| by Heather Duncan, Esq.

As we have come to expect, Californians rang in 2020 with hundreds of new state laws addressing a wide range of issues.

Here is a brief overview of 10 laws that may affect you in the coming year.


  1. One of the more controversial new laws is AB-5 which subjects businesses using independent contractors to new, tighter restrictions under the codification of the prior Dynamex Since January 1, 2020, this new law has been the subject of multiple lawsuits; a federal judge granted an injunction on behalf of truckers, while another denied one on behalf of freelance journalists. Uber and Postmates have filed a lawsuit challenging the law in its entirety and have begun the process of getting an initiative overturning the law on the ballot in the next election. Because AB-5 is in a state of day-to-day flux, we will wait for the dust to settle and explore the new law and potential ramifications in a later edition of Network News.


  1. Under AB-1327, California has barred warrantless surveillance by drones and other electronic equipment in places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.


  1. The California Consumer Privacy Act (AB-375) passed in 2018 went live on January 1, 2020. This law gives Californians extended privacy rights online, including knowing what personal data is being collected about them, the right to say no to the sale of personal data, the right to see the personal data about them that has been collected, the right to know who the data was sold to, and the right to have a business delete personal information about them that has been collected. The law also gives consumers the ability to sue a company for failure to adequately protect their data.



  1. SB-188, known as the CROWN ACT (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair) expands the Fair Employment and Housing Act’s definition of race to include traits historically associated with race, such as hair texture and protective hairstyles. Braids, twists and afros can no longer be banned in the workplace or in public schools.



  1. SB-313 bans the use of most animals in circuses — all but domesticated dogs, cats and horses are no longer allowed in circus performances in California. The new rules don't apply to rodeos; a circus is defined by the law as "a performance before a live audience in which entertainment consisting of a variety of acts such as acrobats, aerialists, clowns, jugglers, or stunts is the primary attraction or principal business." New Jersey and Hawaii already have similar laws on the books. 


  1. AB-44 makes it unlawful to sell, offer for sale, display for sale, trade or otherwise distribute for monetary or non-monetary consideration a fur product in California, or to manufacture a fur product for sale. A violation of these prohibitions would subject a person to civil penalties.


  1. AB-12 makes California the first state to allow employers, workers and teachers to seek gun violence restraining orders against other people. This means people can petition a judge to take away someone’s guns if they are deemed to be a danger to themselves or others. Gov. Jerry Brown had previously vetoed the bill twice.


  1. AB-1482 caps rent increases at 5% each year plus inflation until January 1, 2030. The bill also bans landlords from evicting tenants without just cause, meaning someone can’t be evicted so the landlord can raise the rent for a new tenant. The law applied to rent increases on or after March 15, 2019, to prevent landlords from raising rents just before the caps went into place.


  1. AB-68 and AB-881 give California homeowners more flexibility to build “granny flats,’ or small housing units on their properties.


  1. State anti-discrimination laws now apply to renting apartments or homes through companies such as Airbnb and VRBO.

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