How will California’s new laws affect you?

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(Nicole Vas / Los Angeles Times)

The U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down the landmark federal abortion rights case Roe vs. Wade led to a flurry of new laws in California, even though abortion rights already are solidly protected in the state.

Still, 2022 proved to be a fairly measured year when it comes to the number of bills approved by the California Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, perhaps a continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic lull in recent years. The Legislature sent 1,166 bills to Newsom for consideration in 2022. He signed 997 into law and vetoed 169. By comparison, California enacted 1,821 new laws in 1971, when Gov. Ronald Reagan was governor.

The Times’ list highlights a few dozen noteworthy new laws for 2023, including several that were approved years earlier but are only taking effect now. Most of those listed take effect on New Year’s Day. As in years past, the list mostly reflects the interests of the Democrats who hold a supermajority of seats in both the state Senate and Assembly.


Some of the most notable new laws make significant changes in workers’ rights and benefits, housing, criminal justice and healthcare.

Two state ballot measures approved by voters in November became law before the new year began: Proposition 1, which expressly guarantees in the state Constitution a person’s “fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives”; and Proposition 31, which bans the sale of most flavored tobacco products in stores and in vending machines.

Some laws set to take effect in 2023 are in limbo due to challenges, both in court and potentially at the ballot box.

In December, a federal judge struck down part of a new California gun law modeled after Texas’ vigilante antiabortion legislation that gives private citizens the authority to sue anyone who imports, distributes, manufactures or sells illegal firearms in California, such as assault weapons, .50 BMG rifles and so-called ghost guns.

Businesses and restaurant trade groups said this month that they had submitted enough voter signatures for a ballot measure to overturn a landmark California law that could open the door to workers’ wages being raised to $22 an hour. On Friday, a Sacramento County Superior Court judge put a temporary hold on the new law, which was set to go into effect Jan. 1. The oil and gas industry also is trying to raise enough petition signatures for a ballot measure to overturn a law prohibiting new oil or gas wells within 3,200 feet of a residence, education resource, healthcare facility or other sensitive area.


VIDEO | 02:11
7 new laws that will affect California in 2023

With the start of the new year, a slate of new laws will take effect on Jan.1, 2023. From pay transparency to food vendors, these are the laws you should know.


Abortion & health

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Two Asian women face each other - a young healthcare worker measures blood pressure of an older patient
Ei Yupar Win, from left, measures Sai Lin’s blood pressure during the general medical screening area during the Hsi Lai Temple Health Fair, in Hacienda Heights in 2015.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)



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Aerial view of farmworkers in a green field .
Farmworkers in a field near Calexico in January.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)


Making a living

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A man hands corn on the cob to two women.
Candelario Padilla, left, sells roasted corn, one among the favorite offerings at the Pinata District street-food market in Downtown Los Angeles in 2019.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)


  • It will now be easier for sidewalk vendors, including those with carts and stands, to acquire the necessary local health permits and avoid criminal penalties. Senate Bill 972
  • It will be easier for local governments to fill lifeguard positions following a summer in which labor shortages closed much-needed public pools. Assembly Bill 1672 by Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Carlsbad) will ease certification requirements and allow more rigorously trained ocean lifeguards to work at city pools when there are staffing shortages.
  • College athletes in California will be able to make money off the use of their names and images, and the NCAA will be prohibited from banning university from competition if athletes do so. The law passed in 2019 and takes effect in 2023. Senate Bill 206


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A worker works on scaffolding constructing a new home in The Great Park Neighborhoods in Irvine.
Workers construct a new home in The Great Park Neighborhoods in Irvine in 2021.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Every other week, Los Angeles Times housing reporter Liam Dillon and CalMatters housing reporter Manuela Tobias chat about the latest developments in California housing policy and interview key newsmakers and other reporters.


Environment & climate change

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A silhouetted gradient view looking into the sunset with a youth soccer team practice bordered by a Conoco Phillips refinery
Youth soccer teams practice at Wilmington Waterfront Park in the shadow of the Conoco Phillips refinery.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

  • The California Geologic Energy Management Division will be prohibited from approvingnew oil or gas wells within 3,200 feet of a “sensitive receptor,” defined as a residence, education resource, community resource, healthcare facility, dormitory or any building open to the public. The oil industry currently is challenging the law, Senate Bill 1137, and hopes to gather enough valid signatures from Californians to put the policy up for a statewide vote.
  • The California Climate Crisis Act requires the state to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2045. Assembly Bill 1279 requires the California Air Resources Board and Legislative Analyst to continually evaluate the state’s progress in achieving the emissions reduction goal.
  • The state launches a new policy to have renewable energy resources and zero-carbon resources provide 100% of all retail sales of electricity to California end-use customers by Dec. 31, 2045. Senate Bill 1020


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A person rides a bike in heavy evening traffic along Santa Monica Blvd
A person on a bike rides in heavy evening traffic along Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood in 2021.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)


Criminal justice, policing & guns

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Laid out on a red cloth a row of AR-15 style rifles are displayed for sale at a gun show
A TPM Arms LLC California-legal featureless AR-15 style rifle is displayed for sale at the company’s booth at the Crossroads of the West Gun Show at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa in 2021.
(Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images)

  • Some Californians with criminal convictions will have those records sealed if they maintain a clean record, a move cheered by criminal justice reform advocates and criticized by law enforcement. Senate Bill 731
  • Pedestrians would be able to legally cross the street outside of designated intersections without the threat of a hefty jaywalking citation “unless a reasonably careful person would realize there is an immediate danger of collision with a moving vehicle or other device moving exclusively by human power.” Assembly Bill 2147
  • Peace officers will no longer be required to be a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident who is eligible for and has applied for citizenship. Under Senate Bill 960, peace officers still would be required to be legally authorized to work in the United States under federal law.
  • California repeals a misdemeanor law against loitering in public for the purpose of engaging in prostitution. Supporters of Senate Bill 357 said police used the law to disproportionately discriminate against sex workers and LGBTQ people, many of whom are Black and Latino.
  • Law enforcement is prohibited from using DNA gathered as part of sexual assault and rape examinations against the victims. Senate Bill 1228 was signed into law after a San Francisco woman‘s DNA from a sexual assault examination was used by police five years later to arrest her in connection with an unrelated property crime.
  • California has expanded its “red flag law” beyond immediate family members, employers, co-workers and police to allow more people to file a petition requesting a court to issue a “gun violence restraining order” against someone, which allows police to remove any firearms or ammunition already in their possession. Under Assembly Bill 2870, a roommate, someone in a dating relationship and an individual who has a child in common with the subject can request a restraining order.
  • The sale of firearms and ammunition is now banned on all state-owned properties, including county fairgrounds. Senate Bill 915

Civil rights & government

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People stand outside wearing pink and light blue and holding signs that read "transgender rights" and a transgender flag.
People protest in support of transgender rights in Los Angeles in 2021.
(Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)


  • Forms of creative expression, from music to books, are now restricted from being used as evidence in criminal proceedings. Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer, a Los Angeles Democrat, authored Assembly Bill 2799 after he found out that many men of color, particularly Black men, were being prosecuted using their lyrics.
  • To protect transgender youths and their families from bans against gender-affirming care, the state will provide a range of safeguards meant to block out-of-state attempts to penalize families who come to California seeking medical treatment for transgender children and teens. Senate Bill 107
  • California school boards, city councils and boards of supervisors would have clearer authority to remove disruptive participants from their meetings. Senate Bill 1100 modifies the Brown Act, a 1953 state law that requires an opportunity for public input during meetings to increase accessibility and transparency in local government.
  • Officials with local government agencies would be prohibited from accepting, soliciting or directing a political contribution of more than $250 from anyone while a proceeding involving the donor’s license, permit or other entitlement for use is pending before the agency, or for a year following such a decision. Senate Bill 1439
  • To be appointed to a county or district office, it will no longer be required to be a registered voter in that jurisdiction. Assembly Bill 1925
  • It will now be easier to file claims for unclaimed property worth less than $5,000 being held by the state Controller’s Office. Assembly Bill 1208 streamlines the process, requiring less documentation for those claims. As of February 2021, the agency reported that it held more than $10.2 billion in lost or forgotten property such as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, uncashed checks, insurance benefits, wages and safe deposit box contents.

Times staff writers Melody Gutierrez, Taryn Luna, Mackenzie Mays, Laurel Rosenhall and Hannah Wiley contributed to this report.