New laws in California for 2020


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Hundreds of new laws went into effect in California on Jan. 1. Newly enacted legislation includes expansion on the protections of victims, more rights to reformed criminals, stricter gun laws and protections for consumers. Courts and criminal justice: Californians who pose a danger to themselves or others will have a harder time accessing guns. With AB 61, teachers, employers and co-workers can petition the courts to take guns from dangerous people, and gun restraining orders can can be extended to 5 years (AB 1076) Non-vehicle related offenses, like failure to pay child support, can no longer result in a driver’s license suspension (SB 485). SB 310 helps diversify jury selection, including felons who have completed their sentences. According to the Merrill Balassone with the California Courts Newsroom, Advocates estimate the current limitation kept nearly one-third of black men in California from serving on juries, making it more difficult for defendants of color to be granted a jury of their peers.” Lawyers and court staff will receive training on implicit bias–bias towards racial groups based on stereotypes or unconscious beliefs. Courthouses will be considered “sensitive locations,” seeking to stop civil immigration arrests in courthouses to promote victims and witnesses to crimes coming forward (AB 330). AB330 will help low-income Californians will help provide legal help to low-income Californians dealing with cases like child custody and eviction. Children and families: SB 419 bans disciplinary suspensions from school starting in the sixth grade, operating under the arguments that removing kids from school has to punish “willful defiance” can encourage negative behaviors long term. SB 394 expands access to pretrial diversion programs and services to guardians of children under 18 as a means of avoiding incarceration, keeping families together. Other family-related law include: SB 495, which prohibits courts form considering sex, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation of parents or relatives when hearing child custody or visitation cases; and SB 30, which expands access to domestic partnership to all Californians, regardless of age or sexual identity (domestic partnerships were previous restricted to same-sex couples or those age 62 and up). Most importantly, adults who were victims of sexual assault as children will have more time to pursue legal action. AB 218 extends the statute of limitations, giving victims 14 more years to seek justice (from age 26 to 40). Online privacy protections: AB 375 allows for greater control over how companies like Facebook and Google handle user data, and allows for lawsuits in the case of data breaches when information was mishandled. AB 730 allows political candidates to sue over “deepfakes”–doctored video and audio that falsely represents the candidates without permission. Medical Coverage: Californians without health insurance in 2020 will pay a penalty on their 2021 tax returns. Per Gov. Newsom, revenue from the penalty will be used to provide assistance to access Covered California. Access to Medi-Cal for mothers experienced a maternity-related mental health disorder will be expanded from 60 days to 12 months. Undocumented young adults ages 19-25 may also be eligible to receive Medi-Cal benefits. Housing: It will be easier to build accessory dwelling units, an effort to combat the housing crisis. Landlords will be prohibited from evicting tenants without just cause and rent increases will be capped at five percent annually. A few more noteworthy laws: • The sale of cosmetic products that use ingredients tested on animals on or after Jan. 1. Will be banned (SB 1249). • Smoking is banned in state parks and beaches, except for on paved areas like parking lots (SB 8). • The use of latex gloves, which can cause allergies, is banned in food service establishments (SB 677). • The definition of beer has been expanded to include alcoholic beverages fermented with fruit, honey and herbs, in addition to barley, malt and hops (AB 205).  ]]>

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