New laws lead California to a safer and fairer future

Starting July 1, California isn't just changing some of its laws—it's changing people's lives, too. From the bustling streets of Los Angeles to the serene landscapes of the Sierra Nevada, residents will have to navigate a new legal landscape that brings groundbreaking changes like taxing firearms to protect schools, ensuring transparent prices in shopping carts, and committing to nightlife safety by making drug testing available for free in bars.

These changes reflect a state's willingness to tackle societal challenges head-on and promise a safer, fairer and more transparent future for its diverse population.

Here is a summary of some important new laws that went into effect with the start of the fiscal year on Monday, July 1.

Ammunition and weapons tax (AB 28): California is the first state to impose an 11 percent state tax on guns and ammunition. The revenue will be used to fund school safety and violence prevention programs.

Creation of home ownership (SB 684): This law is intended to facilitate housing construction by requiring cities and counties to approve certain projects containing up to 10 housing units in multifamily housing areas without public hearings or votes.

Drug testing for rape offenses in bars (AB 1013): Bars with a certain type of liquor license must now offer drug testing, either for sale or free, to help customers test for the presence of date rape drugs.

Elimination of hidden/unnecessary fees (SB 478): This law aims to increase price transparency by prohibiting companies from advertising or displaying prices that do not include all mandatory fees, except for certain taxes and shipping costs.

Keeping children in school (SB 274): The new law amends existing provisions to prohibit the suspension of students in grades K-12 for “willful disobedience” and expands protections that previously covered only grades K-8.

Menstrual products in schools (AB 230): Public schools are required to provide free menstrual products from grades 3 through 12, expanding coverage that was previously limited to grades 6 through 12.

Right to Repair Act (SB 244): This law requires manufacturers to provide the necessary tools, parts and software to facilitate the repair of electronic devices, thereby supporting consumer rights and independent repair companies.

Deposit limit (AB 12): The new regulation limits the maximum deposit for renting a residential unit to one month's rent and provides special provisions for smaller property owners.

These laws, officials said, reflect the state's ongoing efforts to address issues such as affordable housing, consumer protection, public safety and education reform. Each measure is part of a broader legislative program aimed at improving the quality of life for all Californians while setting precedents that could influence other states.