While Americans are making plans and resolutions for the new year in hopes of improving themselves, the state of California is making laws for the new year, in hopes of foiling any improvement whatsoever.
A new slate of insanity took effect in the Golden State this January 1, including a law that will punish doctors for disseminating “COVID misinformation” to patients – that would be, any information that does not concur with state policy and recommendations regarding COVID-19. There is also a minimum wage increase in effect. The minimum wage for employers with over 26 employees now stands at $15/hr. For companies that employ fewer than 26 employees, the minimum wage is $14/hr.
Not all of the new laws are totally crazy. One law gives the state and residents more authority detain and treat those who are violently mentally ill and posing a danger to the community. Mental illness is one of the biggest problems exacerbating the homeless crisis in the state. However, that’s about as positive as it gets for this legislative calendar.
California passes hundreds of laws a year. There are too many to count, but here are a few of the garbage more interesting ones that will go into effect for 2023.
Welcome to California, where the only thing more hated than plastic, single-use products, is the taxpayer.
AB 2223 Reproductive Health
Enshrines the right to abortion for “pregnant people” (otherwise known as WOMEN) into the California Health and Safety code. It also ends the requirement for investigators to launch enquiries into fetal deaths post 20-week gestation.
This bill would delete the requirement that a coroner hold inquests for deaths related to or following known or suspected self-induced or criminal abortion, and would delete the requirement that an unattended fetal death be handled as a death without medical attendance. The bill would prohibit using the coroner’s statements on the certificate of fetal death to establish, bring, or support a criminal prosecution or civil cause of damages against a person who is immune from liability based on their actions or omissions with respect to their pregnancy or actual, potential, or alleged pregnancy outcome, or who aids a pregnant person in exercising their rights under the Reproductive Privacy Act, as specified.
AB1949 Bereavement Leave
Makes requires employers to offer 5 days of bereavement leave to any workers who have been employed at least 30 days.
This bill would additionally make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to grant a request by an eligible employee to take up to 5 days of bereavement leave upon the death of a family member, as defined. The bill would require that leave be completed within 3 months of the date of death. The bill would require that leave be taken pursuant to any existing bereavement leave policy of the employer. Under the bill, in the absence of an existing policy, the bereavement leave may be unpaid. However, the bill would authorize an employee to use certain other leave balances otherwise available to the employee, including accrued and available paid sick leave.
SB 731 Criminal Records
Seals the records of felons who have completed their sentences and gone a certain number of years without further criminal violations.
AB2746 Driving Privilege: Suspension
DMV will stop suspending the licenses for failure to appear in court over ticketing/trafficking violations.
This bill would, beginning January 1, 2027, repeal that requirement of the DMV to suspend a person’s driving privilege, would terminate any suspension issued by the DMV pursuant to those provisions prior to January 1, 2027, and would remove the prohibition from issuing or renewing a driver’s license. The bill would repeal the above-described authorization and requirement that the court notify the DMV of a violation of a written promise to appear or a lawfully granted continuance of their promise to appear in court or before a person authorized to receive a deposit of bail. The bill would make other conforming changes.
AB 1314 Emergency notification: Feather Alert
Creates a special public alert level for missing indigenous subjects.
This bill would authorize a law enforcement agency to request the Department of the California Highway Patrol to activate a “Feather Alert,” as defined, if specified criteria are satisfied with respect to an endangered indigenous person who has been reported missing under unexplained or suspicious circumstances. The bill would require the department, if it concurs that specified requirements are met, to activate a Feather Alert within the appropriate geographical area requested by the investigating law enforcement agency and to assist the agency by disseminating specified alert messages and signs.
Allows farmers to unionize through vote-by-mail, or “card check” process
This bill would refer to the election by secret ballot process as a polling place election. The bill would establish alternative procedures to the polling place election and authorize a labor organization to be certified as the exclusive bargaining representative of a bargaining unit through either a labor peace election or a non-labor peace election, as prescribed, dependent on whether an employer enrolls and agrees to a labor peace election for labor organization representation campaigns. The bill would provide that a labor peace election or a non-labor peace election permits a bargaining unit to summarily select a labor organization as its representative for collective bargaining purposes without using the existing polling place process.
AB44 Fur Ban
No new sales or manufacturing of fur products in the state of California.
AB2147 Freedom to Walk Act
Eliminates jaywalking penalties
AB-2147, also known as The Freedom to Walk Act, was first introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D- San Francisco), who argued jaywalking bills are arbitrarily enforced, and unequally impact poor people and people of color.
SB960 Public employment; peace officers; citizenship
Allows non-citizens to become law enforcement personnel
The bill would remove the provision that requires peace officers to either be a citizen of the United States or be a permanent resident who is eligible for and has applied for citizenship, and would instead require peace officers be legally authorized to work in the United States, and make conforming changes.
SB1338 Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Court Program
Allows courts to order psychiatric care for the severely mentally ill.
[The bill] would authorize specified adult persons to petition a civil court to create a voluntary CARE agreement or a court-ordered CARE plan and implement services, to be provided by county behavioral health agencies, to provide behavioral health care, including stabilization medication, housing, and other enumerated services to adults who are currently experiencing a severe mental illness and have a diagnosis identified in the disorder class schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, and who meet other specified criteria.
SB107 “Gender-affirming” healthcare
Creates a sanctuary state for “transgender” children seeking sex-change surgery.
This bill would prohibit a provider of health care, a health care service plan, or a contractor from releasing medical information related to a person or entity allowing a child to receive gender-affirming health care or gender-affirming mental health care in response to a criminal or civil action, including a foreign subpoena, based on another state’s law that authorizes a person to bring a civil or criminal action against a person or entity that allows a child to receive gender-affirming health care or gender-affirming mental health care. The bill additionally would prohibit law enforcement agencies from knowingly making or participating in the arrest or extradition of an individual pursuant to an out-of-state arrest warrant based on another state’s law against providing, receiving, or allowing a child to receive gender-affirming health care or gender-affirming mental health care in this state, as specified.
SB1044 Employers: emergency condition: retaliation
Prevents employers from disciplining or punishing an employee who does not go to work because of “safety issues” or other concerns.
This bill would prohibit an employer, in the event of an emergency condition, as defined, from taking or threatening adverse action against any employee for refusing to report to, or leaving, a workplace or worksite within the affected area because the employee has a reasonable belief that the workplace or worksite is unsafe, except as specified. The bill would also prohibit an employer from preventing any employee, including employees of public entities, as specified, from accessing the employee’s mobile device or other communications device for seeking emergency assistance, assessing the safety of the situation, or communicating with a person to confirm their safety. The bill would require an employee to notify the employer of the emergency condition requiring the employee to leave or refuse to report to the workplace or worksite, as specified. The bill would clarify that these provisions are not intended to apply when emergency conditions that pose an imminent and ongoing risk of harm to the workplace, the worksite, the worker, or the worker’s home have ceased.
Just for fun (because someone might as well be having some fun, since fun is basically illegal here in California), let us know in the comments which one of these bills you would veto as Governor. You can only choose ONE.
Happy New Year!