California Gov. Gavin Newsom has cleared his desk for the year after acting on hundreds of bills over the weekend, signing several measures that failed in previous years while issuing more than 100 veto messages.
One new law will require middle schools to start no earlier than 8 a.m. and high schools no sooner than 8:30 once it takes effect in a few years. It failed in the Legislature two years ago and was vetoed last year by former Gov. Jerry Brown.
Brown had also repeatedly vetoed smoking bans at state parks and beaches — famously writing once that “there must be some limit to the coercive power of government.” But Newsom’s signature enacts that ban starting next year.
And Newsom also signed a bill that limits dialysis company profits, despite fierce industry opposition. Previous efforts were rejected last year — both by Brown and by voters, who defeated Proposition 8.
Newsom attributed most of his vetoes to cost. For bill after bill, he praised the authors’ goals — such as expanding full-day kindergarten — but told them instead to work through the state budget process.
The most expensive measure he vetoed would have let cities and counties divert $2 billion a year in property tax revenue for schools to affordable housing projects.
He also rejected a bill that would have required large cities to create safe parking programs for people who are homeless, saying that decision should be made locally.
He sent back a bill setting rules for commercial blood banks for animals, saying it doesn’t go far enough.
And he vetoed a measure that would have let more cities use ranked choice voting, saying it’s created greater confusion instead of greater democracy.
Meanwhile, California will become the first state in the nation to ban the sale and manufacture of new fur products, one of several animal-related bills Newsom signed.
He also approved a measure that bans circuses from using bears, tigers, elephants, monkeys and other wild animals.
And the governor signed a bill that takes the first steps toward allowing Californians to eat roadkill for dinner. (Yes, you read that right!)