Every year, hundreds of laws are passed by the California Legislature that may have an effect on your day to day life. Here are some of the new laws that took effect this year on January 1, 2018.
- Minimum Wage Increase:
The state minimum wage increases to $11.00 per hour for business with 26+ employees, and remains at $10.50 for those with 25 or less employees. This is part of an agreement from a previous bill that will continue to increase the hourly wage annually until it reaches $15 in 2022 for large businesses and 2023 for all workers.
- Salary History:
A prospective employer can no longer require you to state how much you made at your previous job and decide how much to pay you based on that. The salary history of job applicants can only be disclosed voluntarily.
- Criminal History (“Ban the Box”):
Employers are prohibited from asking about criminal history on job applications or considering criminal history any time before a conditional offer has been made. Once the conditional offer has been made, they may ask for criminal history but must follow a strict protocol. The law is meant to give former convicts a better opportunity to be “considered on their merits before they are judged for past mistakes”.
- Parental Leave:
Small business with 20+ employees are required to provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to bond with a new child. The leave must be taken within 1 year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.
- Drug prices:
Manufactures are required to notify the state at least 60 days before dramatically increasing the price of most drugs. Health insurers will also have to report how much prescription drugs are contributing to the current costs of their plans including annual hikes to premiums.
- College tuition:
Assembly bill 19 establishes the initial stage of a “free college” program that begins by waiving the first year of fees for any first-time student who enrolls full-time at any one of 114 community colleges in California.
- Guns and ammunition:
Firearms are now banned from all campuses (last year school administrators could decided whether employees with concealed carry permits could bring firearms on campus). In addition, customers may only purchase ammunition through a licensed vendor, meaning even if you order it online, you must ship it to a vendor and pick it up in person.
Recreational Marijuana has been legalized and is now available for retail purchase. Adults (21+) can buy up to 1 ounce of weed and up to 8 grams of cannabis concentrates through permitted stores.
- High School Exit Exam:
The high school exit exam has been eliminated. This exam began with the Class of 2006 to ensure that students demonstrated a minimum proficiency in English and math before graduating, but tens of thousands of students never passed and never received a diploma as a result.
- Schools and Feminine Products:
Middle schools and high schools where at least 40% of students meet the federal poverty threshold are required to stock campus restrooms with free feminine products as an attempt to keep poor female students attending class.
To learn more about California laws, visit the Official California Legislative Information website.