Home » CAPITOL UPDATE #49 – December 28, 2023

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CAPITOL UPDATE #49 – December 28, 2023

 December 28, 2023

Golden State Republican Women
Janet Price, President

        Submitted by the GSRW Legislative Analyst Committee        
Karen Contreras,
Lou Ann Flaherty and Elaine Freeman, 

Some New laws in California that go into effect on January 1, 2024


This new law was meant to increase access to California’s public parks and beaches by promoting responsible reservation practices.  It changes the online camping registration system to stave off no-shows and cancellations. Previously, there were no penalties for reserving a spot that later went unused. Under this law, anyone who cancels their reservation more than a week before it starts gets a credit for another reservation to be used in the next five years while those who don’t show up after the first day will completely lose the rest of their reservation. It also puts into place reminder emails about the booking to encourage an early cancellation, if needed, and caps the number of days a person can stay at the same campsite. Read the text of the law here.  (AB 618)


Workers in California who use marijuana have additional protections starting in 2024. Cannabis use while on the clock is still restricted, but it’s now illegal for an employer to not hire or terminate an employee for using cannabis products outside of work. (AB 2188).


Any California coroner or medical examiner can no longer use the term ‘excited delirium’ as a cause of death. AB 360 also outlaws law enforcement from using the term in an incident report. Learn more about the law and term ‘excited delirium’ here. (AB 360)


Individuals who are arrested and tried on charges of sex trafficking of minors for monetary gain will receive harsher penalties than before. SB 14 designates human trafficking of minors for commercial gain as a “serious felony,” resulting in harsher prison sentences and inclusion in California’s “Three Strikes” law.


SB 2 strengthens California’s concealed carry weapons law. It provides criteria about who may get a CCW license, limits the possession of firearms in certain locations and includes stronger training requirements for the handling and storage of firearms. 

NoteA federal judge temporarily blocked the law from taking effect Wednesday, Dec. 20. Now, the law is on hold while the case makes its way through the federal court system.


The first major change to California’s conservatorship laws in more than 50 years updates the definition for those eligible for conservatorship. It now includes people who are unable to provide for their personal safety or necessary medical care, in addition to food, clothing, or shelter, due to either severe substance use disorder or serious mental health illnesses. Supporters say the new law also provides more transparency into data and equity on mental health conservatorships. Read the text of the law here. (SB 43)


AB 436 ends the decades-long ban on cruising in California.


California will become the first state to create an alert notification system to address missing Black children and young Black women between the ages of 12 and 25. SB 673 allows law enforcement agencies to request an Ebony Alert be activated by the California Highway Patrol.


Starting in April 2024, fast-food workers who earn minimum wage in California will see their hourly wages jump from just over $16 an hour to $20 an hour. The minimum wage increase will impact approximately 500,000 fast-food workers statewide. The pay increase is only a portion of the bill, which will also hold corporate fast-food chains responsible for working conditions at restaurants owned by individual franchisees. (AB 1228)


California will impose harsher punishments for people convicted of trafficking large amounts of fentanyl. AB 701 classifies fentanyl on the same list of controlled substances as heroin, cocaine and other drugs, which carry stiffer penalties and sentencing enhancements for dealers. When the law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2024, an individual convicted of dealing a kilo or more of fentanyl will face much stricter sentencing.


Under AB 1346, retailers are prohibited from selling gas-powered outdoor equipment. That includes certain chainsaws, hedge trimmers and edgers, lawn mowers and leaf blowers. It does not include air compressors, portable generators and pressure washers.


Under AB 1084, major retailers or any company with 500 or more employees, would be required to have a gender-neutral display for children’s toys in their store and have it clearly labeled as such. The law applies to retailers operating inside the state of California. Companies who fail to maintain a gender-neutral toy aisle face a civil penalty of $250 for the first time and $500 for each subsequent penalty.


Criminal penalties for three hate symbols are now equalized under AB 2282: Nazi swastika, noose and desecrated crosses. It also increases the locations where they are banned to include K-12 schools, colleges, cemeteries, places of worship, places of employment, private property, public parks, public spaces, and public facilities.


Religious institutions and nonprofit colleges in California will be allowed to turn their parking lots and other properties into low-income housing under a new law aimed at combating the ongoing homeless crisis. The law rezones land owned by nonprofit colleges and religious institutions, such as churches, mosques, and synagogues, to allow for affordable housing. Starting in 2024, they can bypass most local permitting and environmental review rules that can be costly and lengthy.  AB 346, Learn more about the law here.


California’s minimum wage will increase to $16 per hour for all employers.


Californians battling opioid addiction will be able to obtain vital medications through mobile pharmacies starting Jan. 1.  AB 663 allows pharmacies to create mobile access to medicines like buprenorphine, which is used to treat opioid addiction. Patients seeking the medication will also have access to enroll in treatment and recovery services for drug addiction. The law removes barriers to administering controlled substances used for drug addiction and creates mobile access to medication.


Employers can no longer include post-employment noncompete clauses in contracts or make employees enter one. Employers must notify current and some former employees with a written notice any post-employment noncomplete clause is void by Valentine’s Day.  AB 1076, See the text of the bill here.


Workers in California will receive an additional two days of paid sick days for the year. SB 616 increases the number of days employers are required to pay eligible employees from three days of paid sick leave per year to five days. The new law also expands the definition of sick leave to include caring for a sick family member. The new law also includes paid time off for employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assaults and stalking.


Under SB 848, private employers with five or more employees and all public employers have to provide up to five days of reproductive loss leave for qualifying events including: failed adoption, failed surrogacy, miscarriage, stillbirth or unsuccessful assisted reproduction. The five days don’t have to be consecutive. 

Legislative Portal links- Express your support or opposition to a bill or directly to the Legislative committee currently reviewing it (as an individual, not as a member of RW or GSRW) click here, or the bill’s author – click here, enter your bill # and look for tab at top of the bill page labeled “Comments to Author”.

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