Several new laws went into effect on Jan. 1 in California, and most of them affect East County residents.
Among them are:
Proposition 12 – It says hens have to be housed in a minimum of 144 square inches per hen and that calves that are intended to be sold as veal must be in a space with a minimum of 43 square feet per calf. The second part of this proposition has gone into effect, and egg-laying hens must not be in cages and breeding pigs must be given 24 square feet of space per pig.
Meat industry analysts say this will increase the cost of meat, and perhaps cause a shortage.
Senate Bill 389 – has allowed patrons to buy cocktails to go from bars and restaurants, and is forecast to help those businesses as it will be continued this year.
Assembly Bill 367 – Public schools, including colleges, must now provide free menstrual products to students on campus. This followed a nationwide push for accessible pads, tampons and other things.
The Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2021 – requires public schools to place in women’s and all-gender restrooms from grades 6-12 an adequate supply of free products before the start of the next academic year. It also requires all California State University schools and each community college district to do this.
Assembly Bill 101 – Starting with the class of 2024-25, CSU students will be required to complete at least one three-unit ethnic studies course. But it won’t increase the number of credits needed to graduate. Some said this course, which examines Latino, is overdue while others said its first draft was too politically correct.
Assembly 1084 – Large department stores (500 or more employees) must have a gender-neutral toy aisle starting this year. Critics say the government should not tell stores to lay out their sections.
Advocates say such aisles will help kids express themselves more freely. Fines for not complying start at $250 and increase to $500 for subsequent offenses.
Senate Bill 1383 – Residents and businesses must compost food scraps instead of simply throwing them out in the garbage. If they end up in landfills, they release methane, a gas toxic to the environment. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gases that come from decomposing organic materials.
Senate Bill 224 – Middle and high schools that already teach health education must include mental health as part of their curriculum. The goal is to teach mental health wellness to teens and help them identify when they need help.
Senate Bill 2 – prevents police departments from transferring officers who have committed serious misconduct to other departments.
Assembly Bill 286 – Tips for food delivery services and apps must go to the individual driver, not the service. Such services also cannot charge someone a higher price than what is listed on the menu/website when the order is placed.
Minimum wage – The state’s minimum wage will increase to $15 per hour for businesses with 26 or more employees – an increase of $1 per hour. Employers with 25 or fewer workers must raise their rate to 14 per hour, $1 higher than last year.
Police reform laws – Gov. Gavin Newsom signed police reform bills that include not allowing police to use rubber bullets or tear gas as crowd control methods -- unless police have no recourse.
Police officers now also have to be 21 years old and have a bachelor’s degree.