As of January 1, California has hundreds of new laws in the books that will expand crucial services to health, help increase housing, and protect workers. These are laws that we think are important for you to know about, and why we believe they will help work towards change.
ICUC believes the key to academic and personal success is ensuring we focus on the student as a whole. By understanding social and health barriers and addressing those issues with strong support systems, leaders can make sure students will have strong foundations to prosper in the classroom and in real-life.
- SB 14: Allows for absences in schools related to mental and behavioral health.
- SB 224: Middle and high schools that offer at least one course in health education must incorporate mental health into the course curriculum.
- AB 27 and SB 400: The bills streamline the process for districts and charter schools to better address the needs of homeless students and their families.
- AB 89 : Requires community colleges in California to create a universal policing curriculum and raises the minimum age for new officers from 18 to 21. The new law also requires that new officers have at least an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
ICUC believes that expanding access to voting increases election turnout and encourages further civic engagement among youth and people of color.
- AB 37: Voting by mail is here to stay. This bill ensures every voter will continue to receive ballots by mail, including for local elections. People will still be able to vote in-person, if they prefer that option.
ICUC believes expanding health access to ALL people and providing rapid response services for people in hardship will help bridge the gap between underserved communities and institutions.
- AB 133: Allows for undocumented people 50 years old and older to be eligible for MediCal.
- AB 362: Will require cities and counties to provide uniform statewide health and safety standards at homeless shelters.
- SB 510: Health insurance companies must offer free covid-19 testing to their customers.
- SB 221: Health plans must provide a follow up appointment for non-urgent mental health issues within 10 days.
- AB 367: Beginning in the 2022-23 school year, public schools with grades 6 through 12, community colleges, and public universities will be required to stock restrooms with free pads or tampons.
- AB 453: Sexual battery will now include non-consentual condom removal, also known as “stealthing.” In other words, removing a condom without proper verbal consent is now against the law under civil law.
ICUC believes in the right for affordable and adequate housing. This means our communities deserve to have their needs for adequate and affordable housing met. Data shows that the Inland Empire is in desperate need of housing, with the demand being about 37 times higher than the state average (SB CO Vital Signs Report, 2018).
- SB 8: Limits local governments from “downzoning” neighborhoods without planning to increase density in other areas until 2030. The law will also provide more regulation in attempts to provide more affordable housing statewide.
- SB 9: Allows for as many as two housing duplexes, two houses with attached units, or a combination to exist on single-family lots across California without local approval, if proper requirements are met.
- SB 10: Allows cities or counties statewide to pass ordinances to allow streamlined construction of 10 units on a single parcel.
ICUC believes that immigrants of all walks and faiths should be welcomed, and any attempts or narratives that use language of hate and division will be counteracted by our advocacy and organizing.
- AB 600: Ensures that crimes targeting people due to immigration status are considered hate crimes.
- AB 1096: Officially removes the word “alien” from California state code. Instead, the word will be replaced by “noncitizen” or simply “immigrant.”
Labor and Economic Justice
ICUC believes workers deserve fair wages, strong benefits, and safe working conditions. To improve the quality of life for Inland Empire residents, we must continue to drive policy that prioritizes labor rights and economic justice.
- SB 3: Businesses with 26 or more employees will be required to pay a $15 minimum wage beginning this year. Since the law went into effect in 2017, the minimum wage in California has steadily increased to accommodate employers (both small and large).
- SB 331: Bars employers and landlords from stopping workers from speaking out against disrimination or sexual harrasment. It also bars companies from providing severance packages that prevent outgoing employees from speaking about what happened at work.
- SB 62: California garment workers must be paid by the hour, according to this new bill. The new law will ensure manufacturers and companies are accountable for worker and wage violations.
- AB 701: Companies like Amazon will be required by law to tell employees about workplace quotas and will be prohibited from instituting unethical quotas that deny workers basic rights, such as going to the restroom.
ICUC believes that the culture of policing must be radically transformed to eliminate violence and end the vicious cycle of incarceration in BIPOC communities.
- SB 2: Allows state officials to strip police officers of their certification for misconduct. This law will aim to prevent officers with a deep record of misconduct from resigning before facing disciplinary action or finding another job within another agency within the state.
- SB 16: Expands public access to police misconduct records related to unreasonable or excessive force, discrimination, or other prejudiced behavior.
- AB 48 and AB 98: Police are barred from using tear gas and rubber bullets during protests, unless required under life-threatening circumstances, according to AB 48. They will have to report the use of “less lethal weapons.” Police are also prohibited from assaulting or interfering with reporters covering protests, under AB 98.
Sources: CalMatters, California Legislative Information, EdJoin, Los Angeles Times.