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Don’t Get Caught Up: The L.A. TACO Guide to 2022’s New Laws And How They May Affect You

10:49 AM PST on January 3, 2022

Before you go sauntering into the new year thinking you can just post up and live like it was 2021, think again.

A whole bunch of recently passed laws and regulations were activated the minute we crossed the midnight transom on December 31. Hundreds of them, according to the KCAL 9. From an especially light year of legislation, says the L.A. Times.

So rather than see you slipping and throwing your garlic peels in with your unmentionables or giving up on the dream of takeaway liquor, we thought we’d break down the most crucial ones you need to know for the months ahead. And do our best to skip the boring shit.

Let’s go.

Don't Cry Over Forgotten Salsa 

No longer will you be handed a set of plastic cutlery and 442 small packets of ketchup or sriracha and soy sauce at restaurants, bars, and fast-food drive-ins. AB1276 dictates that all this wasteful crap will now need to be requested, saving landfills from packing extra junk in their proverbial trunk. Now it’s on you. Ask for this stuff or enjoy your fries free of embellishment.

To-Go Liquor Is To Stay

Despite the horrors the pandemic has wrought on our species, one could argue a few decent developments emerged, such as free L.A. Metro rides, less shaking hands, seeing The Irishman from home with a fistful of fresh sourdough, and getting to-go cocktails from restaurants. Thanks to SB389, we’ll continue to have access to this last perk of takeout liquor with your food orders through 2026. But, the pandemic will be over by then, right? Right? Somebody?! Oh well, at least the laws have outdoor dining is sticking around for another year at least, too.

The Cost of Vaping Goes Way Up

Now vapers will have to pay a 12.5% tax on the price of their e-cigarettes. But that won’t take affect until July 1. So vape ‘em if you got ‘em.

We’ve Got Mail… Voting

Suck it, Richfucklicans. All registered Cali voters will be sent mail-in absentee ballots now. No matter how much gerrymandering and redistricting and whatever the hell else you sneaky, cheating, bad sport pricks try to do to keep Black/brown/female/trans/poor/sane people from voting against Darth Vader. That would be due to AB37. Our favorite new droid.

In Which We Learn, With Horror, What “Stealthing” Is

Jesus. Some of these laws are introducing us to fucked up terms that we are damn happy to see there are now laws against. Like “stealthing,” in which POS sexual offenders take off their condoms in the act of intercourse without asking for consent or mentioning it. Now that will be considered sexual battery and open these rapists up to lawsuits. Another state law by the same Democratic Assemblymember that passed that, Cristina Garcia of Bell Gardens, gives a mandatory prison time and sex offender status for the crime of spousal rape, removing any distinction for one’s marital status.

Amazon Must Respect Nature’s Call

California is now the first state that will forbid the colossal vipers of Babylon retail, like Amazon, from firing warehouse workers from missing quotas for such indulgently selfish acts as taking a bathroom break or following health and safety standards. Quotas must be clarified, as well.

Policing the Police

There are a bunch of new laws meant to respond to the demands of the racial justice movement that galvanized over police officer Derek Chauvin’s 2020 murder of George Floyd. AB48 prohibits police from firing rubber bullets and tear gas indiscriminately at crowds, barring a life-threatening situation, which as we all know, seems to be a lot of situations trigger-happy cops find themselves in. New training in the use of projectile weapons will also be implemented. AB490 bans police from using restraints that could cause “positional asphyxia” and suffocate a suspect. AB89 raises the age at which one can become a police officer to 21, which makes a whole lot of sense from where we’re sitting. AB26 will make it a requirement for officers to report any observation of a fellow officer using excessive force. And AB958 allows police departments to fire officers who join police gangs. Police also face greater scrutiny and outside approval for acquiring military-grade equipment as well as wider limits on posting people’s mugshots or offenses on social media. Super crazy that a lot of this wasn’t the law already.

Mandatory Minimums Becoming Less Mandatory

SB73 will end mandatory minimum sentencing for nonviolent drug convictions, while SB81 will consider childhood trauma during sentencing and reduce sentencing enhancement for drug and gang-related crimes, often allowing for probation instead of imprisonment. Both aim to reign in the explosion in mass incarceration over the last decades and the profusion of years once can have tacked onto their sentences.

Minimum Wage Is Going Up

California now officially has the highest minimum wage in the country, with West Hollywood going a step further than the required $14 an hour for companies with over 25 employees and $15 for those employing less. Garment workers will receive an hourly wage rather than continue being paid per item they manufacture, as well as having greater protections against wage theft. Farmworkers for big companies will finally receive overtime pay. Also, food delivery apps will have to be more upfront about your expenses and give the tips you intend for your delivery people to those actual delivery people. What a concept.

A Few Other Super Important Things...

Let’s see. Public schools and colleges must now stock gratis menstrual products in their bathrooms. Online subscriptions will be easier to cancel. “Nonbinary” will now be an option on death certificates. Serving members of the military will no longer have limits on criminal charges of sexual assault or harassment. Fridges are banned from using hydrofluorocarbons, which we thought happened long ago. Lead battery makers will have to pay an extra $1 per battery to provide for the cleanup of their toxic messes. Your tax records could net you jury duty. You will be legally required to separate compostable materials from your trash (we'll let Erin Stone at LAist explain that one.) Cosmetics manufacturers must disclose any harmful ingredients. People can’t record video or shoot photos within 100 feet of reproductive clinics and protestors must maintain 100 feet between themselves and patients at vaccination clinics. And anyone working or volunteering with youth organizations will undergo background checks, because apparently that wasn’t already required by law.

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