With every new year, comes new laws for Californians. This year’s will affect how Californians take out the trash. In 2021, the legislature’s super-majority of Democrats sent Gov. Gavin Newsom hundreds of bills that he signed and many ballot measures and laws went into effect on Jan. 1. Several come with major consequences for Californians. Many won’t necessarily surface in your everyday lives, but many may affect your neighborhood, local businesses and home. A few are listed below. Senate Bill (SB) 389 allows restaurants and some bars to sell to-go wine and cocktails until 2027, providing a five-year extension of an emergency rule stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. With many patrons continuing to order takeout, President and CEO of the California Restaurant Association Jot Condie in the association’s newsletter, “The ability to order a drink with a takeout meal is a welcome reform.” Alcoholic beverages sold for off-premises consumption must be sold with food. Drinks must be in sealed and labeled containers and picked up by the customer who still must provide identification. Customers are limited to two to-go alcoholic beverages per individual meal and can’t contain more than 4.5 ounces of liquor. Assembly Bill (AB) 89 amends the existing law and requires the office of the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges to develop a universal policing degree program and will raise the minimum age for new officers from 18 to 21. It will require that in four years, all incoming officers have at least an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. With about 40% of California’s police force having an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, this new law sets a deadline of June 2023 for the California Community Colleges to submit a draft curriculum which could include courses like ethnic studies and psychology. Research has shown that officers who are more highly educated are less likely to use their weapons or physical force on the job. SB 9 has made a way for duplexes, triplexes and four-plexes to start popping up in neighborhoods currently zoned for single-family housing. Attorney Rafa Sonnenfield who represents a group that promotes new housing in communities ‘Yes in My Backyard,’ said, “Duplexes are the gentlest way that we can add much-needed housing in a way that fits in with the existing character of a neighborhood.” SB 9 will allow a minimum of four homes total or two homes per parcel if the lot was split. This bill facilitates the process for homeowners to subdivide their current residential lot or build a duplex. SB 10 makes it easier for local governments to build multifamily housing, allowing them to bypass much of the environmental reviews of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Representative with Our Neighborhood Voices John Health called SB 9 and SB 10 “bad policy” as he said, “Institutional investors will exploit loopholes, adding gas to an overheated housing market. Being able to upzone that property obviously makes it much more valuable as a commodity for those investors and developers that are seeking to capitalize on how many units can you squeeze per square foot or per single-family lot.” The Our Neighborhood Voices is pursuing a ballot measure that would shift land-use control back to local governments. There are new limits on what plastic packaging can be labeled with the “chasing arrows” recycling symbol which is SB 343. The measure prohibits the use of chasing-arrows symbols on products that are not truly recyclable. Heidi Sanborn, who heads an environmental group that pushed for the new law says, “More than 80% of the single-use plastics Californians put in recycle bins wind up in landfills instead. We think nobody should be able to lie to the public. When they’re being lied to on the label, they buy the wrong thing and do the wrong thing with it and then they get their prices increased because of the cost of the contamination. So it’s a triple loss for the consumer.” Under the new law, products will only have the chasing arrow symbol if they’re collected in at least 60% of the state’s curbside programs. Manufacturers have until the summer of 2025 to get their products into compliance. SB 1383 will change how Californians dispose of banana peels, chicken bones and leftover veggies under a mandatory residential food waste recycling program with the state converting residents’ food waste into compost or energy. The goal is to stop food waste from ending up in landfills where it decays and emits methane, a greenhouse gas that damages the atmosphere. Fines won’t start being issued until 2024 to give time to get used to the new law. SB 3 minimum wage for all industries rose to $15 an hour for all employers with 26 or more employees. That’s more than double the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. California businesses with fewer than 26 employees will have to raise their lowest rate to $15 starting in 2023. SB 43 Authorizes local authorities to reduce speed limits in consideration of the safety of vulnerable groups such as cyclists and pedestrians. AB 37 made it permanent that mail-in ballots will go to every registered voter in California. People can still vote in person if they choose. For more information visit https://www.gov.ca.gov/2021/12/29/governor-newsom-highlights-landmark-new-laws-taking-effect-January-1-2022/

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