New Laws 2024: Showcasing Our Democratic Wins Across the State

In 2023, Assembly Democrats achieved significant success in passing legislation that reflects our commitment to improving the lives of Californians. Together, the caucus made strides in:

The Legislature is taking steps to defend the most vulnerable among us, our children, sending a resounding message to human traffickers and tech platforms that exploiting children will not go unchecked. This includes:

  • Requiring Social Media Platforms to provide a mechanism to report child sexual abuse materials (AB 1394).
  • Making convictions of Child Sex Trafficking a strike under the “Three-Strikes Law” (SB 14).
  • Allowing survivors of human trafficking to sue their trafficker for damages (SB 727).

Assembly Democrats took steps to protect liberty, free speech, and the public servants who ensure fair and safe elections. This included banning “book bans” (AB 1078 ), requiring counties to use an approved voting system to count votes (AB 969 ), and protecting election workers from interference and intimidation (SB 485 ).

According to the Giffords annual Gun Law Scorecard, California has “the strongest gun laws in the nation.” This includes passing over 100 common sense gun control measures between 2013 and 2023. Thanks to these reforms, California has one of the lowest rates of firearm mortality in the country – 44th out of 50.

In 2023, California added an 11% tax on the sale of guns and ammunition (AB 28 ), closed loopholes in the 30-day waiting period to purchase firearms (AB 1483 ), and updated the CCW licensure framework that complies with a recent Supreme Court ruling while ensuring that people who should not carry firearm do not get a license (SB 2 ).

There is a tremendous amount of misinformation about legislative actions regarding illegal fentanyl in California. Make no mistake, illegal fentanyl is illegal in California. Dealers can serve years in prison or jail if convicted of dealing illegal fentanyl. More than that, individuals are being charged and convicted with murder for dealing in illegal fentanyl, leading to someone’s death. That said, Assembly Democrats are not standing idly by. We are tackling the fentanyl crisis with strong public safety protections AND robust public health measures. These actions include, among others:

  • Establishing the Fentanyl Addiction and Overdose Prevention Task Force (AB 33 ).
  • Increasing requirements on how social media platforms handle content related to controlled substances (AB 1027 ).
  • Applying existing enhancements for trafficking cocaine and heroin to fentanyl (AB 701 ).
  • Expanding the availability of medications that reverse overdoses (AB 663 , SB 10 , and SB 234 ).
  • Providing over $200 million to combat the fentanyl crisis through budget actions (AB 102, SB 101, and SB 114 ).

Building off the historic enshrinement of abortion rights into California’s Constitution, the Legislature focused efforts on protecting the privacy of those seeking abortion-related services (AB 1194 , AB 254 , and AB 352 ) and enacted multiple safeguards to protect patients and providers from enforcement of out-of-state restrictions on abortion and gender-related care (AB 571 , AB 1707 , SB 345 , SB 487 ).

While workers across the United States are fighting to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $15, California’s minimum wage will reach $16 per hour statewide on January 1, 2024. Many communities in our state have established even higher minimum wages – some as high as $19 per hour.

Starting April 1, the minimum wage for Fast Food workers will increase to $20 per hour (AB 1228 ). 

Starting June 1, the minimum wage for Health Care workers will increase to $23 per hour, reaching $25 per hour in 2026 (SB 525 ).

There is no federal requirement for employers to provide employees with paid sick leave. Employers must give full-time workers three days of paid sick leave each year in California. Starting January 1, workers will receive two additional paid sick days per year – or five days total (SB 616 ).

California continues to lead the nation in protecting consumers. This includes:

  • Creating a new watchdog entity for oil refineries to prevent “mysterious gas price surcharges” (SBX1 2 ).
  • Regulating cryptocurrency (AB 39 ).
  • Requiring online booking sites like Airbnb and VRBO to disclose all fees or charges included at the time of reservation (AB 537 ).
  • Banning cancer-causing toxins in food additives (AB 418 ), cosmetics (AB 496 ), and insecticides (AB 363 ).

Continuing to invest in health care for 40 million Californians, the Governor and Legislature invested hundreds of millions of dollars to:

  • Keep hospitals at risk of closure open with cashflow loans (AB 112 ).
  • Lower copays and deductibles on Covered California plans (SB 101 ).
  • Increase Medi-Cal provider rates (AB 118 ).

Legislative Democrats continue to lead the nation and world in seeking new ways to combat climate change for future generations. This includes requiring large corporations to report emissions (SB 253 ) and climate financial risks (SB 261 ) and developing new renewable energy resources like offshore wind and geothermal energy (AB 1373 ).

Come January 1, California will add an Ebony Alert to help find missing Black women and youth under the age of 25 (SB 673 ). Californian’s Missing Persons Alert systems allow the state to broadcast alerts on highway signs and other media to locate the missing. The better-known Amber Alert system only deals with missing individuals 17 years and younger. Ebony Alerts will include missing black women and youth aged 12 to 25.

The Ebony Alert joins California’s other missing persons alerts, including:

  • Amber Alert – Abducted children.
  • Feather Alert – Missing indigenous women and children.
  • Silver Alert – Missing elderly, developmentally, or cognitively-impaired persons.
  • Endangered Missing Alert – Suspicious disappearances of at-risk missing children or other endangered persons.

California Democrats are taking bold action to address the housing crisis. The state is implementing a range of data-informed, innovative strategies to streamline and incentivize various types of housing development, expand the supply of affordable homes, and reduce and prevent homelessness. This includes:

  • Making it easier to build affordable housing on property owned by religious institutions (SB 4 ).
  • Streamlining local housing approvals (SB 423 ).
  • Providing $3 billion to support affordable housing and homelessness initiatives (SB 101 ).
  • Investing $1.7 billion to accommodate an additional 4,100 additional student housing spots (SB 117 ).
  • Capping rental security deposits at one month's rent (AB 12 ).
  • Strengthening protections against evictions (SB 567  and AB 1418 ).
  • Expanding options to involuntarily commit people to locked mental health facilities due to mental illness (SB 43 ).