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With the Stroke of a Pen: The Not-so-Golden State is Setting the U.S. Legislative Agenda Once Again

Updated: Nov 27, 2023


Photo Credit: Office of the Governor

By JCI Worldwide


In the home stretch of 2023, California continues to assert itself as a trendsetter of legislation that impacts; business, environment, education, labor, real estate, and technology. The Golden State has enacted several groundbreaking bills spanning an array of hot-button issues. As gridlock continues in Washington, DC. it is more and more important what states like California do and how their actions impact business, communities and individuals in their states. The following are some of the landmark bills that are pushing a new agenda -- nationally.


Climate & The Environment



This pioneering legislation mandates that large businesses in California, both public and private, with annual revenues exceeding $1 billion, must disclose both direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions. Non-compliance with this new mandate could result in hefty fines of up to $500,000 per year. The disclosure of environmental data and climate risk assessment could become a nationwide standard, significantly impacting corporate transparency.



This bill targets companies with annual revenue exceeding $500 million, requiring them to release climate-related financial risk reports biennially, commencing in 2026. Non-compliance could lead to penalties of up to $50,000. This legislation may further fuel conversations nationally regarding the financial implications of climate change and the necessity for corporate financial transparency.


Housing & Regulations




This bill provides streamlined permitting processes to developers in cities that are non-compliant with state-mandated housing targets. SB-423 extends SB-35, adding new labor standards and environmental protections while fast-tracking multifamily housing production. This could act as a springboard for other states to simplify their own housing development regulations, especially in areas where housing shortages are a concern.


Healthcare



This bill allows California to seek federal permission for a single payer health care system. California's pursuit of a single-payer healthcare system goes beyond state borders, and could serve as a precedent for other states seeking to reform their healthcare systems. In turn, the discussions and actions stemming from this could influence the healthcare policy debates at the federal level.


Business, Employment & Consumer Protection



This bill prohibits specified dyes and chemicals commonly found in candies, such as Skittles. If this bill proves effective, other states might adopt similar regulations on these chemicals, leading to bans for these products and a more uniform approach to consumer protection across the country. One thing is for certain: California no longer wants to taste the rainbow.



This bill mandates employers to address violence in the workplace compels proactively. Workplace violence is a concern that transcends state boundaries, affecting employees and businesses across the United States. By requiring employers to implement measures to address and prevent workplace violence, this legislation may inspire conversations in other states. The need for comprehensive workplace violence prevention strategies is increasingly evident, and SB 553 could serve as a model for other states for how to create safer work environments.

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