Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton is keeping a close watch on the governor's actions - especially the ones that might impact the economy:
Dutton: "We don't have a shortage of rules and regulations in California. What we have a shortage of is some good old-fashioned common sense that lets businesses survive and prosper and create jobs."
The governor signed some two-dozen measures Thursday that his office says will help boost the state's economic competiveness. One that's gotten a lot of attention involves a deal between Democratic legislative leaders and business groups. Starting in late 2013, it will require state agencies to conduct rigorous economic assessments on new regulations.
Brown also signed measures to eliminate the fingerprinting requirement for food stamp applicants, crack down on cell phone use in state prisons and support health care for pregnant women and mothers.
The new law that changes the state's regulatory system stems from a deal between Democratic legislative leaders and business groups like the California Chamber of Commerce. It will require state agencies to review major regulations more thoroughly, conduct rigorous economic impact assessments and increase the transparency of the regulatory process.
Republican Senator Bob Huff says it's a good first step - but not enough.
Huff: "Anything that does a closer look at the regulations we're putting in, like economic impact, is good. I would like to see Governor Brown go a little further than he does on Regulation Reform. I believe that's a huge deal to the uncertainty that we create in our business climate."
Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says the measure will "dispel the naysayers' drum beat that California is unfriendly to business."
Cell Phones in Prisons
Smuggling cell phones into California prisons will now result in fines and extra prison time. Democratic State Senator Alex Padilla says cracking down on cell phone use in prisons will help prevent crime.
Padilla: "Cell phones are being used by inmates to facilitate drug trafficking, coordinate street gang activity, plan escapes from state prisons, to intimidate witnesses before trial - notorious, notorious activity."
Padilla's bill also allows the state to use new technology to block cell phone signals and communications in prisons. Under that provision, the governor is issuing an executive order telling the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to pursue that goal. Brown is also directing the Corrections Department to examine the possibility of implementing "airport-style security screening" at state prisons.
By Pauline Bartolone
Governor Jerry Brown signed four bills into law Thursday which will support health care for pregnant women and mothers.
Two new laws will close a gap in health coverage for maternity in California. All state-regulated plans and policies will need to include pregnancy services starting July 2012.
Also starting next year, a law will ensure continuation of health coverage for a woman on maternity leave from her job.
And in 2014, hospitals will need policies to promote breastfeeding to women just after childbirth.