California is one of the most progressive states in the country, but it’s also one of the most confusing. The state has many new laws, some of which can be hard to understand.
In 2023, California will have new laws that residents must follow. Whether you’re a resident or just visiting for a few days.
- Jaywalking: AB2147 will decriminalize crossing the street outside of a crosswalk when no vehicle is approaching.
- Minimum Wage: Starting in 2023, California’s minimum wage will rise to $15.50 an hour, increasing the rate by 50 cents and adjusting for inflation. The new law is expected to affect more than 3 million workers in the state.
- Mental Illness: If you live in California and suffer from mental illness, the state has some good news for you. Starting in 2023, San Francisco and six other California cities will implement Care Court, a new system designed to move homeless people with severe mental illnesses into treatment.
- Housing: AB2011 simplifies the approval process for housing developments in urban areas by allowing developers to fast-track their projects as long as 15% of the rental units are designated as affordable. The bill also allows hiring non-union workers with prevailing wages and benefits.
- Abortion: SB1375, a bill by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, will allow nurse practitioners to perform first-trimester abortions without a doctor’s supervision starting in 2023. The bill is one of several new laws in California aimed at expanding access to abortion.
- Gunmaker Lawsuits: SB1327, by Senator Robert Hertzberg, would allow private citizens to sue manufacturers and sellers of illegal firearms in California—including assault weapons and so-called “ghost guns” (which are made from parts that can’t be traced back to their original buyers) – for a minimum compensation of $10,000 if they sell such things.
- Criminal Records: SB731 will allow people with prior convictions or arrests to conceal their past from criminal background checks, but only if they have completed their court sentence, including probation, and have not been involved in the justice system since.
- COVID Misinformation: AB2098 allows the Medical Board of California to more easily discipline doctors who spread false information about COVID-19 by defining it as “unprofessional conduct” under state law.
- Loitering: Officials will no longer be allowed to arrest sex workers on the street. SB357 repeals a 1995 law that prohibits loitering to look for prostitution jobs to avoid discrimination.
- Fur: AB44 now prohibits the sale of fur products. This law doesn’t cover secondhand fur, animal skin, or taxidermied goods.
- Salary Transparency: Starting in 2023, all employers must include pay scales in job postings—including California businesses with more than 15 employees.
- Lunar New Year: AB2596 allows state employees to take the day off in observance of the Lunar New Year, typically celebrated at the end of January or the beginning of February.
- Rape Kits: SB1228 prohibits police departments from using the DNA of sexual assault survivors in investigations of unrelated crimes. This bill bans using victim DNA profiles, including rape kits, for any purpose other than identifying the perpetrator.