New Laws Take Effect This Week

The law is an important part of our democracy. It enables citizens to exercise their rights and duties, and it protects people from harmful behavior by others. Government decisions and actions should be open to the public, without hiding behind the cloak of confidentiality or secrecy.

When a bill is introduced in committee, staff writes a report describing the purpose and scope of the legislation, analyzing the effects, and recommending that it be passed by the House. Generally, the section-by-section analysis sets forth exactly what each portion of the bill is intended to accomplish. If a bill has been amended by the committee, the report must indicate those amendments and explain why they were made. The report is a key element of the legislative history of a bill and is used by the courts, executive departments, and others to interpret the intent of the legislation.

In the case of records maintained electronically, an agency shall, in designing its information retrieval methods, segregate items that would be available under this article from those that may be withheld in order to provide maximum public access. A person who willfully conceals or destroys a record in violation of this subdivision is guilty of a misdemeanor.

New laws taking effect this week include allowing undocumented immigrants to qualify for Medi-Cal, a shield law protecting people seeking abortion or gender-affirming care, and telehealth for pets. Also, the minimum wage is boosted for fast food workers and anyone who removes a catalytic converter from a vehicle.