Gov. Newsom Signs (and Vetoes) Reams of Legislation on Last Day of Deadline

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Gov. Gavin Newsom at a press conference earlier this year. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Sunday night was the final deadline for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s to sign or veto bills from the current legislative session — and he kept some legislators waiting until the last moments to find out if their bills were going to live or die.

On the last day before the deadline, Newsom announced he had signed 870 bills into law. But Sunday's flurry of action included more vetoes than signings, mostly for things Newsom said the state could not afford to implement.

That included blocking a bill that would have required all schools to provide at least six weeks of pregnancy leave at full pay for staff. He also vetoed a bill requiring all elementary schools to have at least one full-day kindergarten program by 2022. Newsom did, though, sign into law a bill banning public high schools from starting class before 8:30 a.m. and middle schools from starting before 8 a.m. The governor's office has a full list of all the bills signed and vetoed on the last day.

Over the last week, Newsom signed landmark legislation that ran the gamut from a ban on selling fur to a mandate that state university health centers stock abortion medication.

Below is a roundup of some of the standout bills signed in the lead up to the legislative deadline.

Health and Aging

SB 24: This bill, which is the first of it kind in the U.S., requires student health centers at all 34 UC and CSU campuses to provide medication abortions. The California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls will administer a Reproductive Health Fund to pay for the upfront costs of providing this option across campuses. But eventually universities may need to dip into tax dollars or student fees for ongoing costs — a funding avenue abortion opponents are against.

AB 824: By Assemblyman Jim Wood, D-Santa Rosa, and sponsored by Attorney General Xavier Becerra, this is another first-in-the-nation bill. It addresses pay-for-delay agreements, which saddle prescription drug users with debt. The new law tamps down on the practice of pharmaceutical drug companies paying their generic counterparts to delay the release of cheaper versions of drugs.

SB 464: The California Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act requires implicit bias training for all perinatal health care providers and better tracking of maternal deaths by the coroner’s office. Mortality rates among black infants in California are triple those of white infants, and black women are substantially more likely to suffer life-threatening complications during pregnancy.

SB 159: This bill by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, provides the HIV-prevention drugs, pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP and PEP), without a prescription.

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Education

SB 265: This amends a previous bill, the Child Hunger Prevention and Fair Treatment Act of 2017, to ensure students who receive free or reduced school lunches are offered the same meal as their peers. Previously, low-income students received an alternative lunch, which student advocates said singled them out.

“No more lunch shaming in CA,” Newsom tweeted on Sunday. In August, Newsom met with Ryan Kyote, a 9-year-old from Napa, who used his lunch card to cover meals for other students.

AB 493: This directs the California Department of Education to train teachers on how to best support LGBTQ students in middle and high school.

AB 982: The goal of this bill is to help students during periods of suspension stay on track with their schoolwork. The law mandates that schools provide homework assignments upon request to students suspended for two or more school days.

SB 328: California becomes the first state in the country to mandate later start times for public schools, with the hope of improving educational success with more sleep. The law will take effect over a phased-in period, ultimately requiring middle schools to start at or after 8 a.m. and high schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. The law does not apply to optional early classes or to schools in some rural areas.

Here's a list of most of the education bills signed by the governor.

Housing

AB 1482: Considered the biggest victory for California renter protections in decades, this bill creates a statewide limit on rent increases of 5% plus inflation. It also requires that landlords provide a “just cause” when evicting tenants who have been renting for a year or more. The limits on rent hikes don’t go nearly as far as local rent control laws in places like San Francisco and Oakland, but it would cover millions of Californians whose units didn't already have such protections. The bill will sunset after 10 years.

SB 330: From Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, this law aims to cut down on red tape and to speed up construction projects by making it harder for local governments to kill affordable housing developments and homeless shelters. The provision sunsets after five years.

AB 1738: On Sunday, Newsom also signed a streamlined process for creating more agricultural farmworker housing.

The Environment

AB 54: By Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, AB 54 brings temporary relief in the wake of the mass closures of recycling centers that came with the folding of RePlanet, the state’s largest recycling business. The bill provides $10 million for recycling centers and gives grocers a reprieve from paying some recycling fees.

AB 342: AB 342 rejects the Trump administration’s plans to use protected public lands for oil and gas production. It bars any state entity from entering into an agreement to authorize pipelines or other oil- or gas-related infrastructure built on state-owned land.

AB 1057: This renames the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources with the intent to also change the mission of the newly christened Geologic Energy Management Division. New leadership at the Department of Conservation, which oversees this division, and a new division supervisor underscore efforts to reroute the agency. The bill establishes protecting public health, safety and environmental quality as the agency’s new top priorities.

Here's the full list of bills aimed at limiting and regulating fossil fuels, including requiring a process for cleaning up non-floating oil and conducting testing on abandoned wells.

Animal Welfare

AB 44: Anti-fur advocates have long sought to end the use of animals for their fur, and California is the first state in the nation to ban the creation of new fur products. Republican critics said the law was disrespectful to Native Americans, but there are exceptions in the bill for fur used by Native American tribes for traditional purposes.

SB 313: This bill would ban the use of wild animals in circus acts, including bears, elephants, tigers and monkeys. California is only the third state, after New Jersey and Hawaii to enact a ban like this.

AB 128 protects California’s wild and domestic horses from slaughter and AB 1254 bans bobcat hunting, trapping or killing until 2025. Notably, SB 395, signed Sunday night, would allow drivers to eat animals that they accidentally hit and kill with their car.

Other Bills Worth Noting

In criminal justice reform, AB 1076 will make it easier for people to clear their records of old criminal offenses, AB 484 give judges more leeway when sentencing offenders for certain drug crimes and SB 22 requires new rape kits be submitted for testing within 20 days and actually be tested within 120 days.

AB 32 bans any new contracts or contract renewals with private prisons. By 2028, the bill will also require California to stop holding inmates in for-profit prison facilities.

With an election year just a few months away, SB 72 mandates same-day voter registration starting in 2020, though voters who wait until Election Day to register won’t be counted until their registration is cleared by county officials

Finally, Newsom signed a number of sexual harassment protection-oriented bills spurred by the #MeToo movement.

reporting from the Associated Press was used in this post.