ON Wednesday, January 1 California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law hundreds of bills that address a bevy of progressive policies that range from renter protection laws to an individual mandate law that requires all Californians to have health insurance.
In total, 1,200 laws were signed on the first day of 2020, but some will take effect later this year. As a mouthpiece for liberal ideals, Newsom’s approval affirms the Democratic majority of the California Legislature and the state’s electorate at large.
As previously reported in the Asian Journal, California is now officially the first state to expand Medicaid coverage to any low-income persons between the ages of 19 to 25 regardless of immigration status.
Previously, only undocumented minors could apply for Medi-Cal, but Newsom’s approval of SB 104 expands that to anyone under the age of 25. To qualify, applicants must earn less than 138% of the federal poverty level — $17,200 a year for an individual or $35,500 for a family of four.
California will also now require all residents to have health insurance with the new “individual mandate” inspired by the one under the federal Affordable Care Act that was eliminated last year. Similar to the Affordable Care Act mandate, there will be a penalty to those who fail to enroll in a healthcare plan starting in April 2021.
In an effort to quell ballooning rents and to combat the increasing rate of homelessness, California became the second state to place a statewide rent cap when a new law that says that landlords cannot raise rents to more than 5% came into effect on Wednesday.
The law also bans landlords from arbitrarily evicting renters; or, in other words, landlords would be prohibited from evicting people in order to raise the rent for new tenants.
Newsom signed the bill in October in an event in Oakland, a city that has reported a 43% increase in homelessness over the past two years. The law does not apply to housing built within the last 15 years or single-family homes not owned by corporations or trusts.
Additionally, another law prohibits landlords from discriminating against renters who rely on Section 8 vouchers to partially pay for their rent.
Newsom, a vocal proponent of firearm safety laws, signed multiple gun control bills as an effort to reduce gun violence. In a new “red flag” law, teachers, school administrators, and employers could now ask courts to seize guns from people who pose a danger to themselves or the public.
The law passed the state Legislature in early September as a response to the recent mass shootings and acts as an expansion of California’s restraining order law that previously only allowed family members and law enforcement to ask the courts for firearm seizure.
Additionally, people banned from possessing or purchasing a gun in another state will no longer be allowed to possess or purchase one in California, and only Californians aged 21 and older will be allowed to purchase semi-automatic rifles.
As the national reckoning of the #MeToo movement continues to unfold, California has now suspended the statute of limitations for three years, allowing survivors of sexual abuse the chance to pursue prosecution against their alleged abusers. The law also expands the statute of limitations for childhood victims, meaning that victims will have until the age of 40 (or five years from the time that the abuse was made known) to file civil lawsuits.