SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – It’s not often that bacon leads a slew of new laws that come into effect with the New Years in California.
But even in progressive California, that’s the headline.
It’s among a host of other laws designed to protect employees, protect those seeking an abortion, protect police protesters, spare children the influence of gender on store shelves, and further relax criminal penalties for reduce mass incarceration.
Several of the laws mark national “firsts”: the first minimum wage to reach $ 15 an hour, first to protect warehouse workers from quotas, first to impose hourly wages for garment workers, first to demand non-sexist postings.
They are among hundreds of new laws that also address everything from stealthy condom removal to the distribution of disposable condiment packages.
What about the bacon?
The sausage-making stems from a 2018 voting measure where California voters set the country’s strictest living space standards for breeding pigs starting on Saturday.
Industry lawsuits opposing the initiative have failed, but grocers and restaurateurs are now suing to force a 28-month deadline. Critics, including some lawmakers on both sides, have called for delaying enforcement until 2024 over fears prices will rise and jobs will be lost.
California is allowing the sale of pork processed under the old rules to continue, which supporters say should ease any shortages and price spikes.
$ 15 minimum wage
California becomes the first state to require a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour for companies with more than 25 employees, although Washington, DC and many California cities in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas already have reached this stage.
The minimum for companies with 25 or fewer employees increases to $ 14 with the new year and will drop to $ 15 an hour on January 1, 2023. From that point on, wages will increase each year based on inflation.
The increases were triggered by a 2016 law. Similarly, Illinois and New Jersey increase their minimum wages by $ 1 each year until they hit $ 15 an hour in 2025.
Housing and homelessness
Gov. Gavin Newsom has vowed to redouble his efforts to tackle California’s affordable housing problem and homelessness issue after handily defeating a recall election in September.
Days later, he approved two measures designed to circumvent local zoning ordinances. One allows local governments to rezone neighborhoods close to public transport for up to 10 housing units.
The second requires cities to approve up to four housing units on what was once single-family land, over objections from city officials. Some cities have rushed to pass ordinances undermining the law before it goes into effect, while other opponents are collecting signatures for a voting measure that would restore local control.
California becomes the first U.S. state to ban warehouse retailers like Amazon from laying off workers for missing quotas that interfere with restroom and rest breaks. It also becomes the first state to require the garment industry to pay workers on time.
It also now prohibits secret employment agreements involving discrimination based on race, religion, sex or sexual orientation, extending a 2018 law.
Recycling and waste
California is expanding its existing law that allows restaurants to distribute single-use straws only on request. Now, takeout outlets can offer consumers single-use condiment packages like ketchup and mustard and utensils like knives, forks and spoons only upon request.
It is one of many new laws designed to reduce waste. One establishes what advocates call the country’s highest standards for the ‘arrow hunting’ recycling symbol. Another toughens regulations on what can be used in compost.
Yet what California regulators say is the “biggest change in garbage in 30 years” comes from a law passed in 2016 that goes into effect on Saturday.
It requires local governments to provide an organics recycling collection to all residents and businesses, and mandates businesses and large food producers to donate unsold food for distribution to Californians in need.
Restrict the police
Several laws that fizzled out in 2020 despite national unrest over the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis officer were enacted in 2021.
They include measures limiting police use of rubber bullets against protesters and providing a way to withdraw certification from troubled officers, although part of the certification process does not take effect until January 2023.
Other new laws prohibit a type of restraint that has resulted in fatalities and specify when officers have a duty to intervene to prevent or report excessive force. Another expands the list of police misconduct files that must be made public.
The state is also raising the minimum age for becoming a police officer from 18 to 21 and requiring the state attorney general to investigate all fatal police shootings of unarmed civilians, including those where there is a reasonable dispute. as to whether this civilian was armed.
Reduction of criminal penalties
California is taking further steps to ease criminal penalties, building on a decade of efforts to reduce mass incarceration.
Among them, it ends mandatory minimum prison or jail terms for non-violent drug offenses, giving judges more leeway to impose probation or other alternative sentences.
It expands a 2019 law that limited the use of the criminal murder rule, which previously allowed accomplices in crimes to be convicted of murder if someone died, but is now limited to people who intended to kill. kill or were directly involved in it.
And that creates the presumption that those arrested on alleged breaches of their probation are released on their own recognizance, unless a judge considers them a risk to public safety or flight.
It also limits jail terms for those associated with street gangs, contemplates extenuating circumstances in the application of sentence enhancements, and retroactively removes other enhancements for repeat offenders and certain prior drug crimes.