10 California Laws Taking Effect January 2022

  1. SLOWER SPEED LIMITS

A law that takes effect on Jan. 1 give California cities more local control over how speed limits are set instead of using an old rule that essentially caused speed limits to go up every few years. 

  1. KIDS GET TO SLEEP IN 

Middle schools and high schools will soon be required to start class no earlier than 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. respectively. Supporters say preteens and teenagers need the extra sleep for their health and development. 

  1. ORGANIC WASTE SEPARATION

Starting in 2022, all California residents and businesses will be required to sort their organic waste from the rest thanks to Senate Bill 1383. The program will take effect in phases depending on where you live.

  1. MANDATORY MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS IN SCHOOLS

Starting in the 2022-23 school year, public schools will be required to stock restrooms with free pads or tampons. The law affects public schools with grades 6 through 12, community colleges, and public universities.

  1. MINIMIM WAGE INCREASE TO $15/HR 

Businesses with 26 or more employees will be required to pay a $15 minimum wage starting in 2022. That’s more than double the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. 

  1. VOTE BY MAIL REMAINS 

An executive order in 2020 sent mail-in ballots to every registered voter in California during COVID-19. Assembly Bill 37 makes that change permanent and expands it to include local elections. People can still vote in person if they choose.

  1. ALCOHOL TO-GO EXTENDED

Senate Bill 389 extends pandemic-era rules allowing the sale of takeout alcoholic drinks through 2026. It also makes it possible to keep ordering cocktails, beer and wine in outdoor dining settings for the next five years.

  1. THE WORD “ALIEN” IS REMOVED

Assembly Bill 1096 strikes the word “alien” from the California state code. The word will be replaced with words like “noncitizen” or “immigrant.”

  1. “STEALTHING” IS SEXUAL ASSAULT

Assembly Bill 453 makes the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex, also called “stealthing,” a form of sexual battery. California is the first state to identify stealthing as assault.

  1. RUBBER BULLETS AND TEAR GAS CAN’T BE USED

Assembly Bill 48 prohibits police from using rubber bullets or tear gas to disperse crowds at a protest. They also can’t be used against someone just because they’ve violated “an imposed curfew, verbal threat, or noncompliance with a law enforcement directive.”

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