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CALIFORNIA — New state laws that affect the workplace, firearms, rental security deposits and more in California begin this month.

SECURITY DEPOSIT CAP (AB 12)

On July 1, a law took effect that prohibits landlords from charging more than one month rent for security deposits.

Assembly member Matt Haney, who authored the bill, said the practice of charging two or three times the monthly rental cost can create “insurmountable barriers” to housing affordability.

California joins 11 other states in the country to limit security deposits to only one month’s rent.

AB 12 does not impact small landlords that own only two properties with a total of no more than four units.

Landlords can still seek damages from tenants who are responsible for harm to the property that exceeds the amount of the security deposit.

AMMO AND GUN TAX (AB 28)

Otherwise known as the Gun Violence Prevention and School Safety Act, the new law imposes an 11% tax on guns, gun parts and ammunition. 

It is expected to raise $160 million annually to fund school safety and violence prevention programs, including initiatives to prevent mass shootings, bolster firearm investigations and remove guns from domestic abusers.

BUILDING HOMEOWNERSHIP (SB 684)

Requires jurisdictions to approve housing projects with 10 or less units, on lots less than five acres, without public hearings and votes. Applies in areas that are zoned for multifamily housing.

Sen. Anna Caballero, who authored the bill, says it expedites the permitting process to encourage construction of small homeownership development projects.

DATE-RAPE DRUG TESTING KITS IN BARS (AB 1013)

Requires bars and nightclubs to offer testing kits that detect the presence of drugs used to spike or lace drinks that are often used as a means to facilitate sexual assault.

Authored by Assembly member Josh Lowenthal.

ELIMINATING HIDDEN/JUNK FEES (SB 478)

Bars businesses from adding undisclosed fees at the end of transactions. Includes online event tickets, lodging and other transactions.

Senator Bill Dodd said the new law will “level the playing field” for consumers.

“Restaurant customers shouldn’t be surprised when they get their checks by a slew of extra charges they were not expecting,” Sen. Dodd said. “Many restaurants are up-front with their business practices but too many aren’t, necessitating action,” Dodd stated in a press release.

A companion bill, SB 1524, mandates that all fees are clearly posted and visible at businesses.

KEEP KIDS IN SCHOOL (SB 274)

Prohibits schools from suspending Transitional Kindergarten-12th-grade students for “willful defiance” such as wearing a hat backward, falling asleep in class, or “talking back to a teacher,” Author Sen. Nancy Skinner said.

In a press release, Skinner said that these suspensions have been disproportionately directed at students of color, LGBTQ students, students who are homeless or in foster care, and those with disabilities.

“Suspending students, no matter the age, doesn’t improve student behavior, and it greatly increases the likelihood that the student will fail or drop out,” she stated in a press release.

MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS IN SCHOOLS (AB 230)

Extends existing law to require schools with any combination of classes from grades 3 to 12 to offer free menstrual products in the school’s restrooms. Authored by Assembly member Eloise Reyes.

RIGHT TO REPAIR ACT (SB 244)

Requires companies that make consumer electronics to provide replacement parts, diagnostic information, and service literature to consumers and repair businesses.

Author Susan Eggman says the bill gives consumers the ability to repair their devices, and also helps reduce the number of electronics that are thrown out every year.

WORKPLACE VIOLENCE PREVENTION (SB 553)

This new law requires most California employers to create a workplace violence prevention plan, and to train their employees on the plan.

Sen. Dave Cortese said that SB 553 was inspired by the mass shooting at the Valley Transportation Authority rail yard in San Jose, in which a gunman killed nine people.

On that horrible day, we quickly realized how safety protocols can and must be enhanced. In the following days and months, more solutions for preventing workplace violence emerged,” Cortese said.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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