By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed 372 new laws in 2020, ranging from COVID-19, minimum wage, diversification in the workplace and more. A number of new laws went into effect Friday, January 1, and will continue to go into effect throughout the year, bringing some day-to-day changes for Palisadians.
Here are a few of the new laws taking effect in California this year:
One of the most significant changes is the introduction of laws pertaining to COVID-19.
Under Assembly Bill 685, employers are required to provide written notice within 24 hours to workers who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Employers can face fines for violations.
A second law is expanding employees’ compensation if they contract the virus at work.
The two laws will be in effect until 2023.
Minimum wage continues to rise incrementally as part of a plan to make the state’s minimum wage $15.
The $14.25 minimum wage established on July 1, 2020, for Los Angeles will go up to $15 an hour on July 1.
Introduced by California State Senator Henry Stern, CA SB 63 hopes to enact fire prevention—an issue prevalent in Pacific Palisades.
The law requires homeowners with homes in identified areas of the state as very high fire hazard severity zones to create an “ember-resistant zone” within five feet of the structure, eliminating materials that would likely be ignited by embers.
The very high fire hazard severity zone, “comprises most of the hilly and mountainous regions of the city of Los Angeles,” according to the LA Fire Department.
This includes the Palisades, the Palisades Highlands, Castellammare and portions of surrounding communities.
A law that went into effect 2019, which required all publicly owned California-based companies to have at least one woman director on the board, will now require a board with at least five members to have at least two women, and a board with six members to have three women.
Assembly Bill 97 will also require companies to hire directors from underrepresented communities, meaning individuals who self-identify as, “Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Alaska Native, or who self-[identify] as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.”
The law is “designed to increase representation of women and minorities in job positions in which they are historically underrepresented,” according to the bill.
Assembly Bill 3121 establishes a task force comprised of Regents of the University of California to study, research and develop reparation proposals for African Americans, with special consideration for African Americans who are descendants of persons enslaved in the United States.
This would require the task force to “recommend, among other things, the form of compensation that should be awarded, the instrumentalities through which it should be awarded, and who should be eligible for this compensation,” according to the bill.
Although existing law already prohibits individuals from driving with a phone in-hand, the consequences are getting stricter.
Existing law under Assembly Bill 47 offers exemption for telephone use as described from being counted as points against a driver’s record for purposes of suspension or revocation of driving privilege.
Beginning July 1, the bill will make violations that occur within 36 months of a prior conviction for the same offense subject to a violation point against a driver’s record.
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