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Whopping 770 new state laws took effect on Jan. 1
kid with helmet on horse
A new state law requires kids to wear a helmet when riding a horse on the road.

Hundreds of new state laws went into effect on Jan 1. From to-go cocktails to gender neutral toy aisles, there are plenty of regulations for Californians to remember along with their resolutions in the New Year.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a whopping 770 new California laws and vetoed 66 in 2021, providing his stamp of approval for 92 percent of the 836 proposals state lawmakers sent to his desk this year. 

While Newsom vetoed a few bills, like decriminalizing jaywalking and allowing bicyclists to roll through stop signs, there are several new traffic laws which went effect.

Assembly Bill 3 created a new law which defines a “sideshow” in California as an “event in which two or more persons block or impede traffic on a highway for the purpose of performing motor vehicle stunts, motor vehicle speed contests, motor vehicle exhibitions of speed or reckless driving for spectators.”

There will also be penalties for those who participate in sideshows, with courts able to suspend licenses between 90 days and six months beginning July 1, 2025.

One new law gives cities more control over how speed limits are set instead of using an old rule that resulted in speed limits inching up every few years. If cities start planning to lower speed limits, they won’t be able to enforce them until June 30, 2024, or whenever the state creates an online portal to adjudicate the new infractions – whichever comes sooner.

Locals who enjoy horseback riding will also soon be subject to new safety regulations. AB 974 requires anyone under 18 years old who rides horses, mules or donkeys on a paved highway to wear a helmet as well as reflective gear or a lamp when riding after dark. Fines for first time violators are $25 per infraction, though those riding in parades or festivals are exempt. 

Under Senate Bill 328, middle schools will be required to start class no earlier than 8 a.m. and high schools no earlier than 8:30 a.m. starting July 1. The bill’s author said that preteens and teenagers need the extra sleep for their health and development – even though students have their free choice of when they hit the sack. The law exempts rural school districts.

The costs of goods and services in California is expected to climb now that the state is forcing businesses with 26 or more employees to pay a $15 minimum wage. That rate is more than double the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. California businesses with fewer than 26 employees will have to raise their lowest wage to $15 starting Jan 1, 2023.

The cost of bacon is expected to rise because the voters approved Proposition 12, dubbed the “Bacon law,” first passed in 2018 and in January 2020. The new law requires that egg-laying hens and calves intended to be sold as veal have adequate space of 144 square inches and 43 square feet, respectively.

Farmers producing eggs and raising pigs will be impacted and lose hundreds of thousands of dollars and result in increased costs.

The second part of the law kicked in on Jan. 1, requiring that egg-laying hens must be cage-free and breeding pigs must be allotted 24 square feet per pig. California accounts for about 15 percent of the U.S. pork market, the National Pork Producers Council said, and the organization is asking the Supreme Court to determine Prop 12’s constitutionality.

Several laws allowing the sale of cocktails to-go during the pandemic, SB 314, AB 61 and SB 389, are here to stay, with the legislature noting the popular purchases’ positive effect on businesses. There are rules for how beverages must be packaged, however, including secure lids with seals, single-serve containers and a limit of two drinks per meal, for example. 

Food delivery workers and restaurants who participate in programs like Door Dash will benefit from AB 286, which states that tips on food delivery services and apps must go to the individual worker rather than the delivery service. Additionally, it will now be against the law to charge a customer more than what is listed on the website at the time of the order, and pickup orders will see gratuity go to the restaurant — not the app. 

Also in 2022, large department stores will be required to provide a gender neutral toy aisle — something proponents of AB 1084 say will combat higher pricing for girls’ toys. Fines for stores that do not comply range from $250 to $500 for varying offenses and the new law applies to stores with 500 or more employees. 

New laws in education include SB 224, which requires part of middle and high school curriculum to be dedicated to mental health, and AB 101, which will see students in the California State University’s graduating class of 2024-25 be required to complete at least one 3-unit ethnic studies course. 

The governor also signed multiple police reform bills into law, one of which prohibits police from using rubber bullets or tear gas unless other crowd control measures have been exhausted. SB 2 will stop officers from transferring to different departments after they’ve been found to have committed serious misconduct. 

To view more laws, visit

Jeff Benziger contributed to this report.