As we prepare to ring in the new year, many new rules are set to take effect in California on Jan. 1 following Gov. Gavin Newsom signing 770 new laws in 2021.
Among the hundreds of new laws, some are bizarre, others very important, ranging from new rules for bacon making to mandating mental health instruction.
Here are some of the highlights of laws set to take effect in 2022:
While already in place in certain cities, California is set to become the first state to require a $15-an-hour minimum wage for businesses with more than 25 employees.
Smaller businesses are set to be required to pay employees $14 in the new year and increase to $15 on Jan. 1, 2023.
California also became the first state to bar warehouse retailers like Amazon from firing workers for missing quotas that interfere with bathroom and rest breaks, as well as requiring the garment industry to pay workers by the hour.
Starting July 1, concerned family members, teachers, coworkers and employers are set to be able to ask a judge to seize ghost guns, which are purchased in parts and assembled at home, from someone they think could be a danger to themselves or others.
Starting in 2022, all California residents and businesses are expected to be required to sort their organic waste from the trash, though fines won’t start being issued until 2024.
Voting by mail
While in-person voting is still an option, a new law set to take effect in January makes the COVID-19 pandemic executive order that sent every registered voter a mail-in ballot permanent and expands it to include local elections.
An animal welfare law passed by voters in 2018, this law set to take effect in 2022 requires that breeding pigs, egg-laying chickens and veal calves have enough room to stand and turn around.
Starting in the 2022-23 school year, middle and high schools are soon set to be required to start class no earlier than 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., respectively.
Additionally, public schools in grades six or higher are expected to stock restrooms with free pads or tampons.
Another pandemic rule extension is set to allow the sale of takeout alcoholic drinks through 2026.
Restaurants are also set to be prohibited from handing out single-use silverware or condiments without a customer requesting them.
A similar order was issued by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors earlier this year in the midst of the pandemic.
In another state first, California is set to require large department stores with at least 500 employees to display products like toys and toothbrushes in gender-neutral ways, though enforcement isn’t set to start until 2024.
Law enforcement changes
In the aftermath of protests in 2020, a new law is set to prohibit police from using rubber bullets or tear gas to disperse crowds at a protest.
Another new law bars a type of restraint hold that has led to deaths and specifies when officers have a duty to intervene to prevent or report excessive force.
Additionally, a different law expands the list of police misconduct records that must be made public.
California is also set to increase the minimum age to become a police officer from 18 to 21, while also requiring the state attorney general to investigate all fatal police-involved shootings of unarmed civilians.