Legislation Authored by Assemblymember Marc Berman to Take Effect in 2024
SACRAMENTO –Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) authored twelve new laws that take effect in 2024. The legislation includes his first-in-the-nation phase out of gas-powered small off-road engines such as leaf blowers and lawn mowers and his transformative higher education reforms.
“2024 is an important year for the implementation of some of the most impactful bills I’ve authored during my tenure in the Assembly,” said Assemblymember Berman. “My landmark environmental bill, AB 1346, which made California the first state to phase out the sale of gas-powered lawn equipment, takes effect in January 1, 2024. Higher education students will see some of the biggest reforms as a host of policies to boost student success will take effect next year. In addition, 2024 will also bring a number of timely new laws focused on addressing some of the biggest issues of our time, including ending gun violence, improving elections security and accessibility, and capping prescription costs.”
Unless otherwise stated, all laws go into effect on January 1st, 2024:
Assembly Bill 1346 phases out the sale of highly polluting small gas-powered engines such as leaf blowers and lawn mowers beginning in 2024. Assemblymember Berman secured $30 million in state funding to ease the transition to zero emission equipment for small landscaping businesses.
“Leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and other equipment with small gas-powered engines emit staggering levels of air pollution,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman. “These noisy machines are terribly disruptive to communities across California, and the workers who breathe in exhaust from this equipment day in and day out face disproportionate health risks, including asthma, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. To support an equitable transition to safer, cleaner equipment, we secured $30 million in state funding to help small businesses purchase zero-emission replacements.”
Assembly Bill 1539 prohibits a person from voting in both California and another state in elections that occur on the same day.
Assembly Bill 1219 updates and improves the ballot design for voters while providing county elections officials with additional flexibility to reflect the diversity of counties and election systems.
Assembly Bill 1037 authorizes county elections officials to offer the option for California voters to fix or cure their Vote by Mail ballot electronically if the elections official determines that the signature does not match, or if the ballot envelope lacks a signature. The authorization takes effect in 2024, but the implementation timing is at the discretion of counties.
Gun Violence Prevention
Assembly Bill 1420 will ensure the California DOJ has the authority and tools necessary to adequately enforce any violations relating to the governing of the sale, transfer, and storage of firearms.
Assembly Bill 789, which takes effect at the start of the 2024–25 academic year, enables students to continue their education by removing barriers to keeping their financial aid and creating uniformity and transparency for students to appeal the loss of financial aid. The law ensures that postsecondary institutions across California do not impose requirements stricter than those required by federal law. It will also require that institutions consider a broader range of extenuating circumstances reflective of the student experience as a basis for an appeal to reinstate financial aid. Lastly, the bill creates a pathway for students who have disenrolled to regain aid upon re-enrollment.
Assembly Bill 928, the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act of 2021, transformed the transfer process in order to improve college affordability and increase access to higher education. On August, 1, 2024, a key provision of the law will take effect. This provision requires community colleges to place students who seek to transfer on an Associate Degree for Transfer pathway. The Associate Degree for Transfer guarantees admission to the CSU and participating independent non-profit universities. In addition, once students transfer, they only need to complete 60 units of coursework to earn a bachelor’s degree, saving students both time and money.
Assembly Bill 1111 requires, by July 1, 2024, that California Community Colleges adopt a student facing common course numbering system to ensure that comparable courses have the same course number at all community colleges. This law reduces unnecessary confusion, eases advising, reduces excess unit accumulation, and makes it easier for community college students to transfer and earn their degree.
Assembly Bill 537, which takes effect on July 1, 2024, requires that mandatory hotel and resort fees be disclosed in the advertised, offered, and displayed room rates. The new law will crack down on hidden fees in the hotel industry – what President Biden termed “junk fees.”
Assembly Bill 2006 streamlines the oversight of affordable housing developments in California. The law requires the three state agencies which currently conduct oversight over affordable housing developments to enter into a memorandum of understanding to coordinate their compliance monitoring. The law, which was signed by Governor Newsom in 2022, takes effect on July 1 2024.
Assembly Bill 948 will keep out-of-pocket drug costs low for consumers by permanently extending a prescription drug pricing cap and protections, which were set to expire next year. Without these critically important protections in place, consumers could once again pay thousands of dollars in one month alone for essential medication. This bill ensures our state will never again force Californians to go bankrupt when they need life-saving medication.
Assembly Bill 1130 will contribute to the reduction of stigma for individuals with substance use disorder by replacing outdated, pejorative terminology in our laws. The law updates provisions of code to replace the term “addict” with “person with substance use disorder.” This change is consistent with guidance from the National Institutes of Health to avoid terms that increase stigma and negative bias when discussing addiction.