6 New California Laws You Should Know About

Changes to the minimum wage, composting rules, police procedures and more.,

Changes to the minimum wage, composting rules, police procedures and more.


A delivery worker finishing his job through the courier app Postmates in Los Angeles.Credit…Emily Berl for The New York Times

A new year is upon us, and 2022 means not only the arrival of Year 3 of the coronavirus pandemic (yikes), but also the implementation of hundreds of new laws in California.

There are far too many to list, so today I’m highlighting six important changes that went into effect on Jan. 1. Later in the week, I’ll share some more new laws worth knowing about.

Food-delivery app tips

This new law prohibits food-delivery apps, such as DoorDash and Uber Eats, from keeping any portion of gratuity meant for restaurant workers. The rule also requires that the companies itemize customers’ bills and disclose all added fees.

The measure is an effort to increase billing transparency and regulate the growing app-based food-delivery industry.

Permanent mail-in ballots

All California voters will receive mail-in ballots for future elections, regardless of whether they signed up for absentee voting.

Californians have already gotten a taste of universal mail-in voting during the pandemic, but the official change makes California the eighth state in the nation with such a law.

Minimum wage bump

As of Jan. 1, businesses with more than 25 employees must pay their employees at least $15 an hour, while smaller businesses must offer at least $14 hourly.

The raises are the latest consequence of a landmark law that pushed the state’s minimum wage to the highest in the nation. It’s important to note, however, that cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco already required employers to pay at least $15 an hour.


Fast-food workers demanding a $15 hourly minimum wage in East Los Angeles in March. Credit…Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press

Mandatory composting

Californians are now required to toss excess food waste into green waste bins, rather than the trash, as the state embarks on the largest mandatory composting effort in the nation.

The law requires that local governments provide organic recycling collection to all residents and businesses. The effort is intended to keep landfills clear of food scraps, which contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions.

Read more from The Associated Press.

Publishing arrest photos

Law enforcement agencies are now prohibited from posting on social media the mug shots of most people arrested and accused of nonviolent crimes.

Supporters of the new rules say that publishing such photos on Twitter and Facebook can irreparably harm the lives of people who have not yet been proven guilty.

“Spousal rape” elimination

This law eliminated the section on spousal rape in the California penal code to ensure that people convicted of raping their spouses face the same punishments as other rapists.

Groups that advocated for the change said that state law had previously allowed more lenient treatment of people who raped their spouses, and that many such perpetrators had not been not required to register as sex offenders.


Waiting in line to be tested for Covid-19 at Ohlone Elementary School in Hercules on Friday.Credit…John G Mabanglo/EPA, via Shutterstock

The latest on Omicron and the pandemic

Over the weekend, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed spending another $2.7 billion to battle the pandemic as cases soar.

Early data hints at Omicron’s potential toll across America.

How to think about Covid data right now.

Check case rates in your area.


A rent strike demonstration in front of the entrance of the Los Angeles City Hall in 2020.Credit…Etienne Laurent/EPA, via Shutterstock

The rest of the news

Rent relief: California officials announced Sunday that they received an additional $62 million in federal funds for rent relief, CBS Sacramento reports.

Giant telescope: Everything is going great for the powerful telescope sent to space two weeks ago. So far.


TV actor dies: Dwayne Hickman, the affable actor who starred in the “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,” died on Sunday in Los Angeles. He was 87.

Crash near Whiteman Airport: A train slammed into a downed plane in Pacoima on Sunday afternoon, NBC News reports.


Solar farm: Construction has begun on a major solar project in eastern Kern, The Bakersfield Californian reports.


Prison town: The economy of Susanville, located high in the Sierra Nevada, is built on incarceration. So what happens when California starts closing its prisons?

Power outage: More than 3,000 households in the Sierra Nevada have been without power for two weeks after a severe winter storm, The Sacramento Bee reports.

Skier found: The body of a skier who was reported missing near Tahoe on Christmas has been found three miles away from the resort where he was riding, NBC News reports.


A deluxe nigiri box by Sushi Kaneyoshi in Los Angeles.Credit…Rozette Rago for The New York Times

What we’re eating

Los Angeles is America’s sprawling sushi capital.


Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Where we’re traveling

Today’s travel tip comes from Paul Spitzmueller, a reader who lives in and recommends Oakland:

“The culture and food are thriving amidst the pandemic with diversity in choices as varied as the people walking the streets and paths around downtown’s Lake Merritt. I love to spend a Saturday with my wife and our dog, walking in one of the many regional parks and our favorite is the French Trail in Redwood Regional. Following that, we might visit the Grand Lake Farmers Market or visit any of our favorite dim sum spots in Chinatown, before window shopping in the Temescal, or strolling through Rockridge, Piedmont, or the upcoming Laurel. An evening is easily capped off with drinks at one of the many breweries, or standby cocktails and fare in Uptown.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.

Tell us

What’s the best part of winter in California? Email us at CAtoday@nytimes.comwith your traditions, recommendations and opinions.


Credit…misterdebs photography

And before you go, some good news

On Dec. 22, Darrick Lo and Adrienne Lei married at San Francisco City Hall in front of their family, friends and cat, Nina.

Years earlier, in 2015, the two met at an art museum in New York City. Lo approached Lei and said hello, but left without giving her his phone number. The two had no way to contact one another.

So how did they end up together?

Read the story in The Times.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Library stock (5 letters).

Jordan Allen and Jonah Candelario contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.

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