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News Laws in CA, July 1


Last updated 7/1/2024 at 8:09am

We are midway through 2024, and those in California will have to abide to new laws going into effect as of July 1. The laws, which were signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom during last year’s legislative session, span an array of topics — from hidden fees and housing to education.

Here are some of the new laws that Californians should know about:

Hidden fees (SB-478, AB-537)

Two bills passed last year, Senate Bill 478 and Assembly Bill 537, take aim at hidden fees. Under both, businesses would be require the advertised prices for goods and services to include all other mandatory charges, aside from government-imposed taxes or fees.

The new laws cover a wide range of goods and services, including concert tickets and short-term lodging such as hotels or AirBnB.

Gun tax (AB-28)

All firearms and munition will be subject to an 11% state tax. The new charge was implemented through Assembly Bill 28, which is intended to help fund school safety and violence prevention programs administered by the state. When it goes into effect, the tax will become the first-ever state tax on gun-related sales in the U.S.

Right to Repair (SB-244)

The Right to Repair Act requires manufacturers to provide consumers and repair shops with the parts, tools and documentation needed to service or repair the device. The law affects home appliances and electronic devices like televisions, audio and video recording equipment and cellphones that cost at least $50.

Security deposits (AB-12)

Landlords will no longer be able to ask renters for a security deposit equal to as much as three months’ rent. Most security deposit requirements would be capped at the equivalent of one month’s rent. The new law will apply to the majority of landlords’ properties, regardless of its status as furnished or unfurnished. However, there is an exception for landlords with small rental portfolios that allows for them to accept the equivalent of two months in rent for a deposit.

Drug testing kits (AB-1013)

Bars, nightclubs and other establishments that serve alcoholic beverages under a “on-sale general public premises” license will be required to have drug-testing kits available for sale. The measure is aimed at preventing spiking incidents, and also stipulates that these businesses must post a notice that reads, “Don’t get roofied! Drink spiking drug test kits available here. Ask a staff member for details.”

Menstrual products for students (AB-230)

Assembly Bill 230 expands an existing law that requires public schools with sixth grade to twelfth grade students to provide free menstrual products in bathrooms. Under the change, schools that instruct third grade to fifth grade will also be required to provide these hygienic products. The bill’s author said the measure was important to extend these free menstrual products to additional grades, pointing to research that indicates 10% of children who experience a period do so for the first time by the age of 10.

Building housing (SB-684)

Senate Bill 684 is tied to housing, but this measure specifically aims to speed up the process to build new units by making one aspect of it more efficient: the approval of subdivision maps. Under the law, local agencies would be required to approve maps for projects in urban areas so long as they meet certain requirements, like the project not exceeding more than 10 housing units. Proponents say the law will facilitate more medium-density housing in small lot divisions.

Certified school employees (AB-897)

Assembly Bill 897, which was signed into law last year, would extend the two-year probationary period for educators in California to those who teach adults. Typically, “general education teachers” must undergo this period before gaining permanent status.

Workplace violence prevention plan (SB-553)

Employers will soon be required to develop and implement comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans. Manufacturers of products with wholesale prices of $100 or more must also provide parts and documentation, although it is expected to be available for at least seven years after the product was last manufactured.

Vehicle Registration (AB-256)

Prohibits police from stopping a vehicle solely because the license plate registration has expired, unless at least a month has passed since the original month of expiration. Law enforcement can cite a vehicle with expired tags if the vehicle was stopped for another violation.

School Athletics (AB-245)

Requires high school sports coaches, who already receive training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, to receive training in recognizing and responding to signs and symptoms of cardiac arrest. It will also require certification in the use of external defibrillators.

Hate Crimes (AB-449)

Requires law enforcement agencies in California to adopt a hate crimes policy that guides officers on how to recognize suspected hate crimes. It authorizes the Department of Justice to review materials submitted to make sure law enforcement departments are complying with the law.

Housing Construction (SB-684)

Allows cities and counties to build medium sized housing developments without the need for public hearings or votes. The developments must have 10 or fewer residential units and be on lots no larger than five acres. The law only applies in areas already zoned for multifamily housing.

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