As 2024 begins, Californians will enjoy many new benefits and protections that affect different aspects of their lives. From employment and health care to public safety and consumer rights, here are some of the new laws that will be implemented starting from January 1, 2024, and onwards.
Starting from January 1, 2024, California’s minimum wage will go up to $16 an hour, thanks to a 2016 law that linked minimum wage hikes to inflation.
AB 1228: Raises the minimum wage of fast food workers to $20 an hour beginning in April. It also creates a fast-food council that will run for five years and decide on future wage raises and work conditions.
SB 525: Increases the minimum wage of health care workers to $23 an hour by June of 2024. The law covers nursing assistants, medical technicians, and janitorial workers. The minimum wage will go up by $1 each of the next two years until it reaches $25 an hour.
SB 616: Enhances sick time benefits for all full and part-time California workers from three days to at least five paid sick days a year. Both hourly and salaried employees are eligible.
SB 848: Mandates employers to offer five days of leave to an employee who experiences a reproductive loss such as a failed adoption, miscarriage, stillbirth, unsuccessful embryo transfer, or artificial insemination.
AB 783: Businesses are obliged to put signage on single-user restrooms that shows the toilet facility is open to all genders.
AB 1136: Establishes a retirement fund for mixed-martial arts fighters in California. Any MMA fighters who have fought in at least 39 rounds in the state will qualify for retirement benefits starting at the age of 50.
AB 1740: Compels childcare facilities and other businesses offering pediatric care to post information about human trafficking and slavery. The information must contain resources available to people coerced into work.
AB 2188: Forbids an employer from discriminating or penalizing an employee based on the person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace. A similar law, SB 700, forbids an employer from asking a job applicant if they’ve used cannabis.
SB 497: Bans employers from retaliating against workers who complain about their wages, talk about wages with colleagues, or ask about another worker’s wages.
SB 699: Extends the prohibition of non-compete contracts in California by making them unenforceable by the employer. This applies even to agreements signed in another state. A similar law, AB 1076, obliges employers to inform employees hired after January 1, 2022, that their non-compete clauses are void.
AB 12: Caps the amount landlords can charge for a security deposit to only one month’s rent, so tenants don’t have to save up two month’s rent when moving into an apartment.
AB 1418: Bans cities and counties from enacting nuisance ordinances that penalize or evict tenants or their family members for having contact with law enforcement or a criminal record.
SB 4: Eases regulatory hurdles to enable churches, religious organizations, and non-profit colleges to construct affordable housing on their property.
SB 407: Instructs the California Department of Social Services to change its foster parents’ screening process to ensure that LGBTQ+ youth are placed in homes that are supportive and respectful of their gender identity.
SB 567: Changes the state’s “no-fault just cause” eviction to make it more difficult for a landlord to remove a tenant. Starting April 1, the law will mandate that if a tenant is evicted for an owner move-in, the property owners or their relatives must move into the property within 90 days and stay there for at least 12 months.
SB 712: Permits tenants to keep electric scooters and bicycles in their apartments as long as the battery complies with certain safety standards. If a battery does not comply with safety standards, then the tenant may be required to buy liability insurance or may be forbidden from charging the mobility device indoors.
AB 413: Aims to improve crosswalk safety by forbidding stopping or parking a vehicle within 20 feet of a vehicle’s approach to a marked or unmarked crosswalk or 15 feet from a curb extension. Drivers will only receive warnings for now, but fines can be imposed starting in 2025.
AB 436: Bans cities and counties from enacting laws that prohibit cruising on city streets or driving vehicles that have been altered to be a certain height.
AB 645: Permits six cities – Glendale, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose – to install speed cameras. The law mandates cities to put up signage alerting drivers they could get a ticket if they don’t slow down before approaching the speed camera.
AB 1909: This law has been in effect for a year, but starting on January 1, 2024, a provision takes effect that enables bicyclists to cross a street when a pedestrian signal is activated instead of waiting for a green light.
AB 416: Permits the sale of Japanese shochu in bars and restaurants that are authorized to sell beer and wine. The spirit must not surpass 24% of alcohol by volume.
AB 899: Mandates baby food manufacturers to test their products once a month for arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. Test results will have to be published on the manufacturer’s website starting in 2025.
AB 1200: This law is part of the California Safer Food Packaging Cookware Act passed in 2021. Starting in 2024, it will oblige cookware manufacturers to reveal if their non-stick products contain certain harmful chemicals, such as PTFEs, FEPs, and PFAs. It also bans deceptive advertising on cookware packaging.
SB 244: Simplifies and reduces the cost of repairing televisions, cellphones, and other electronics and home appliances. The law requires manufacturers to provide consumers and repair shops with the parts, tools, and documentation required to service or fix the device. The Right to Repair Act takes effect in July.
SB 644: Cancelling a hotel or Airbnb reservation will be much easier if the place you are staying at is in California. The new law allows consumers to cancel, without penalty, a hotel or short-term rental reservation within 24 hours after the reservation is confirmed. The reservation must be made at least 72 hours before check-in.
SB 478: Forbids those hidden fees that don’t appear until you are about to complete a purchase online. Starting July 1, 2024, the law requires websites and apps to show the true cost of an item or service, such as lodging, tickets for live events, and food delivery fees.
Proposition 24: Originally approved in 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act will finally take effect in March of 2024. It sets standards for the collection, retention, and use of personal data and allows consumers to stop businesses from selling or sharing consumer’s sensitive data.
AB 587: Passed in 2022, AB 587 requires social media companies to disclose their policies on how they deal with hate speech and misinformation. Starting in January 2024, social media companies must provide regular reports to the state on how they handled violations of the terms of service and any enforcement action that was taken. In September, Elon Musk’s X Corp sued the state, claiming the law violates the U.S. Constitution.
SB 60: Allows the public to seek a court order against a social media company requiring them to remove content that offers to sell, provide, or give away a controlled substance in violation of state law.
SB 362: The California Delete Act will give consumers more control over their personal data. Starting in January, the law requires that data brokers register with the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA). By 2026, the CPPA will establish a mechanism that consumers can use to direct all data brokers to delete their personal information.
SB 76: Permits cities to create temporary Entertainment Zones that allow existing restaurants and bars to sell alcohol if they are located within the boundaries of a city-permitted street festival.
AB 618: Raises the financial penalties on people who don’t show up to a reserved campground at a state park or beach. Cancellations made within two to six days of the reservation will cost one day’s lodging. Those who cancel within 24 hours or don’t show up for their stay will lose the entire cost of the reservation.
AB 607: Mandates California Community Colleges and California State Universities to show the estimated cost of course materials and fees for their classes. Compliance by the University of California campuses is optional. The law takes effect in time for the 2024-2025 school year.
AB 1138: Mandates that California colleges and universities provide free and anonymous transportation to and from sexual assault treatment centers that offer sexual assault forensic exams. Services may include medical care, emergency contraception, and the collection of DNA evidence that may be used to prosecute rape cases.
AB 2282: Raises the penalties for people who use hate symbols such as swastikas, nooses, or desecrated crosses. It also forbids these symbols in schools, cemeteries, places of worship, workplaces, private property, public spaces, and facilities.
SB 808: Requires the California State University system to submit a report on the investigations and outcomes of sexual harassment complaints. The report must include how many complaints resulted in investigations and how long it took for the investigation to finish. The reports are due by December 1 of each year.
AB 1539: Makes it a misdemeanor to vote in an election in California and in an election in another state if they are held on the same date.
AB 421: Aims to clarify the language used in ballot measures that propose to change existing law. These ballot measures would be required to use precise language like “keep the law” or “overturn the law” to clearly explain the intention. The law also requires that a ballot measure’s top funders be listed.
AB 1412: Adds borderline personality disorder to the list of mental health conditions eligible for pretrial diversion. People with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or post-traumatic stress disorder have already been able to avoid jail and instead receive mental health treatment if they were charged with a non-violent offense.
SB 43: Expands the definition of who can be put on an involuntary mental health hold. Currently, people who are mentally incompetent or unable to provide their own food, clothing, or shelter can be forced into treatment. The new law now includes people who suffer from drug or alcohol addiction or are unable to provide for their personal safety.
SB 345: Provides legal protections to doctors and health care practitioners who are based in California and mail abortion pills or gender-affirming treatment to patients in other states. The law forbids authorities from cooperating with out-of-state investigations and bans bounty hunters from apprehending doctors or pharmacists in California to stand trial in another state.
SB 385: Allows physician’s assistants in California to perform surgical abortions without the direct supervision of a physician.
AB 360: Prohibits coroners, medical examiners, and physicians from listing “excited delirium” as a cause of death. Criminal justice reform activists say the term has been used by law enforcement to justify the death of a person while in police custody. Law enforcement officers are also banned from using the term to describe someone’s behavior.
AB 452: Eliminates the time limits childhood victims of sexual abuse have to recover civil damages for assaults that occur on or after January 1, 2024. Sexual abuse cases that occurred before this date are still subject to time limits that prohibit filing a claim after the victim’s 40th birthday or within five years of becoming aware of the assault.
SB 14: Increases prison sentencing for those convicted of trafficking a minor for the purpose of prostitution. It also imposes harsher penalties and sentencing enhancements for those convicted of sex trafficking.
SB 673: Creates the Ebony Alert, an emergency alert system to help find missing Black women and youth between the ages of 12 and 25 years.
AB 28: Applies an 11% tax on the sale of firearms and ammunition. The money generated would support gun violence prevention and school safety programs. The law takes effect July 1, 2024.
SB 2: Reinforces California’s concealed carry weapons law by restricting the possession of firearms in certain public places. It also mandates stronger firearms safety training and sets a minimum age of 21 to obtain a concealed carry permit.
SB 831: Empowers the governor to negotiate with the U.S. Attorney General’s Office to create a program that would grant immigration parole to undocumented agricultural workers. The program would grant undocumented workers work visas and protect them from deportation. It does not offer a pathway to legal residence.
AB 261: California already has a state bird (quail) and a state flower (poppy); now, it will also have an official state mushroom. The California Golden Chanterelle is a fungus native to California that grows near live oak trees.