Governor Gavin Newsom signed a number of bills into law that went into effect at the start of the new year.
Along with 2023 come many changes to laws governing traffic, official holidays, the workplace and more. Here are seven of the laws to be aware of as of Jan. 1.
Feather Alert System
Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1314 in 2022, which creates a system similar to Amber Alert but for indigenous people who have gone missing “under unexplained or suspicious circumstances.”
California Highway Patrol said the system went into effect on Jan. 1.
Minimum Wage Increase
California’s minimum wage will increase by 50 cents to $15.50. The state codified automatic annual minimum wage increases tied to inflation (but capped at 3.5%) in 2016.
Transparency of Pay Scales
Another new law requires companies with 15 or more employees to post pay scales in job postings.
The bill also requires companies with 100 or more employees to include “the median and mean hourly rate for each combination of race, ethnicity, and sex within each job category” in pay data reports they’re already required to submit to the state.
Newsom signed several new state holidays into law in September including Genocide Remembrance Day (April 24), Juneteenth (June 19) Lunar New Year (on the second or third new moon following the winter solstice) and Native American Day (fourth Friday of September).
A bill expanding the rights of farm workers in California to unionize took effect Jan. 1, but the legislature is already expected to alter the new law.
Newsom expressed problems with the bill prior to signing it but agreed to sign it after unions supporting the bill promised to work with lawmakers in the next legislative session to address his concerns.
Under another law that comes into effect in 2023, it is only an offense to cross the street at a non-designated area when “a reasonably careful person would realize there is an immediate danger of a collision.”
Previously, California law required vehicles to maintain 3 feet distance when passing bicycles headed in the same direction but a new law will now require vehicles to move into another lane “with due regard for safety and traffic conditions, if practicable and not prohibited by law.”
Maybe: Fast Food Labor Council
There’s one law that was scheduled to come into effect on Jan. 1 that has been put on hold until Californians can vote on it in 2024.
Newsom signed Assembly Bill 257 on Labor Day 2022, which would create a council to oversee labor conditions in the fast food industry. Since then, companies like McDonald’s, In-N-Out and fast food franchisees have been working to get a measure in front of voters to stop the council from being created.
The campaign announced that it turned in more than 1 million signatures to the Secretary of State’s office as part of the referendum process.
Before the year came to an end, the Los Angeles Times reported that a Sacramento County Superior Court judge put a temporary hold on the measure, which will now likely be decided in the November 2024 general election.