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Mon, Jul

New California Laws Taking Effect in 2024: What You Need to Know

STATE WATCH

CA LAWS - As we usher in a new year, Californians can anticipate a slew of new laws and regulations that will come into effect in 2024. These laws span a wide range of topics, from environmental protection to social justice and healthcare. In this article, we will explore some of the most notable changes that Californians can expect in the year ahead.

Minimum Wage

Gov. Gavin Newsom this year signed two union-backed bills that will boost fast-food and health care workers’ minimum wages. 

1.  California-based fast-food workers for chains with 60 or more locations around the nation will earn at least $20 an hour beginning in April, $4 higher than the overall state minimum wage of $16 that will be effective Jan. 1.

2.  In June, health care workers will earn a minimum of $18, $21 or $23 an hour, depending on what type of facility employs them and where they work.

The industry-specific wage increases reflect a shift in unions’ strategies at the Capitol. After the Great Recession, labor groups led campaigns that resulted in then-Gov. Jerry Brown signing a law in 2016 that put California on a path to a $15 minimum wage. That law included inflation adjustments, which is why the minimum wage is higher today. 

The two new laws are expected to trigger pay increases for about 900,000 Californians, some of whom are earning more than minimum wage today.

Climate Change and Environmental Protections

California has long been a pioneer in environmental policies, and 2024 is no different. Several laws aimed at addressing climate change and protecting the environment are set to take effect:

  1. Clean Energy Mandate: Starting in 2024, all new residential buildings in California must be equipped with solar panels or have access to shared solar energy systems. This is a significant step towards reducing the state's carbon footprint and promoting clean energy usage.
  2. Plastic Waste Reduction: California is taking further steps to reduce plastic waste by banning single-use plastic toiletry bottles in hotels and lodging establishments. Additionally, plastic straws will only be provided upon request in restaurants.
  3. Electric Vehicle Infrastructure: To encourage the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), California will require all new multi-family and commercial buildings to include EV charging infrastructure.

Criminal Justice Reforms

California has been at the forefront of criminal justice reform efforts, and 2024 brings some significant changes:

  1. Juvenile Justice Reform: The minimum age for trying a minor as an adult will be raised from 14 to 16, reflecting a commitment to rehabilitation and age-appropriate treatment for young offenders.
  2. Police Accountability: New laws will enhance transparency and accountability in law enforcement by requiring body-worn cameras for all police officers on patrol and increasing public access to police misconduct records.

Healthcare and Mental Health

California continues to prioritize healthcare access and mental health services:

  1. Mental Health Parity: Insurance companies are now required to provide equal coverage for mental health and substance use disorder treatments as they do for physical health conditions.
  2. Universal Healthcare Expansion: California is taking steps towards expanding access to healthcare by extending coverage to undocumented immigrants under the age of 26.

Housing and Rent Control

Housing affordability remains a critical issue in California, and several laws aim to address this ongoing challenge:

  1. Rent Control Expansion: Rent control will be extended to more rental properties, including units built after January 1, 2005, with certain exemptions for smaller landlords.
  2. Affordable Housing Incentives: The state will provide tax incentives and grants to encourage the construction of affordable housing units.

Social Equity and Inclusivity

California continues to prioritize social equity and inclusivity:

  1. Gender-Neutral Restrooms: Public facilities will be required to designate all single-occupancy restrooms as gender-neutral, promoting inclusivity for all individuals.
  2. LGBTQ+ Education: Schools will expand their LGBTQ+ education curriculum to promote understanding and acceptance among students.

California's new laws taking effect in 2024 reflect the state's commitment to addressing pressing issues such as climate change, criminal justice reform, healthcare access, housing affordability, and social equity. As these laws come into effect, they are expected to have a significant impact on the lives of Californians and serve as a model for progressive policies in the United States and beyond. It is crucial for residents to stay informed about these changes and understand how they may affect their daily lives and communities.

 

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