Looming California laws cover abortion, campaigns

Published: Monday, Jun. 30, 2014 - 9:44 pm
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jul. 2, 2014 - 7:58 am

Abortion providers, state job applicants and school budget chiefs will be among those affected by a wave of California laws kicking in Tuesday.

Bills signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown typically become effective the following Jan. 1. But implementation of all or part of some laws is delayed, often to July 1.

Leading the list of late-blooming legislation taking effect Tuesday is a measure pushing California’s minimum wage to $9 an hour. Other measures are less heralded. Among the coming changes:

• Family leave – The universe of eligible family members will expand to allow Californians to take paid time off to care for siblings, grandparents, grandchildren and parents-in-law, under Senate Bill 770.

• Job applicants – State and local agencies will be unable to ask about an applicant’s criminal history until later in the process. Assembly Bill 218 seeks to prevent discrimination against job applicants with past violations and came after The Bee reported the state hired an employee who had served a 2-year term for embezzlement.

• Building codes – California will be barred from dictating different building requirements for facilities that provide abortion services. Republican-controlled states have enacted such restrictions in recent years, prompting criticism from providers who say they are being pushed out of business.

• Teachers’ retirement – As part of a deal to start paying down California’s massive teacher pension shortfall, teachers, school districts and the state will all start paying more money into the California State Teachers Retirement System. The first of a series of incremental hikes begins Tuesday.

• Campaign finance – The state’s political spending watchdog will be able to launch campaign finance investigations or seek injunctions during an election cycle, rather than having to wait until after an election. Assembly Bill 800 empowers the Fair Political Practices Commission in an effort to inform voters before they head to the polls. Another campaign finance bill, Senate Bill 27, triggers disclosure from formerly anonymous donors when contributions rise above a certain threshold. Donors who gave in this cycle before Tuesday will not be affected.

• Transgender change – Transgender Californians will be able to change their official genders without needing a court order, under Assembly Bill 1121 carried by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego.

• Disability insurance – Policies will be required to cover severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anorexia and bulimia under Assembly Bill 402.

This post has been updated to correct that Assembly Bill 1121 allows gender changes, not name changes, without a court order. The story was updated at 5:53 p.m. on July 7, 2014.


Call Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5543.

Read more articles by Jeremy B. White



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