Record: New California legal guidelines for 2021

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – A new year comes with new laws.

We are just days away from 2021 and many news laws will go into effect across California.

Here are just some of the new laws for 2021 (CLICK HERE for full list):

AB 8 — Unemployment benefits: direct deposit

This bill would, by July 1, 2021, provide that the recipient of the unemployment compensation benefits has the right to choose whether the benefits payments are directly deposited into a qualifying account or applied to a prepaid debit card.

This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.

AB 10 — Pupil instruction: in-person instruction: distance learning

This bill would specify that the requirement to provide in-person instruction applies when that instruction is allowed under state and county public health orders.

This bill would specify that, between March 1, 2021, and June 30, 2021, distance learning is authorized on an agency-wide or schoolwide level as a result of an order from a state public health officer or a local public health officer requiring school campus closure. The bill would also include, in addition to pupils, certificated employees who are medically fragile or would be put at risk by in-person instruction or who are self-quarantining within the scope of this provision.

AB 15 — COVID-19 relief: tenancy: Tenant Stabilization Act of 2021.

This bill would extend the definition of “COVID-19 rental debt” as unpaid rent or any other unpaid financial obligation of a tenant that came due between March 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021. The bill would also extend the repeal date of the act to January 1, 2026. The bill would make other conforming changes to align with these extended dates. By extending the repeal date of the act, the bill would expand the crime of perjury and create a state-mandated local program.

AB 17 — Peace officers: disqualification from employment

Existing law disqualifies certain persons from holding office or being employed as a peace officer, including any person who has been convicted of a felony.

This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to amend this provision governing the disqualification of certain persons from holding office or being employed as a peace officer.

AB 18 — Sexual assault forensic evidence: testing

This bill would require a law enforcement agency, for any sexual assault forensic evidence received by the law enforcement agency prior to January 1, 2016, to submit that evidence to the crime lab on or before January 31, 2023. The bill would additionally require a crime lab, for any sexual assault evidence kit received by a law enforcement agency prior to January 1, 2016, and submitted to the crime lab on or after January 1, 2022, to process that evidence kit no later than January 31, 2024, except as specified

AB 19 — Unemployment insurance compensation: COVID-19 pandemic: temporary benefits

This bill would require the department to provide, until July 1, 2022, following the termination of assistance pursuant to PUA and PEUC or any other federal or state supplemental unemployment compensation payments for unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to an individual’s weekly benefit amount as otherwise provided for by existing unemployment compensation law, unemployment compensation benefits equivalent to the terminated federal or state supplemental unemployment compensation payments for the remainder of the duration of time the individual is unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, notwithstanding the weekly benefit cap. The bill would prohibit any unemployment compensation benefits authorized by the bill from being charged against the reserve account of any employer.

AB 25 — Worker classification: employees and independent contractors

This bill would generally repeal provisions relating to the “ABC” test for various specified occupations and business relationships. The bill would, instead, require the determination of whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor to be based on the specific multifactor test set forth in Borello, including whether the person to whom service is rendered has the right to control the manner and means of accomplishing the result desired, and other identified factors. The bill would make related, conforming changes.

AB 26 — Peace officers: use of force

This bill would require those law enforcement policies to require those officers to immediately report potential excessive force, and to intercede when present and observing an officer using excessive force, as defined. The bill would additionally require those policies to, among other things, prohibit retaliation against officers that report violations of law or regulation of another officer to a supervisor, as specified, and to require that an officer who fails to intercede be disciplined in the same manner as the officer who used excessive force. By imposing additional duties on local agencies, this bill would create a state-mandated local program.

AB 35 — Social media platforms: false information

This bill would require a person that operates a social media platform, as defined, to disclose whether or not that social media platform has a policy or mechanism in place to address the spread of misinformation, as specified. The bill would require the disclosure to be made easily accessible on the social media platform’s website and mobile application. The bill would authorize the Attorney General or any district attorney, county counsel, or city attorney to enforce violations of its provisions and would subject a person to a civil penalty of $1,000 for each day the person is in violation of the bill’s provisions.

AB 37 — Elections: vote by mail ballots

This bill would extend these requirements to all elections. By requiring a county elections officials to mail a ballot to every registered voter, and to take other actions, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would also make various conforming and technical changes.

AB 43 — Traffic safety

This bill would require, beginning June 1, 2022, and every 6 months thereafter, Caltrans to convene a committee of external design experts to advise on revisions to the Highway Design Manual.

This bill would require the California Traffic Safety Program to include a traffic safety monitoring program that identifies and addresses locations with pedestrian- and bicyclist-related crashes, upon appropriation of state funds for this purpose.

AB 45 — Industrial hemp products

This bill would require a manufacturer of dietary supplements and food that includes industrial hemp to be able to demonstrate that all parts of the plant used come from a state or country that has an established and approved industrial hemp program, as defined, that inspects or regulates hemp under a food safety program or equivalent criteria to ensure safety for human or animal consumption and that the industrial hemp cultivator or grower is in good standing and compliance with the governing laws of the state or country of origin.

AB 46 — California Youth Empowerment Act

This bill would create the California Youth Empowerment Act to address, among other issues, the growing need to engage youth directly with policymakers. The bill would establish the California Youth Empowerment Commission in state government consisting of 25 voting commissioners between 14 and 25 years of age and meeting specified requirements, with 21 members appointed by the Governor, 2 at-large members appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules, and 2 at-large members appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly, along with several ex officio, nonvoting members from various geographic regions of the state. 

AB 58 — Pupil health: suicide prevention policies and training: school-based health programs: pilot program

This bill would require a local educational agency, on or before June 1, 2022, to review and update its policy on pupil suicide prevention, and revise its training materials, to incorporate best practices identified by the department in the department’s model policy. The bill would require a local educational agency, commencing with the 2022–23 school year, to provide suicide awareness and prevention training, at the beginning of each school year, to teachers of pupils in all of the grades served by the local educational agency. By imposing additional duties on local educational agencies, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would require the department, on or before June 1, 2022, to complete the development of, and issue to local educational agencies, resources and guidance on how to conduct suicide awareness and prevention training remotely.

AB 62 — Income taxes: credits: costs to comply with COVID-19 regulations

This bill would allow a credit against those taxes for each taxable year beginning on or after January 1, 2021, to a qualified taxpayer, as defined, in an amount equal to the total amount paid or incurred during the taxable year by the qualified taxpayer to comply with the regulations adopted by the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board on November 19, 2020, relating to COVID-19 prevention and approved by the Office of Administrative Law. The bill also would state the intent of the Legislature to comply with the additional information requirement for any bill authorizing a new income tax credit.

AB 64 — Electricity: renewable energy and zero-carbon resources: state policy: strategy

The bill would require the PUC, Energy Commission, and state board, in consultation with all balancing authorities, to additionally develop a strategy, by an unspecified date, on how to achieve the above-described state policy in a cost-effective and environmentally beneficial manner. The bill would require the strategy to include, among other things, a plan to promote the development of technologies that can help achieve that state policy.

AB 71 — Statewide homelessness solutions program

This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to create a comprehensive, statewide homelessness solutions program. This bill would create the Bring California Home Fund in the State Treasury for the purpose of providing at least $2,400,000 annually to fund a comprehensive, statewide homeless solutions program upon appropriation by the Legislature. The bill would require the Bring California Home Fund to contain revenues derived from specified changes to the Personal Income Tax Law or the Corporation Tax Law that are enacted on or after the effective of the date of this bill.

AB 73 — Employment safety: agricultural workers: wildfire smoke

This bill would, among other things, require the division to designate a wildfire smoke strike team within each regional office for purposes of enforcing regulations regarding air quality safety for agricultural workers, as defined. The bill would require the department, by January 1, 2023, in coordination with other state agencies to establish a stockpile of N95 filtering facepiece respirators, as defined, of sufficient size to adequately equip all agricultural workers during wildfire smoke emergencies. The bill would require the department to establish guidelines for procurement, management, and distribution of the N95 respirators.

AB 76 — Open California Schools Act

This bill would require a local educational agency, as defined, to offer in-person instruction, as defined, as soon as state and county health orders and guidelines no longer prohibit the local educational agency from reopening for full-time in-person instruction, as specified. During any period of time in the 2020–21 or 2021–22 school years that state and county health orders and guidelines prohibit a local educational agency from offering full-time in-person instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bill would authorize a local educational agency to offer a hybrid model including both in-person and distance learning that meets certain requirements.

AB 93 — Pandemics: priority for medical treatment: food supply industry workers

This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to prioritize workers in the food supply industry, including, but not limited to, field workers and grocery workers, for rapid testing and vaccination programs in response to pandemics, including COVID-19.

AB 125 — Food and agriculture: climate crisis: COVID-19 recovery

This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact subsequent legislation to issue a bond to support solutions to the climate crisis and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that would create a more equitable and resilient food and farming system.

ACA 2 — Death penalty

The California Constitution requires that the death penalty not be deemed to be, or to constitute, the infliction of cruel or unusual punishment.

This measure would amend the California Constitution to delete that provision and instead would prohibit the death penalty from being imposed as a punishment for any violations of law.

SB 7 — Environmental quality: Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2021

This bill would require a lead agency to prepare a master EIR for a general plan, plan amendment, plan element, or specific plan for housing projects where the state has provided funding for the preparation of the master EIR. The bill would allow for limited review of proposed subsequent housing projects that are described in the master EIR if the use of the master EIR is consistent with specified provisions of CEQA.

SB 17 — Public health crisis: racism

This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to require the department, in collaboration with the Health in All Policies Program, the Office of Health Equity, and other relevant departments, agencies, and stakeholders, to address racism as a public health crisis.

SB 19 — Wine growers: tasting rooms

This bill would revise the prohibition described above to allow a winegrower or brandy manufacturer to sell wine or brandy to consumers, or to engage in winetasting activities, at up to 2 licensed branch premises. By broadening the definition of a crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program

SB 26 — Collegiate athletics: student-athlete compensation and representation

This bill, the Fair Pay to Play Act, would make these provisions operative on January 1, 2022, or when specified rules changes adopted by the Board of Governors of the National Collegiate Athletic Association take effect, whichever occurs first. The bill would prohibit California postsecondary educational institutions except community colleges, and every athletic association, conference, or other group or organization with authority over intercollegiate athletics, from providing a prospective intercollegiate student-athlete with compensation in relation to the athlete’s athletic reputation, or preventing a student participating in intercollegiate athletics from earning compensation as a result of the use of the student’s athletic reputation. 

SB 40 — Health care workforce development: California Medicine Scholars Program

This bill would create the California Medicine Scholars Program, a 5-year pilot program commencing January 1, 2023, and would require the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development to establish and facilitate the pilot program. The bill would require the pilot program to establish a regional pipeline program for community college students to pursue premedical training and enter medical school, in an effort to address the shortage of primary care physicians in California and the widening disparities in access to care in vulnerable and underserved communities, including building a comprehensive statewide approach to increasing the number and representation of minority primary care physicians in the state. The bill would require the office to contract with a managing agency for the pilot program, as specified.

SB 52 — State of emergency: local emergency: sudden and severe energy shortage: planned power outage

This bill would expand the definition of “sudden and severe energy shortage” to include a “deenergization event,” defined as a planned power outage, as specified, and would make a deenergization event one of those conditions constituting a state of emergency and a local emergency.

SB 55 — Very high fire hazard severity zone: state responsibility area: development prohibition

This bill would, in furtherance of specified state housing production and wildfire mitigation goals, prohibit the creation or approval of a new development, as defined, in a very high fire hazard severity zone or a state responsibility area. By imposing new duties on local governments with respect to the approval of new developments in very high fire hazard severity zones and state responsibility areas, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

SB 64 — Mobile home parks: emergency relief: coronavirus

This bill would prohibit the management from terminating or attempting to terminate the tenancy of a homeowner or resident who is impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as specified, on the grounds of failure of the homeowner or resident to comply with a reasonable rule or regulation of the park that is part of the rental agreement or failure to pay rent, utility charges, or reasonable incidental service charges during a declared state of emergency or local emergency related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and during a 120-day time period after the state of emergency or local emergency is terminated, unless necessary to protect the public health or safety.

SB 69 — North Coast Railroad Authority: right-of-way: Great Redwood Trail Agency: Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District

This bill would require the authority, or a successor agency, to convey and transfer all of its rights, interests, privileges, and title, lien free, relating to the southern portion of a specified right-of-way to the district, as provided.

SB 74 — Keep California Working Act

This bill, the Keep California Working Act, would establish the Keep California Working Grant Program. The act would require the Small Business Advocate to administer the program and award grants, of an unspecified amount, to small businesses and nonprofit organizations that have experienced economic hardship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The act would appropriate $2.6 billion dollars to the Office of Small Business Advocate for those purposes.

SB 81 — Firearms: licensed firearms dealers

Existing law generally requires a licensed firearms dealer to conduct business exclusively in buildings designated in the license. Existing law provides limited exceptions to this requirement for gun shows, auctions, and raffles, as provided.

This bill would make a technical, nonsubstantive change to those provisions.

This list will be updated.

CLICK HERE for full list