Hundreds of new laws passed in California in 2023 affect everything from protecting abortion and gender-affirming health care to legalizing jaywalking and banning the sale and manufacture of new fur clothing and accessories.
Here are a few of the new laws that took effect Jan. 1:
• SB 107, the intent of which is to make California a sanctuary state for transgender health, shielding transgender people, including youth and their parents, from legal action from states with bans and restrictions. The bill aims to stop other states from punishing children who come to California for transgender surgeries and other gender-affirming care.
• Several reproductive health care-related measures responding to the U.S. Supreme Court decision last year to overturn federal abortion protections. These include laws — AB 2091, AB 1242 — that protect medical records and cooperation with out-of-state entities regarding abortion, or laws to expand abortion training options and providers (SB 1375), along with a law protecting people from criminal or civil liabilities for pregnancy loss or abortion (AB 2223).
• AB 2963, passed in 2016, raises the state’s minimum wage to $15.50.
• SB 1162 requires employers to make salary ranges available for job positions to applicants and employees, as well as setting new pay data reporting requirements based on gender and race.
• Paid family leave, SB 951, increases the share of paid family leave provided to lower-income Californians. It extends what was a temporary increase in the benefit from 55% of wages to 60% to 70% depending on income.
• SB 1228 relating to rape kits prohibits law enforcement agencies from using the DNA collected from a sexual assault victim from being used in the investigation of an unrelated crime.
• SB 1008 provides free phone calls to people detained in California prisons and jails.
• AB 2147 allows pedestrians to jaywalk, crossing the street outside of an intersection, without being ticketed as long as the crossing is done when it is safe to do so.
• AB 1287, the “Pink tax,” prohibits gender-based pricing on products based on who they are marketed toward.
• AB 44 passed in 2019 bans the sale and manufacture of new fur clothing and accessories. It does not apply to used fur products, leather, cowhide, faux fur or shearling.
• AB 1200 bans the sale, distribution and offering of any food packaging that contains toxic perfluoralkyl and polyfluoralkl substances, also know as PFAS, that have been detected in the drinking water supplies of major U.S. cities.
• SB 1044 prohibits an employer from taking or threatening adverse action against any employee for refusing to come to work, or leaving, if the employee has a “reasonable belief” that the workplace or work site is unsafe.
• AB 1788 involving sex trafficking penalties makes hotels subject to civil penalties if a supervisory employee knew or acted with reckless disregard of sex trafficking activity within the hotel and failed to inform law enforcement, the National Human Trafficking Hotline, or another appropriate victim service organization.
Late last year, the California Highway Patrol advised drivers of a number of new laws affecting traffic on the state’s roads.