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2020 Brings New California Laws


Santa Barbara’s Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson.

Santa Barbara’s Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson pens new law for 2020

There are hundreds of new California laws set to go into effect in 2020, including an important one for women, authored by Santa Barbara’s Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson. Others range from the make-up of business boards of directors and restricting independent contractors, to a minimum wage hike and limits on rent increases. Here are some of the bills signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

  • Our State Senator, pictured here, is responsible for writing law SB 826 that requires all publicly held corporations in California to have a minimum of one woman on its board of directors by the end of 2020, as well as two or more by 2021 for boards of five, and three women by 2021 for boards of six or more. California will be the first state in the nation with such a requirement.

“The law sparked a national conversation about the makeup of our boards, led several companies to bring more women onto their leadership teams, and opened doors for talented women across the state,” Jackson’s office said in a statement.

“With numerous independent studies showing that corporations with women on their boards are more profitable, there is simply no excuse for shutting women out of the boardroom.”

A number of new California laws — many of them supported by Jackson — will require smart device security, prepare for an aging state and improve emergency planning starting Jan. 1. 

  • The controversial Assembly Bill 5 reclassifies many independent contractors as employees, making them eligible for workplace benefits like minimum wage, overtime, sick leave and more. It takes effect Jan. 1.
  • The statewide minimum wage will rise to $12 an hour for small businesses with 26 or fewer employees, and $13 an hour for employers with more than 26 employees. The minimum wage increase moves California toward its goal of a $15 minimum wage by 2023.
  • AB 1482 bars landlords from imposing annual rent increases of more than 5%, plus inflation. Additional protections for renters will take effect in 2020 as well.
  • Another new law prohibits landlords from rejecting low-income tenants who use federal Section 8 program housing vouchers to pay their rent.
  • Under AB 17, employers must give workers time off to vote, without requiring or requesting that an employee bring his or her vote-by-mail ballot to work.
  • Senate Bill 276 calls for stricter rules regarding vaccine medical exemptions. The state Department of Public Health will create a medical exemption form that doctors will be required to use.
  • Changes to state health insurance laws will begin in the next coverage year. Californians will have to pay a penalty on their state taxes if they go without health-care coverage in 2020.
  • On July 1, it will become illegal for kindergarten through eighth-grade schools to suspend students for disruptive behavior, under SB 419. The law applies to charter and public schools.
  • SB 327 requires manufacturers of Internet-connected consumer devices, such as wireless routers, mobile phones, and televisions, to equip the gadgets with reasonable security features like detecting potential hackers or the ability to change passwords. According to supporters of the bill, the devices will better protect sensitive consumer information, including location history and web browsing patterns, from unauthorized access, use or disclosure.
  • SB 228 encourages collaboration among California stakeholders and departments to provide a plan for addressing the needs of disabled and aging Californians. It provides a framework of values, builds on best practices and research, and requires reporting to the Legislature on the progress of the plan.
  • SB280 strengthens home-building standards to help disabled and aging adults reduce their risk of dangerous falls and allow them to age at home.
  • Due to SB 623, the state Department of Housing and Community Development is required to use current Census Bureau data to determine the assistance allocated for the construction of low-income senior housing units. Supporters of the bill say the law will help ensure housing allocations accurately reflect California’s increasing senior population.
  • SB 160 will guarantee emergency planning is sensitive to the state’s significant cultural and linguistic diversity. The bill directs counties to integrate translators and interpreters in emergency communications, as well as incorporate qualified representatives from community groups during the planning process and use culturally appropriate resources when preparing people for disasters.
  • SB 551 directs the state’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources to develop a process for assessing the costs of decommissioning all gas and oil infrastructure within its jurisdiction, and requires oil or gas facility operators to report its total liability for plugging and abandoning wells and other facilities beginning July 1, 2022, and at least every five years afterward.

Our Senator has something to say about this issue too:

“Over the next several decades, California will face the significant challenge of infrastructure that remains from oil and gas production,” Jackson’s office said in a statement. “While oil and gas operators are required to bear the ultimate financial responsibility for shutting down their wells, removing infrastructure and remediating sites, in several cases they are refusing to do so, leaving California taxpayers paying the costs.”

READ: Santa Barbara Recognized As One of the Best Small Cities in the Nation

Thinking of moving here in 2020? Please give me a call at (805) 886-9378 or email me at if you’re considering buying or selling a home in Santa Barbara, Montecito or Hope Ranch.


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