Law Review: Sampling of new laws for 2020 |

Law Review: Sampling of new laws for 2020

Jim Porter
Law Review
Jim Porter

Governor Gavin signed close to 1,200 new laws this year, most to take effect on Jan. 1. In no particular order, here are a few you may find of interest.


Assembly Bill 5, sometimes called the gig-worker law, is more than that. AB 5 makes it almost impossible for most businesses to hire someone in California as an independent contractor versus an employee with withholding, minimum wage, paid sick days, and other requirements. More on the dramatically new ABC independent contractor test in a future column. If you can’t wait and want an informative Porter Simon blog, let me know.


A change in the Labor Code, effective Jan. 1, 2020, raises the state minimum wage from $10 to $13 an hour for workplaces with 26 or more employees and to $12 for workplaces with fewer than 26 employees. Starting Jan. 1, 2023, the minimum wage will be $15 an hour for all workplaces. The federal minimum wage remains a measly $7.25 an hour. Please note, Congressman McClintock; could you live on $7.25 an hour?


Senate Bill 188 forbids employers of businesses with five or more employees from discrimination against persons because of hairstyles, such as afros, braids, twists, and locks. The law Preamble recites that hair discrimination targeting hairstyles associated with race is racial discrimination.


Government Code 12950 requires workplaces with five or more employees (formerly 50 or more employees) to provide at least two hours of prescribed training and education regarding sexual harassment and abusive conduct and harassment based on gender — to all supervisory employees within six months of their assumption of a supervisory position and once every two years thereafter. Just extended to be effective Jan. 1, 2021.


SB 8 bans smoking on all state beaches and parks with a fine of $25 per violation. The new law also makes it illegal to toss a cigarette or cigar onto a state beach. Sounds good to me.


If you’re wondering whatever happened to Barnum & Bailey Circus, animal rights groups and the cost of production have changed the landscape. Under SB 313, circus acts in California may no longer use exotic animals like tigers, lions, and elephants. Only dogs, cats and domesticated horses may be part of a circus performance. That’s not going to draw much of crowd.


Existing California law prohibits manufacturers and testing facilities from using traditional animal testing methods with certain exceptions. Civil Code Section 1834.9.5 now makes it unlawful for a manufacturer to import for sale in California: any cosmetic developed or manufactured using an animal test, with certain exceptions. Violation results in an initial fine of $5,000 with an additional fine of $1,000 a day.


Current law requires the victim of a childhood sexual assault to sue within eight years of turning 21 or within three years of the date the victim discovers psychological injury or illness was caused by sexual assault, whichever occurs later. A change in the Code of Civil Procedure extends the deadline to sue to age 40 or within five years of discovering psychological injury. Under certain circumstances, the law allows for treble damages.


Existing law prohibits the suspension of a student enrolled in kindergarten or grades 1-3 and recommending the expulsion of a student enrolled in kindergarten and grades 1-12 for disrupting school activities or otherwise willfully defying authority. As of July 1, 2020, SB 419 applies those provisions to charter schools and additionally prohibits the suspension of a student enrolled in a school district or charter school in grades 4 and 5 for disrupting school activities or willfully defying authority, and also prohibits the suspension of a student in grades 6-8 for those acts. Students may still be suspended for violence or bringing a weapon or drugs on campus.


You need a new Real Driver’s License (with lots of documentary evidence for DMV) by Oct. 1, 2020 to travel by plane. More on this in another column.

Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, California, and Reno, Nevada. Jim’s practice areas include: real estate, development, construction, business, HOA’s, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at or

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