of the bill. “As women from restrictive states come to California, closing our provider gap is more important than ever.”
In addition to increasing access to abortion services, the new law also aims to improve patient safety by allowing nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives, who have undergone specialized training in abortion care, to perform aspiration abortions, which involve the use of suction to remove the contents of the uterus.
The expansion of access to abortions in California comes at a time when the right to abortion is under attack at the federal level. In November, California voters approved Proposition 1, a ballot measure that codified abortion as a constitutional right in the state. This measure was seen as a response to the growing threat to abortion rights posed by the appointment of conservative judges to the Supreme Court and other federal courts.
While California has a long history of supporting reproductive rights, the state has also faced significant challenges in expanding access to abortion services. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2019 found that California had the highest rate of uninsured women seeking abortions in the country, with 37% of women obtaining abortions being uninsured.
The expansion of access to abortion services through the passage of Senate Bill 1375 is a positive step towards addressing these challenges and ensuring that all Californians have access to the reproductive healthcare they need. However, much work remains to be done to address the barriers that prevent many women from accessing abortion care, including cost, lack of insurance coverage, and lack of access to providers.
Despite the progress made in expanding access to abortion services in California, the fight to protect reproductive rights is far from over. As the political landscape continues to shift, it is important for advocates to remain vigilant and work to ensure that all individuals have the right to make their own reproductive choices without interference from the government or others.
II. Fast Food Pay Raises
One of the new laws set to take effect in 2023 in California is Assembly Bill 257, or the FAST Recovery Act, which aims to increase the minimum wage for fast food workers in the state. The law would create a first-of-its-kind fast food council, consisting of four worker representatives, four employers, one person from the governor’s office, and one from the Department of Industrial Relations, to set rules for chains with 100 or more restaurants nationally. The council would be responsible for setting the minimum wage for fast food workers, with an upper limit of $22 per hour.
The FAST Recovery Act was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on Labor Day in 2020, but its implementation could be delayed depending on the outcome of a petition drive and legal challenge by the California Restaurant Association. The association has argued that the law is illegal because it violates the National Labor Relations Act, which prohibits employers from interfering with the formation of unions.
The FAST Recovery Act is intended to address long-standing issues in the fast food industry, such as safety, harassment, violence, retaliation, and wage theft. These issues have disproportionately affected fast food workers, who are often low-wage earners and may lack the protections and benefits afforded to workers in other industries.
According to Tia Koonse, the legal and policy research manager at the UCLA Labor Center, “AB 257 would address working conditions that have been long-standing issues in the fast-food industry. So, safety, harassment, violence, retaliation, wage theft. That’s certainly not the experience of all fast-food workers, but a significant and sizable amount; more than other industries.”
In addition to improving working conditions, the FAST Recovery Act is also intended to increase the wages of fast food workers in California. Currently, the minimum wage in California is $14 per hour for businesses with 26 or more employees and $13 per hour for businesses with 25 or fewer employees. The FAST Recovery Act would increase the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15 per hour in 2022, with incremental increases to $16.50 per hour in 2023 and $18 per hour in 2024. The minimum wage would then increase annually based on the cost of living.
While the FAST Recovery Act has been met with opposition from some quarters, it has received support from labor advocates and fast food workers who argue that the current minimum wage is not sufficient to support a living wage. According to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a worker in California earning the minimum wage of $14 per hour would need to work approximately 122 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the fair market rent.
In addition to increasing the minimum wage, the FAST Recovery Act also includes provisions that would require fast food chains to provide workers with a minimum number of hours per week, as well as paid sick leave, rest breaks, and other benefits. These provisions are intended to help ensure that fast food workers are able to earn a living wage while also addressing the challenges that many low-wage workers face, such as unstable employment and lack of access to benefits.
While the FAST Recovery Act represents a significant step forward in addressing the challenges faced by fast food workers in California, much work remains to be done to ensure that all workers are able to earn a living wage and have access to fair working conditions. As the economy continues to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be important for advocates to continue to push for policies that ensure that all workers are able to support themselves and their families.
III. Hate Crimes at Schools
Another new law set to take effect in 2023 in California is Assembly Bill 2282, which aims to address hate crimes at schools. The law would require schools to adopt policies and procedures to prevent and respond to hate crimes, as well as to provide training to staff and students on how to recognize and report hate crimes.
Hate crimes are crimes that are motivated by bias or prejudice based on the victim’s race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other protected characteristic. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), hate crimes can include physical assaults, property damage, and other crimes that are intended to intimidate or harm an individual or group based on their perceived differences.
Hate crimes can have a significant impact on the safety and well-being of students, particularly those who are members of marginalized or minority groups. A report from the California Department of Education found that hate crimes at schools have been on the rise in the state, with reported incidents increasing by nearly 50% between 2015 and 2019.
Assembly Bill 2282 is intended to address this problem by requiring schools to adopt policies and procedures to prevent and respond to hate crimes. The law would also require schools to provide training to staff and students on how to recognize and report hate crimes, as well as to develop procedures for responding to incidents of hate crimes and providing support to victims.
In addition to addressing hate crimes at schools, Assembly Bill 2282 would also require schools to adopt policies and procedures to prevent and respond to bullying, harassment, and discrimination. These provisions are intended to create a safer and more inclusive environment for all students, regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or other protected characteristic.
While Assembly Bill 2282 represents a significant step forward in addressing hate crimes at schools in California, much work remains to be done to ensure that all students are able to learn and thrive in a safe and inclusive environment. It will be important for schools to implement the provisions of the law effectively, and for advocates to continue to push for policies that promote equity and inclusivity in education.
IV. Minimum Wage Increase
In accordance with Senate Bill 3, which was passed in 2016, the minimum wage in California is set to increase to $15.50 per hour in 2023 for businesses with 26 or more employees. The minimum wage for businesses with 25 or fewer employees will also increase, but at a slower rate, reaching $15 per hour in 2023.
The minimum wage increase is intended to help ensure that all workers in California are able to earn a living wage, and to provide a boost to the state’s economy. A higher minimum wage can lead to increased spending power for low-wage workers, which can in turn stimulate economic growth and create jobs.
While the minimum wage increase has received support from labor advocates and many workers, it has also been met with opposition from some business groups, who argue that it will lead to job losses and higher prices for consumers. Critics of the minimum wage increase have also argued that it will disproportionately impact small businesses, which may have limited resources to absorb the cost of the increase.
Despite these concerns, research on the impact of minimum wage increases has generally found that they have a positive effect on workers and the economy. A review of research on the subject by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that minimum wage increases have had little or no impact on employment levels, and that they have led to increased earnings for low-wage workers and reduced poverty rates.
While the minimum wage increase will likely have some impact on businesses and consumers, it is ultimately intended to help ensure that all workers in California are able to earn a living wage. By increasing the minimum wage, California is taking an important step towards addressing income inequality and promoting economic stability and growth.
V. Expanded Eligibility for Sealing Criminal Records
Senate Bill 731, which was passed in 2021, expands the eligibility for sealing criminal records in California. Under the new law, individuals who have been convicted of certain offenses, including drug possession, petty theft, and prostitution, will be able to petition the court to have their criminal records sealed.
Sealing a criminal record means that it is no longer available to the public, and can only be accessed by certain government agencies or employers with a valid reason for accessing it. This can make it easier for individuals with criminal records to find employment, housing, and other opportunities, as their criminal history will not be readily visible to potential employers or landlords.
The expanded eligibility for sealing criminal records is intended to help individuals who have been convicted of relatively minor offenses to move on with their lives and to reduce the barriers to employment and other opportunities that may be faced by those with criminal records. It is also intended to reduce recidivism, or the likelihood of individuals reoffending, by providing them with the support they need to rebuild their lives and become productive members of society.
While the expanded eligibility for sealing criminal records is a positive step towards helping individuals with criminal records to move on with their lives, it is important to note that not all criminal offenses are eligible for sealing. Offenses that involve violence, sexual assault, or other serious crimes may not be eligible for sealing, and individuals who have been convicted of such offenses may face significant challenges in finding employment and other opportunities.
Despite these limitations, the expanded eligibility for sealing criminal records is an important step towards helping individuals with criminal records to overcome the barriers they face and to reintegrate into society. By providing them with the support they need to move on with their lives, California is taking an important step towards reducing recidivism and promoting social and economic stability.
VI. Oil, Gas, and Community Spaces
Senate Bill 1137, which was passed in 2021, addresses the use of oil, gas, and community spaces in California. The new law imposes stricter regulations on the oil and gas industry, including requirements for greater transparency, improved safety measures, and greater protections for communities located near oil and gas operations.
One of the main provisions of Senate Bill 1137 is the requirement that oil and gas companies disclose the chemicals used in their operations to the state’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR). This disclosure requirement is intended to improve transparency and to allow for better monitoring of the potential impacts of oil and gas operations on public health and the environment.
In addition to the disclosure requirement, Senate Bill 1137 also imposes stricter safety standards on oil and gas companies. These standards include requirements for the use of corrosion-resistant pipes, the use of automatic shut-off valves, and the implementation of a “safety case” system that requires companies to demonstrate that their operations are safe and do not pose a risk to the public or the environment.
Senate Bill 1137 also includes provisions that aim to protect communities located near oil and gas operations. These provisions include requirements for companies to provide advance notice of their operations to local governments and to consult with local communities before proceeding with their projects. The law also allows local governments to impose additional regulations on oil and gas operations within their jurisdiction.
The new regulations contained in Senate Bill 1137 are intended to improve the safety and transparency of oil and gas operations in California, and to protect the health
VII. Restorative Justice in Schools
Assembly Bill 2598, which was passed in 2021, promotes the use of restorative justice in schools in California. Restorative justice is an approach to addressing harm and conflict that focuses on repairing the damage caused by an offense, rather than simply punishing the offender.
Under Assembly Bill 2598, schools in California are required to adopt policies and procedures that promote the use of restorative justice practices. These practices may include restorative circles, which bring together the offender, the victim, and other community members to discuss the harm caused by the offense and to come up with a plan to repair the damage; and restorative conferences, which bring together the offender, the victim, and other stakeholders to discuss the harm caused by the offense and to develop a plan to repair the damage and prevent future harm.
The goal of restorative justice is to create a sense of accountability and responsibility for the offender, while also providing support and healing for the victim. It is intended to be a more effective and compassionate approach to addressing harm and conflict than traditional methods of punishment, which may not address the underlying causes of an offense and may do little to repair the damage caused.
Assembly Bill 2598 is intended to promote the use of restorative justice in schools as an alternative to traditional forms of discipline, such as suspension and expulsion. These traditional methods of discipline have been shown to disproportionately impact students of color and students with disabilities, and to have negative long-term consequences for their academic and personal success. By promoting the use of restorative justice practices, Assembly Bill 2598 is intended to create a more equitable and supportive learning environment for all students in California.
VIII. Improving Road Protections for Cyclists
Assembly Bill 1909, which was passed in 2021, aims to improve road protections for cyclists in California. The new law requires the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to develop guidelines for the design and construction of “separated bikeways,” which are dedicated lanes or paths for bicycles that are physically separated from vehicle traffic.
The guidelines for separated bikeways must consider the safety of all users, including pedestrians, and must take into account the needs of people with disabilities. They must also be consistent with the “complete streets” policy of the California Transportation Commission, which requires the integration of all modes of transportation into the planning and design of streets and highways.
In addition to the development of guidelines for separated bikeways, Assembly Bill 1909 also requires Caltrans to conduct a study of the feasibility and benefits of creating a network of separated bikeways throughout the state. The study must consider the costs and benefits of such a network, as well as the potential impacts on vehicle traffic, air quality, and other factors.
The goal of Assembly Bill 1909 is to improve the safety and accessibility of cycling in California, and to encourage more people to use bikes as a mode of transportation. By providing dedicated and separated lanes for bikes, the law is intended to create a safer and more convenient environment for cycling, and to encourage more people to choose this mode of transportation.
Improving road protections for cyclists is an important step towards creating a more sustainable and livable transportation system in California. It is also an important step towards addressing the negative impacts of vehicle traffic on the environment and public health, and towards promoting physical activity and healthy living.
IX. Measuring the “Prison-to-Streets” Problem
Senate Bill 903, which was passed in 2021, aims to address the so-called “prison-to-streets” problem in California. This problem refers to the high rates of recidivism, or reoffending, among individuals who have been released from prison.
According to a report from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), the rate of recidivism in California is high, with nearly 60% of individuals who are released from prison returning to custody within three years. This high rate of recidivism is a significant contributor to overcrowding in California’s prisons, and to the state’s high incarceration rates.
Senate Bill 903 addresses the prison-to-streets problem by requiring the CDCR to collect and report data on the factors that contribute to recidivism among individuals who are released from prison. The law requires the CDCR to consider a wide range of factors, including the individual’s history of substance abuse, mental health issues, and employment status, as well as the availability of support services in the community.
The goal of Senate Bill 903 is to better understand the factors that contribute to recidivism, and to use this information to develop more effective strategies for reducing recidivism and improving public safety. By collecting and analyzing data on the prison-to-streets problem, the law is intended to help policymakers and practitioners identify the most effective interventions and support services for individuals who are transitioning from prison to the community.
Addressing the prison-to-streets problem is an important step towards improving public safety and reducing overcrowding in California’s prisons. It is also an important step towards promoting social and economic stability, and towards reducing the negative impacts of incarceration on individuals, families, and communities.
X. The Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act
Assembly Bill 2011, which was passed in 2021, is known as the Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act. The new law aims to address the shortage of affordable housing in California, and to promote the creation of high-quality jobs in the state.
One of the main provisions of Assembly Bill 2011 is the creation of a new fund to finance the development of affordable housing. The fund, known as the Affordable Housing and Community Development Investment Program, will be capitalized with proceeds from the state’s cap-and-trade program, as well as with other sources of funding. The fund will be used to provide low-interest loans and grants to developers of affordable housing, with a focus on serving low-income and disadvantaged communities.
In addition to the creation of the Affordable Housing and Community Development Investment Program, Assembly Bill 2011 also includes provisions to promote the creation of high-quality jobs in California. These provisions include the establishment of a new program to provide grants and technical assistance to employers that are committed to creating good jobs, as well as to providing training and career advancement opportunities for their employees.
The goal of Assembly Bill 2011 is to address the shortage of affordable housing in California, and to promote the creation of high-quality jobs in the state. By providing funding and support for the development of affordable housing and the creation of good jobs, the law is intended to improve the economic stability and well-being of individuals, families, and communities in California.
XI. Gender-Affirming Care
Senate Bill 107, which was passed in 2021, aims to make California a sanctuary state for transgender health care. The new law seeks to shield transgender people, including youth and their parents, from legal action from states that have bans or restrictions on transgender health care.
Under Senate Bill 107, health care providers in California are prohibited from refusing to provide gender-affirming care to transgender individuals, and from disclosing the gender identity or medical history of a transgender patient without their written consent. The law also prohibits discrimination against transgender individuals in health care settings, and requires health care providers to respect the pronouns and names preferred by transgender patients.
The goal of Senate Bill 107 is to ensure that transgender individuals in California have access to the care and support they need to live healthy and fulfilling lives. By providing protections against discrimination and legal action, the law is intended to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for transgender people in California, and to promote their well-being and dignity.
The need for gender-affirming care is particularly acute for transgender youth, who may face discrimination, stigma, and isolation as they navigate their gender identities. By providing protections for transgender youth and their families, Senate Bill 107 is intended to create a more supportive and accepting environment for these young people, and to help them to thrive.
Overall, Senate Bill 107 is an important step towards creating a more inclusive and supportive society for transgender individuals in California, and towards ensuring that they have access to the care and support they need.
XII. Pay Transparency
Senate Bill 1162, which was passed in 2021, aims to promote pay transparency in California. The new law requires employers to make salary ranges for available job positions available to applicants and employees. It also sets new pay data reporting requirements based on gender and race.
Under Senate Bill 1162, employers are required to provide salary ranges for available job positions to all applicants, regardless of their gender or race. This requirement is intended to provide transparency and to allow applicants to negotiate for fair and equitable pay. The law also requires employers to provide salary ranges for available job positions to current employees upon request.
In addition to the requirements for salary range transparency, Senate Bill 1162 also sets new pay data reporting requirements based on gender and race. Employers with 100 or more employees are required to report pay data to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) on an annual basis. This data must include information on the gender, race, and ethnicity of employees, as well as their job titles and pay rates.
The goal of Senate Bill 1162 is to promote pay transparency and to address pay disparities based on gender and race. By providing salary range information to applicants and employees, and by requiring pay data reporting based on gender and race, the law is intended to create a more transparent and equitable pay system in California.
Overall, Senate Bill 1162 is an important step towards promoting pay transparency and addressing pay disparities in California. It is also an important step towards creating a more fair and equitable society, and towards ensuring that all individuals have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
XIII. Rap Lyrics in Court
Assembly Bill 2799, which was passed in 2021, limits the use of creative expression, such as rap lyrics, as evidence in criminal cases in California. The new law is intended to address the use of rap lyrics as evidence in cases involving gang-related crimes, and to protect the free speech rights of artists.
Under Assembly Bill 2799, rap lyrics and other forms of creative expression are generally not admissible as evidence in criminal cases in California. The law allows for exceptions in cases where the lyrics or expression are relevant to the charges or to the credibility of a witness, but it requires the court to consider the context in which the lyrics or expression were created, and to exclude them if they are more prejudicial than probative.
The goal of Assembly Bill 2799 is to protect the free speech rights of artists and to ensure that rap lyrics and other forms of creative expression are not used unfairly as evidence in criminal cases. The law is intended to create a more fair and equitable criminal justice system in California, and to recognize the value and importance of artistic expression.
Overall, Assembly Bill 2799 is an important step towards protecting the free speech rights of artists and towards creating a more fair and equitable criminal justice system in California. It is also an important step towards recognizing the value and importance of artistic expression, and towards promoting cultural diversity and creativity in the state.
Assembly Bill 2147, which was passed in 2021, allows pedestrians to jaywalk (or cross the street outside of an intersection) without being ticketed in California, as long as the crossing is done when it is safe to do so. The new law is intended to reduce the risk of pedestrian injuries and fatalities, and to promote the safety and well-being of pedestrians in the state.
Under Assembly Bill 2147, pedestrians are allowed to cross the street at any location, as long as they do so with due care and caution. The law requires pedestrians to yield the right-of-way to vehicles when crossing the street, and to use crosswalks and intersections when they are available. However, it allows pedestrians to cross the street outside of crosswalks and intersections when it is safe to do so, and prohibits law enforcement officers from issuing tickets for jaywalking in these circumstances.
The goal of Assembly Bill 2147 is to reduce the risk of pedestrian injuries and fatalities in California, and to promote the safety and well-being of pedestrians in the state. By allowing pedestrians to cross the street outside of crosswalks and intersections when it is safe to do so, the law is intended to create a more flexible and practical approach to pedestrian safety, and to encourage pedestrians to make safe and responsible choices when crossing the street.
Overall, Assembly Bill 2147 is an important step towards promoting pedestrian safety and well-being in California. It is also an important step towards creating a more flexible and practical approach to pedestrian safety, and towards recognizing the needs and rights of pedestrians in the state.
XV. Pink Tax
Assembly Bill 1287, which was passed in 2021, prohibits gender-based pricing on products in California. The new law is intended to address the “pink tax,” which refers to the practice of charging higher prices for products that are marketed towards women, based on their gender.
Under Assembly Bill 1287, it is unlawful for a retailer to charge a higher price for a product or service based on the gender of the person for whom it is intended. The law applies to all products and services, regardless of the gender of the person who is purchasing them.
The goal of Assembly Bill 1287 is to address the pink tax and to promote gender equality in pricing in California. By prohibiting gender-based pricing on products, the law is intended to create a more fair and equitable marketplace, and to ensure that all consumers are treated equally, regardless of their gender.
Overall, Assembly Bill 1287 is an important step towards promoting gender equality in pricing in California. It is also an important step towards creating a more fair and equitable marketplace, and towards ensuring that all consumers are treated equally, regardless of their gender.
Assembly Bill 1594, which was passed in 2021, allows the state attorney general, local prosecutors, and anyone who suffered harm as a result of gun violence in California to sue firearm manufacturers. The new law is intended to hold firearm manufacturers accountable for the harm caused by their products, and to promote gun safety in the state.
Under Assembly Bill 1594, the state attorney general, local prosecutors, and anyone who suffered harm as a result of gun violence in California are authorized to bring a civil action against a firearm manufacturer for damages or other relief. The law allows these parties to seek damages for the harm caused by the use of a firearm, including injuries, deaths, and property damage.
The goal of Assembly Bill 1594 is to hold firearm manufacturers accountable for the harm caused by their products, and to promote gun safety in California. By allowing the state attorney general, local prosecutors, and individuals who suffered harm as a result of gun violence to sue firearm manufacturers, the law is intended to create a more accountable and responsible firearms industry, and to reduce the risk of gun violence in the state.
Overall, Assembly Bill 1594 is an important step towards promoting gun safety and accountability in California. It is also an important step towards creating a more responsible and accountable firearms industry, and towards reducing the risk of gun violence in the state.