United States
California’s 2024 Legal Landscape: Challenges and Solutions

On January 1, 2024, Californians will face 16 new laws covering various topics, including campsite reservations and child sex trafficking. The state imposes high tax rates, but none of the new laws provide tax relief for the people. The California Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board perform similar functions but do not aim to save money by curtailing bureaucratic redundancy.

The California Coastal Commission has overridden elected governments’ scores and has run roughshod over property rights since the 1970s. None of the 16 new laws aim to eliminate the unelected Coastal Commission, which prevents California from making the best use of its natural resources. During the pandemic, California suffered $30 billion in unemployment fraud, with taxpayer dollars flowing to criminals. None of the 16 new laws seek to rectify this massive waste and fraud. Assembly Bill 1084 and Senate Bill 2 require stores to maintain a “gender-neutral section” for toys, but these intrusive measures are not as important as requiring stores to display toys for both genders.

In June 2022, the Supreme Court struck down New York’s law requiring individuals to show a special need for a conceal-and-carry permit. California responded by increasing the minimum age for carrying concealed weapons from 18 to 21 and banning them from sensitive places like schools, parks, playgrounds, and banks. Californians will lose their constitutional right to bear arms on January 1, making them more vulnerable to violent criminals. Criminals convicted of child sex trafficking will face additional prison time and up to 15 years in prison.

Californians have cause to wonder why the 16 measures offer little meaningful relief for the people. In 1996, the California Civil Rights Initiative provided relief from an openly racist state college admissions system and barred racial preferences in state education, employment, and contracting. In 1978, Proposition 13 limited government power to hike property taxes and required a two-thirds vote of the legislature to limit non-property taxes.

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