Hundreds of New California Laws in 2020

The California Capitol building

While it is not practical to list all the new laws that went into effect on January 1, 2020 (unless otherwise noted) there are several that are noteworthy in that impact is likely to be felt by many. Below are just a sample of the bills that were signed into law. All the new laws that went into effect on January 1, 2020 can be found at:


AB 1019 Apprenticeships: Developmentally Disabled Persons
This bill adds the Department of rehabilitation and the Executive Director of the State Council to the Interagency Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship, requires that entity to form a subcommittee to address apprenticeship issues/needs for the IDD community and declares legislative intent to increase participation of people with IDD in apprenticeship programs.

AB 5 Worker Status: Employees and Independent Contractors (aka “gig worker bill”)
This bill requires CA to use the ABC Test to determine worker classification in wage-order claims and all provisions under the state Labor and Unemployment Insurance Codes. This change has the potential to reclassify millions of independent contractors as employees. The 3-part test must be met in order to classify a person as independent contractor which includes:

  1. Is the worker free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact?
  2. Does the worker perform work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business?
  3. Is the worker customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity?

Currently, several lawsuits have been filed to challenge the constitutionality of the new law but at least for now the new law is in effect.

AB 51 Employment Discrimination: Enforcement
This bill makes it unlawful for employers to impose arbitration agreements on employees as a condition of employment even if there is an opt-out provision.

Currently, this bill is being challenged as unconstitutional and on December 30, 2019 a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order halting the enforcement of the new law. A motion for a preliminary injunction is pending (to be heard Jan 10, 2020) so for now the status quo remains in place.

SB 142 Employees: Lactation Accommodation
This bill adds to existing lactation law by requiring lactation accommodations to have certain mandatory features, employers must have a lactation accommodation policy, implements significant changes to exemptions and expansion of penalties.


AB 605 Special Education: Assistive Technology
This bill requires local education agencies and charter schools to allow students to use school-purchased assistive technology devices at the student’s home if a student’s individualized education plan team determines the student’s needs require it.

AB 1172 Special Education: Non-Public Schools, Nonsectarian Schools or Agencies
This bill requires local education agencies (LEAs) to conduct on-sight monitoring, non-public schools must notify CA Department of Education of any student involved incident involving law enforcement, requires suspension or revocation of school certification if CDE investigation finds student health and safety has been compromised, requires non-public schools who served students with significant behavioral needs to have qualified behavior intervention staff on-site, and additional training for administrators and staff.

SB 419 Pupil Discipline: Willful Defiance
This bill has a delayed implementation date of July 1, 2020 and requires extension of the permanent prohibition against suspending a pupil enrolled in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 3 for disrupting school activities or otherwise willfully defied the valid authority of school staff to include grades 4 and 5 permanently; and to include grades 6 to 8, inclusive, until July 1, 2025; and applies these prohibitions to charter schools.


SB 329 Discrimination: Housing Source of Income
This bill redefines source of income as “lawful, verifiable income paid directly to a tenant or to a representative of a tenant, or paid to a housing owner or landlord on behalf of a tenant, including federal, state or local public assistance, and federal, state, or local housing subsidies, including, but not limited to, federal housing assistance vouchers issues under Section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937.”


AB 1351 Transit Operators: Paratransit and Dial-a-Ride Services: Assessment
This bill requires the Transportation Agency, in consultation with public transit operators, to conduct an assessment of the procedures public transit operators use to provide dial-a-ride and paratransit services to individuals with disabilities who are visiting their service territories and are certified to use another in-state public transit operator’s similar dial-a-ride and paratransit services. The bill would require the agency to publish the assessment on its internet website on or before July 1, 2021. The bill would require the agency, after conducting and publishing the assessment, to adopt guidelines for the development of a statewide program to enable individuals with disabilities who a public transit operator has certified to use its dial-a-ride and paratransit services to use another in-state public transit operator’s similar dial-a-ride and paratransit services.

Criminal Justice

SB 338 Senior and Disability Victimization: Law Enforcement Policies (Sponsored by The Arc/UCP CA Collaboration)
This bill establishes the Senior and Disability Justice Act which requires law enforcement agencies to adopt of amend their policies to include information and training on elder and dependent adult abuse. This bill has a delayed implementation date of October 1, 2020

AB 640 Sex Crimes: Investigations and Prosecution
This bill requires the training course developed by the advisory committee within the Office of Emergency Services (OES) for district attorneys on the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault cases, child sexual exploitation cases, and child sexual abuse, to also include training on the investigation and prosecution of sexual abuse cases involving victims with developmental disabilities.


AB 781 Medi-Cal: family Respite Care
This bill requires Medi-Cal coverage for pediatric day health care services to be provided at any time of day and on any day of the week, so long as the total number of authorized hours does not exceed up to 23 hours per calendar day.

SB 78 Health
A provision set forth in the budget bill establishes the state requirement for the individual mandate and penalty for health insurance

Emergency Services

AB 911 Office of Emergency Services: Emergency Information
This bill requires the Office of Emergency Services (OES) to complete a study to determine the feasibility of developing a statewide system that would enable all Californians to voluntarily provide vital health and safety information, with an encrypted connection, to be made available to all first responders in an emergency if a “911” call is placed. This bill has a delayed implementation until January 1, 2021.

AB 477 Emergency Preparedness: Vulnerable Population
This bill requires counties and cities to include representatives from the access and functional needs populations [pursuant to California Office of Emergency Services definition] in their emergency planning.

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