New Year, New Laws 2021

| by Heather Duncan, Esq.


In a time filled with uncertainty, there is one thing on which we can rely: a new year brings new California laws.

For the past five months we have focused on laws and regulations relating to court reporting and the practice of law. As is our tradition, the January Network News, lists 10 new laws unrelated to depositions.


AB-685 requires employers to alert employees that they may have been exposed to a worker who tested positive for COVID-19. Notification must take place within one business day. This law also expands Cal/OSHA’s authority to shut down a worksite if the agency deems it an imminent hazard.

SB-1383 expands Family and Medical Leave by requiring small employers to provide up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to their employees for qualifying life events such as serious health problems, birth of a child and military leave. However, only employees who have worked for the company for more than 12 months and for more than 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months are eligible.

AB-8 provides that by July 2021 the recipient of unemployment compensation benefits has the right to choose whether the benefits are directly deposited into a qualifying account or applied to a prepaid debit card.

AB-25 repeals the existing “ABC” test for independent contractors and instead requires the determination of whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor to be based on the specific multifactor test set forth in Borello, including whether the person to whom service is rendered has the right to control the manner and means of accomplishing the desired result.


AB-35 requires a person who operates a social media platform to disclose whether or not that social media platform has a policy or mechanism in place to address the spread of misinformation. The bill requires the disclosure to be made easily accessible on the social media platform’s website and mobile application.

SB-973 prohibits a tobacco retailer and its agents from selling a flavored tobacco product or a tobacco product flavor enhancer.

AB-2285 exempts a Good Samaritan who rescues an endangered child from a locked vehicle from civil and criminal liability, “if the property damage or trespass occurs while the person is rescuing a child 6 years of age or younger.”


SB-203 provides that youth up to 17 cannot be questioned by police or wave their rights until they have a chance to consult with an attorney.

AB-1196 prohibits a law enforcement agency from authorizing the use of a carotid restraint or choke hold.


AB-37 extends the vote by mail requirements to all elections. The bill requires a counsel elections official to mail a ballot to every registered voter

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