Gov. Gavin Newsom has decided to start the new year by signing a multitude of laws which will affect businesses, the California court system, and local communities. The new laws became effective on Jan. 1 and more than 30 laws were passed, but the following explains a few that will immediately impact South Los Angeles. 

Abortion Law

The first law is the Abortion Law (AB-2223) which protects a woman from prosecution, should she choose to end a pregnancy, even if the abortion is self-induced or happens outside the medical system.

It also abolishes the requirement that coroners investigate stillbirths and protects someone who helps a pregnant person end their pregnancy voluntarily from criminal or civil liability.

Contraceptive Equity Act

This law will protect women’s reproductive health decision-making. Under the new law, employers are forbidden from discriminating against an employee or applicant based on “reproductive health decision-making” such as access to a particular drug, device, product, or medical service for reproductive health. 

Employees are not required to disclose information related to “reproductive health decision-making” as a “condition of employment, continued employment, or a benefit of employment.”

The Inmates Rights law (SB-1008) 

This law will allow inmates in California prisons to make free phone calls to family and friends. (See article free audio calls on pg. 8 for details.) 

Mental Illness (SB-1338)

In September, Newsom signed the Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment Act, which allows family members, first responders, and others to ask a judge to draw up a treatment plan for someone diagnosed with certain disorders, including schizophrenia. Reaffirms the support for people and family members dealing with mental illness.  The new law will let courts order a treatment plan for up to two years, including medication, housing, and therapy. 

Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act 

(AB-2799) which stops prosecutors from using defendants’ rap lyrics against them in court. The law would require judges to press prosecutors on the purpose behind including lyrics as evidence and interrogate whether doing so injects “racial bias into the proceedings.”

New minimum wage law

Lastly, There is a new law addressing an increase in the minimum wage in California, which will rise from $14 per hour to $15.50 an hour for all employee-sized businesses. Previously, the minimum wage for businesses with 25 or fewer employees was $14 per hour, while businesses with more than 25 were $15 per hour. 

For the full list of bills passed in California, visit

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