New California laws taking effect in 2021


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — With the new year upon us, here are some laws that are going into effect for Californians.  


No penalty for damaging vehicle if while rescuing child from car (A.B. 2717) — Jan. 1, 2021  

This will exempt an individual “from civil or criminal liability for trespassing or damaging a vehicle when rescuing a child who is 6 years old or younger and who is in immediate danger from heat, cold, lack of ventilation, or other dangerous circumstances,” according to the California Highway Patrol.  

Must pull over or slow down on local streets, roads for certain vehicles (A.B. 2285)  Jan. 1, 2021

This adds to the current “Move Over, Slow Down” law to apply to local streets and roads, not just freeways. If drivers are approaching an emergency vehicle with emergency lights, tow trucks and CalTrans vehicles, drivers must pull over or slow to a reasonable speed.

Violating the hands-off cell phone law twice results in penalty to driver’s record (A.B. 47)  July 1, 2021  

Violating the hands-free law for “a second time within 36 months of a prior conviction for the same offense will result in a point being added to a driver’s record,” according to the California Highway Patrol. 

This applies to people talking or texting (except for hands-free use) and by using any devices while driving by a person under 18 years old. 

Real ID deadline — Oct. 1, 2021

Getting a Real ID driver’s license or state ID card is optional, according to the California DMV. But if you want to continue using your driver’s license or ID card to “board domestic flights within the U.S.” and “enter secure federal facilities,” it is recommended that you apply. 

People must complete the online application and bring required documents before visiting a field office.

You can learn more on the California DMV’s website here. 


Minimum wage hike to $14/hour Jan. 1, 2021

According to California’s Labor Commissioner’s Office, a minimum wage increment/increase for all industries will take effect the next year. For employers with 25 employees or less, the minimum wage is increased to $13/hour. 

Employers must inform employees, take measures if COVID-19 exposure occurs (A.B. 685) — Jan. 1, 2021

The employer would be required to provide written notice of exposure to employees on the worksite premises, as well as provide information about COVID-related benefits to exposed workers. The employer must also report the exposure to their local public health agency within 48 hours. 

The COVID-19 imminent hazard provision “would be repealed on January 1, 2023,” according to the bill’s text

Expansion of California’s family and medical leave law (S.B. 1383) — Jan. 1, 2021

People who directly employ five or more employees will be required to provide unpaid family and medical leave to those who qualify, according to the bill’s text. It also will allow employees to take protected leave to care for an expanded set of family members.

New “Military Assist” paid family leave Jan. 1, 2021

California Paid Family Leave will add a new claim type called Military Assist. The benefits will be available to “eligible Californians who need time off work to participate in a qualifying event because of the military deployment of their spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, or child to a foreign country.”

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