In summary

New California laws explained in 60 seconds. Ring in 2020 by learning about California’s new do’s and don’ts, and how they will affect us all.

Whether you’re a parent or a police officer, a landlord or a loan customer, a smoker or a student, odds are you’ll be directly affected by at least a few of the new laws in effect as of Jan. 1, 2020.

To catch you up on all the legal do’s and don’ts, we at CalMatters have created a video playlist in which we break down 11 fresh laws, each in just 60 seconds. (We’re including one — the controversial “gig worker” law — that was just placed on temporary hold by at least one federal judge.)

Here’s the list:

New 2020 law #1: California adopts new “predatory lending” law

Photo by Peggy Peattie for CALmatters

Starting next year, Californians who take out consumer loans of between $2,500 and $10,000 can be charged an interest rate no higher than 35%. It’s a lower ceiling than before, but with annual fees, the maximum cost still can pencil equivalent to an interest rate of 46%. Watch the video here.

New 2020 law #2: More time for adult victims of child sexual abuse to sue

Photo by Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group

On the heels of the #MeToo movement, California has extended the statute of limitations on cases of alleged childhood sexual abuse. As of Jan. 1, adults have until at least their 40th birthday to file claims against people and institutions they seek to hold responsible for sexual molestation or sexual assault they experienced as children. Previously, they lost that option after their 26th birthday. Watch the video here.

New 2020 law #3: California limits when police can use deadly force

police shooting use of force
Photo by Max Whittaker for CalMatters

As of Jan. 1, law enforcement officers in California can legally use deadly force only when “necessary in defense of human life.” That’s a higher standard than prosecutors have long applied, in which officers were permitted to use such force when it was deemed “reasonable.” Watch the video here.

New 2020 law #4: No more discriminating against renters who have housing vouchers

Photo by Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group

To help remedy California’s housing affordability crisis, a new law bars landlords from discriminating against low-income renters with federal Section 8 vouchers. Tenants who qualify for that program pay 30% of their income toward rent, and the federal government pays the rest. Watch the video here.

New 2020 law #5: Online data privacy law gives Californians new rights

Image of man on computer. This is decorative for the California internet privacy law.
Photo by Sestovic/istock.

Californians have grown increasingly concerned about who has access to their digital data — and how it’s being used.

Faced with a possible initiative asking voters if they want to toughen safeguards of their own privacy, state lawmakers approved a new consumer privacy law giving people a window into what information companies collect. Watch the video here.

New 2020 law #6: Certain gig workers to be treated as employees

Protesters for and against the AB 5, the gig economy law, at the state Capitol. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters. The California gig economy law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. Sacramento, CA.
Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters. Sacramento, CA.

California enacted a new law requiring some businesses to re-classify independent contractors as employees — granting them benefits such as overtime pay and the right to join a union.

Businesses and organized labor both heavily lobbied lawmakers over the bill, and while some industries won exemptions, others did not. Then, as the final hours of 2019 ticked down, a judge granted the California Trucking Association a temporary restraining order preventing the law from taking effect for truckers. Watch our video here.

New 2020 law #7: Health insurance to be mandatory in California

Photo of family standing in line at pharmacy. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters.
Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters.

In 2020, California is making health insurance mandatory — and charge a fee to people without it. For those who lack it now, there’s an upside: The state also will began giving subsidies to those who don’t qualify for assistance through the federal Obamacare program. Watch the video here.

New 2020 law #8: California bans smoking, vaping in state parks and beaches

Discarded cigarette butts on beach.
Photo by Maciej Bledowski of iStock.

California is banning smoking — cigarettes and anything else — on state parks and beaches in 2020. As soon as the state puts up new signs warning about the ban, taking a puff while enjoying the great outdoors could cost you. Watch the video here.

New 2020 law #9: California caps rent hikes for millions of tenants

California's rent caps and just cause protections begin on January 1, 2020. This is photo of a flyer explaining the new law. Photo by Anne Wernikoff of CalMatters.
Photo by Anne Wernikoff of CalMatters.

A new California law will protect about 8 million Californians from dramatic rent hikes, and from certain evictions that lack “just cause” when a lease is no longer in effect.

As of Jan. 1, some landlords will be able to increase rents by 5% plus the rate of inflation (typically 2%-3%). They also will have to provide a “just cause” for evicting tenants and, in some circumstances, pay for tenants to relocate. Watch the video here.

New 2020 law #10: California increases oversight of college admissions

Football game Cal vs. UC Davis. Photo by Jose Carlos Fajardo of Bay Area News Group.
Photo by Jose Carlos Fajardo of Bay Area News Group.

The nationwide Varsity Blues scandal posed an important question about college admissions: As California Assemblyman Kevin McCarty put it, “How do we reassure the public that the system is not totally rigged?”

State legislators sought to address this challenge with two new laws increasing oversight of the admissions process. Watch the video here.

New 2020 law #11: California takes aim at racial bias in maternal health care

Pregnant woman's stomach. Photo by Courtney Hale of
Photo by Courtney Hale for

California may be cited as a model state for its efforts to improve outcomes for women giving birth, but black women statewide are still substantially more likely than white women to die in childbirth, give birth prematurely and lose their babies.

Starting in 2020, California is requiring that health care workers who treat pregnant women receive implicit bias training — designed to improve awareness of the impact racial bias has on maternal and infant health. Watch the video here.

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Byrhonda LyonsInvestigative Reporter

Byrhonda Lyons is a national award-winning video journalist for CalMatters. She creates compelling multimedia stories about how California policy affects people’s everyday lives. From the state’s mental...