1959 - Fair Employment Practices Act
Years ahead of the similar protections guaranteed by the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Legislature at the urging of Governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown enacts a Fair Employment Practices Act in 1959 to prohibit race discrimination by employers and labor unions. The Unruh Civil Rights Act prohibits racial discrimination by those engaged in business activities, including real estate brokers. The Legislature follows up with laws to prohibit job and/or housing discrimination based on marital status (1976), pregnancy (1978), and sexual orientation (1999) and to prohibit sexual harassment on the job (1982).
1960 - Anti-smog Devices
The Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Act, the first law of its kind in the country, requires installation of smog-control devices on vehicles. Federal laws by the late 1960s were requiring reduced auto emissions, but California's standards were stricter than those of the federal Clean Air Act of 1967. Later versions and amendments to the federal act toughened those standards and gave California's smoggy metropolitan areas deadlines to comply.
1969 - Clean Water Act
The Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act is adopted as one of the nation's strongest anti-pollution laws and becomes a model for the federal Clean Water Act of 1972.