Newsom’s Bill Signing Flurry Results in 770 New Laws
You’d be forgiven for not knowing Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed the largest expansion of California’s college financial aid system in a generation — he did so during the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants’ first playoff game Friday night.
Hours later, it was all over: Newsom signed his final bills on Saturday, a day ahead of the Oct. 10 deadline to act on the 836 proposals state lawmakers sent to his desk. Of those, he signed 770 (92%) and vetoed 66 (7.9%), according to Sacramento lobbyist Chris Micheli.
Related Story: How Many ‘Job Killer’ Bills Did Newsom Sign?
Here’s a look at the significant new laws coming to the Golden State — as well as ideas Newsom prevented from becoming law.
Signed into law:
- Making ethnic studies a high school graduation requirement, as CalMatters’ Joe Hong reports. Under a bill Newsom signed last year, California State University students must also take an ethnic studies course to graduate.
- Mandating mental health instruction in middle and high schools that have an existing health education course.
- Requiring public colleges, universities, and secondary schools to provide free menstrual products on campus.
- Requiring large department stores to maintain a gender-neutral section of toys and child care items.
- Restricting sentence enhancements for many crimes, as recommended by an obscure committee examining California’s penal code.
- Ensuring police can’t block journalists from covering protests and demonstrations.
- Cracking down on sideshows and illegal street racing by allowing courts to suspend convicted motorists’ licenses for up to six months.
- Giving cities more authority to reduce their speed limits.
- Making it illegal to harass people entering vaccination clinics. First Amendment experts say several aspects of the law — including an exemption for “lawful picketing arising out of a labor dispute” — may be unconstitutional.
- Ending “surprise billing” for COVID-19 tests and vaccinations.
- Extending a phone tax to fund high-speed internet in underserved areas.
- Allowing restaurants to continue selling to-go cocktails, using parking lots for expanded seating, and serving alcohol in parklets.
- Offering year-round fishing licenses.
- Banning the sale of new gas-powered leaf blowers, lawnmowers, and other small off-road engines by as soon as 2024.
- Phasing out controversial donor dog facilities to create a new canine blood bank system.
- Massively expanding Cal Grant, the state’s chief financial aid program. Ironically, the move came a few days after Newsom approved a stack of bills he said would increase college affordability and accessibility.
- Creating non-hospital facilities for young people insured by Medi-Cal who are experiencing mental health crises.
- Paying people struggling with drug addiction to stay sober.
- Permitting cannabis products to be advertised on most freeway billboards.
- Decriminalizing jaywalking, which would have allowed people to cross the street outside of crosswalks without getting a ticket.
- Allowing bicyclists to roll through stop signs.
About the Author
Emily Hoeven writes the daily WhatMatters newsletter for CalMatters. Her reporting, essays, and opinion columns have been published in San Francisco Weekly, the Deseret News, the San Francisco Business Times, the Flathead Beacon, the Daily Pennsylvanian, and the Mercury News. Emily graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in English and French and studied English at the University of Cambridge, England as a Thouron Summer Prize fellow. She speaks French fluently and spent a year teaching English in Châteauroux, France.