Gov. Gavin Newsom capped off this legislative session by approving hundreds of bills to address multiple crises facing the state, while vetoing others over revenue concerns.
Here’s a look at some of the bills he signed and others he vetoed:
The COVID-19 pandemic complicated lawmakers’ ability to gather in the state Capitol to pass laws, but it also required a hard pivot to address health and economic response.
Newsom signed bills to create a state stockpile of personal protective equipment and boost protections and resources for health care and farmworkers.
He vetoed a measure that would have required some businesses to prioritize rehiring their laid-off workers before making new hires. Labor unions pushed the measure, arguing older workers who make more money are vulnerable to losing work and income.
In a veto letter, Newsom cited the toll the hospitality industry has already taken and said the bill would place “too onerous a burden on employers navigating these tough challenges.”
Criminal & Racial Justice
Newsom signed the handful of police reform bills that made it to his desk. (Though other proposals didn’t clear the legislature.)
Among them is a bill requiring the state Department of Justice to investigate police killings of unarmed civilians. He also signed a bill banning the carotid chokehold and other neck restraints.
He vetoed a bill that would have created a pilot program within CalOES for community-based organizations to respond to certain emergencies. Assembly Bill 2054 was seen as a possible way to explore alternatives to policing in neighborhoods and communities of color.
“The underlying goal of this legislation is important,” Newsom said in a veto letter, though he said CalOES is not the appropriate location for the program and that funding for a pilot should be included in a state budget.
Newsom also signed off on a bill creating the nation’s first reparations task force. The group will study the adverse impacts of slavery and recommend compensation for African Americans and descendants of enslaved people.
Newsom signed a handful of bills aimed at reducing impacts of catastrophic fires. Among them is a measure strengthening coverage for fire insurance while giving affected homeowners more time to collect.
Another requires new homes built near at-risk forests to have additional “home hardening” protections and vegetation control.
Despite a massive budget shortfall, lawmakers also approved a padded budget for CalFire earlier this year.
Housing & Homelessness
Even in the midst of a pandemic and record fire season, housing costs and homelessness are still top-of-mind for many Californians.
Newsom previously signed a measure temporarily preventing renters affected financially by the pandemic from facing eviction. But ahead of the possibility of large numbers of foreclosures by the time the pandemic ends, Newsom signed a bill that to bar corporations from buying foreclosed homes in bulk.
He also approved new subsidies to build more affordable housing, including units specifically for teachers. But more ambitious housing bills, including one to require neighborhoods zoned for single-family homes to allow duplexes, did not make it out of the legislative session.
Newsom vetoed a “right to housing” bill, citing a price tag his administration pegged at $10 billion annually.
“We need more than policy goals,” he wrote in a veto message. “We need tangible funding strategies and legal requirements — this means challenging accepted norms and … identifying necessary revenues.”
CapRadio provides a trusted source of news because of you. As a nonprofit organization, donations from people like you sustain the journalism that allows us to discover stories that are important to our audience. If you believe in what we do and support our mission, please donate today.