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How Will New California Laws Directly Impact You in 2020?

Governor Newsom signed laws that protect and encourage Californians to vote. – Photo by Alex Cordero / Beacon Media News

By Alex Cordero

Are you prepared for the hundreds of new laws that take effect on Jan. 1, 2020 in California? Governor Gavin Newsom signed hundreds of bills during his first year as governor of the Golden State, causing tidal waves of change in the hopes the rest of the country will follow suit in areas such as employment laws, education and voting policies.

Perhaps the most popular laws taking effect in 2020 are the many new employment policies designed to be in the best interest of employees.

At Work

Let’s take a look at what may or may not directly impact you at work…

1. AB 5 Worker Status: Employees and Independent Contractors, aka “The Gig Law”

As of Jan. 1, 2020, companies are required to conduct what is called the ABC test for contractors. The test redefines what qualifies a person to be hired as independent contractors (ICs) by the hiring company.

Under this new California law the following are the requirements by State Law to be hired as an IC:

(A) The person is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact.

(B) The person performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.

(C) The person is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.

Some trades will be exempt from the test such as doctors, lawyers, accountants and private investigators to name a few.

This could lead companies to hire more ICs as employees, therefore providing benefits that some companies do not find to be cost effective for business, and to raise the cost of providing business services to make up for the cost of paying benefits to more employees.

It could also potentially cause many people to lose their current jobs as contractors, which many rely on as their main source of income.

On the flipside some people are calling this a revolutionary employment law because it restricts businesses from hiring under contractor criteria making companies provide basic benefits to their employees covered by state law.

However, time will only tell how the gig law will eventually impact Californians.

2. SB 142 Employees: Lactation Accommodation

This law will require that employers provide a reasonable amount of break time for employees wishing to lactate breast milk for their child each time they need to do so. In addition, employers are required to provide a lactation room and/or location that meets State Law standards for the employee to express breast milk in private.

Per SB 142, here are a few requirements the lactation room should have:

(1) Be safe, clean, and free of hazardous materials, as defined in Section 6382.

(2) Contain a surface to place a breast pump and personal items.

(3) Contain a place to sit.

(4) Have access to electricity or alternative devices, including, but not limited to, extension cords or charging stations, needed to operate an electric or battery-powered breast pump.

3. SB 671 Employment: Payment of Wages: Print Shoot Employees

Per the SB 671 legislation, a “print shoot employee” is, “an individual hired for a period of limited duration to render services relating to or supporting a still image shoot, including film or digital photography, for use in print, digital, or internet media.” The law entitles print shoot employees to receive payment of wages earned and unpaid at the time of termination.
Are you one of many Californians anticipating for some of these labor laws to become effective?

At School

Next, we introduce you to some of the new laws that will impact the educational system in our state that will also become effective in January 2020.

1. SB 328 Pupil Attendance: School Start Time

This law will require the schoolday for high schools students to begin no earlier than 8:30 a.m., and middle schools to start their regular school day no earlier than 8 am. The new beginning hours of study for children and youth does not prohibit schools from offering classes or activities before or after the new school day time schedule.

(c) This section shall be implemented by middle schools and high schools no later than July 1, 2022, or the date on which a school district’s or charter school’s respective collective bargaining agreement that is operative on Jan. 1, 2020, expires, whichever is later.

(d) This section shall not apply to rural school districts.

2. SB 24 Public Health: Public University Student Health Centers: Abortion by Medication Techniques

All Universities of California and California State Universities must provide abortion medication on campuses by 2023.

(d) All California public university campuses have on-campus student health centers, but none of these health centers currently provide abortion by medication techniques. Abortion by medication techniques is extremely safe, highly effective, and cost effective. Abortion by medication techniques is an essential part of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care, and should be accessible at on-campus student health centers.

The law is designed to aid students who decide to terminate pregnancies, minimize challenges that occur after termination of pregnancy, and to reinforce that abortion care is a constitutional right.

(c) The state has an interest in ensuring that every pregnant person in California who wants to have an abortion can obtain access to that care as easily and as early in pregnancy as possible. When pregnant young people decide that abortion is the best option for them, having early, accessible care can help them stay on track to achieve their educational and other aspirational life plans.

3. SB 1127 Pupil Health: Administration of Medicinal Cannabis: Schoolsites

This new law will allow schools to decide if parents can give their children medical marijuana on campus. The law stipulates that, “(4) Before administering the medicinal cannabis, the parent or guardian shall provide to an employee of the school a valid written medical recommendation for medicinal cannabis for the pupil to be kept on file at the school.”

At the Voting Booth

Last, but not least, the following laws we are about to mention will play a major role in our voting process. As we anticipate a big year for political changes in the nation and in our state and local districts in 2020, by signing the following bills into law, Governor Newsom looks to empower California voters.

1. AB 49 California Voter Protection Act of 2019

“This bill, the California Voter Protection Act of 2019, would require the elections official to begin mailing vote by mail ballots no later than 29 days before an election and would require that the mailing be complete within five days. The bill would prohibit the county elections official from discriminating against any region or precinct in the county in choosing which ballots to mail first within the prescribed five-day mailing period.”

2. AB 59  Elections: Polling Places: College and University Campuses

This bill will allow government officials to consider public or private universities or college campuses as voting center locations. All of the voting equipment will be provided by the State and the cost will be reimbursed just as current laws and mandates stand for current voting locations across the state. The law will include but is not limited to: voting ballot drop off locations, voting registration and or voting ballots update services, voting ballot replacements upon proper request and each location should at least have three voting machines.

3. AB 17 Elections: Vote by Mail Ballots

This law prohibits employers from requiring or requesting that employees bring their vote by mail (VBM) to work to vote at work. The fine for employers violating this law will be subject to a civil fine of up to $10,000 per election.

Other laws that will take effect in 2020:

  • No more contracts as of January 2020 for private prisons and immigration detention facilities will be renewed in California (AB-32).
  • There will be a 30 day waiting grace period between purchases for automatic rifles (SB 61).
  • People who have suffered child abuse will be allowed to file suits up until being 40 years of age (SB 436).
  • State Family Paid leave has extended from six to eight weeks (SB 83).
  • The San Gabriel Valley Regional Housing Trust will assist in funding housing for persons and families of extremely low, very low, and low income within the San Gabriel Valley Region (SB 751).

Many of these laws represent aggressive changes and will hopefully mean a better future for all Californians.

December 31, 2019

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Alejandra Cordero


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