SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With a new year comes new laws going into effect.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed 770 new bills last legislative session, some of which go into effect starting Saturday.
Legislators around the state successfully passed legislation addressing climate change, law enforcement and the housing crisis.
And that's just scratching the surface.
Here's what you need to know about some of the most consequential laws set to take effect in 2022.
Law enforcement and criminal justice
Police reform in the U.S. has proved to be polarizing through the decades, now on the local level more than ever.
The accessibility of social media and its reach means law enforcement officers are more vulnerable to scrutiny — a dynamic seen as either necessary, or an overreach depending on who you ask.
Now California has passed a slate of new legislation establishing new requirements for law enforcement: police officers to be at least 21 and have a bachelor's degree, public meetings must be held regarding local use of military equipment and more.
As far as addressing the criminal justice system, one bill allows a court to grant probation to someone convicted of specified drug offenses currently either ineligible or presumptively ineligible for probation.
Another bill criminalizes the act of stealthing, also known as nonconsensual condom removal. It will now be added to the existing civil sexual battery statute. Distinctions between spousal sexual assault and all other sexual assault have now been eliminated as well.
School and work requirements
COVID-19 related mandates aren't the only new rules recently imposed on schools and work environments.
One bill requires the Employment Development Department (EDD) to give a person additional notification before disqualifying them from receiving benefits, while another requires warehouse employers to disclose quotas and pace-of-work standards to workers.
Public schools also have new requirements, requiring they stock 50% of its 6th through 12th grade restrooms with an "adequate" supply of free menstrual products.
Housing crisis, wildfires, bacon & mail ballots
While new legislation regarding the state's housing supply and affordability crisis and vote-by-mail requirements remain deeply dividing, another bill regarding wildfires passed unanimously in both houses of the California legislature.
Starting Jan. 1, 2022, no one can be held financially liable for the costs of putting out a prescribed fire, in certain circumstances. Prescribed fires are controlled and planned fires used to burn away existing wildfire hazards and block off paths to future infernos.
Proposition 12 – the Farm Animal Confinement Proposition – was passed by Californians with overwhelming support in 2018. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2022, Prop 12 increases the minimum confinement area allowed for “breeding pigs, egg-laying chickens and veal calves.” It also bans the sale of products from those farms that fail to meet those new confinement standards.
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