Capitol Alert

What you missed from Jerry Brown’s busy weekend + Veto rates

Gov. Jerry Brown, right, reviews legislation in his office  with First Lady Anne Gust Brown,  and Camille Wagner, legislative secretary. The Browns’ dog, Colusa, stands watch underneath the table at the California Capitol in Sacramento on Sept. 30, 2018. This was Brown’s last day signing bills while in office.
Gov. Jerry Brown, right, reviews legislation in his office with First Lady Anne Gust Brown, and Camille Wagner, legislative secretary. The Browns’ dog, Colusa, stands watch underneath the table at the California Capitol in Sacramento on Sept. 30, 2018. This was Brown’s last day signing bills while in office.


For the final time in Jerry Brown’s governorship, the desk is clear. Over the weekend, he decided the fate of 183 bills. While there were many notable signatures and vetoes on Saturday and Sunday, here are a few you may have overlooked:

  • Senate Bill 320 — Brown on Sunday vetoed a bill that would have required California public university student health centers to offer abortion medication by the start of 2022. He said the the plan was unnecessary because “services required by this bill are widely available off-campus.”
  • Late Sunday, he signed two bills to limit prosecution of minors and a third to modify California’s longstanding felony murder rule. He also signed a bill to ease the erasure of old marijuana convictions.
  • Senate Bill 826 — Brown approved a bill Sunday afternoon requiring public companies to have women on boards. Democrats Hannah Beth-Jackson and Toni Atkins introduced the proposal, which was a top priority this year for the California Legislative Women’s Caucus. Opponents argue the new law will violate the independent voting rights of corporate boards and force companies to discriminate against qualified men. In a singing statement, Brown acknowledged concerns that “may prove fatal” to the bill’s implementation, but said “it’s high time corporate boards include the people who constitute more than half the ‘persons’ in America.”
  • Senate Bills 835 and 836 — Another year, another failure. For the third straight year, Brown vetoed bills that would have banned smoking in state parks and beaches. “Third time is not always a charm,” Brown wrote in his veto message.
  • Senate Bill 1250 — On Saturday, Brown signed a proposal allowing California lawmakers in future sessions to have an easier time living outside their districts. The bill loosens the legal standards for 80 assemblymembers and 40 senators when determining their primary residence. Addresses listed on their voter registration will be accepted as their residence for eligibility purposes. Despite some concerns lawmakers could move away from their districts and into wealthier areas, it cleared the Legislature easily.


Brown has considered nearly 20,000 bills in his 16-year tenure as California’s governor. When signing the final bill on his desk — Assembly Bill 237 — he hinted at his post-governorship plans.

In a signing statement, Brown wrote the alternative to the bill is worse, quoted Exodus 22:15, and offered his signature.

Oh, and he also left a brief note: “PS: And now onto the Promised Land—Colusa County!”


Brown cleared his desk Sunday night, having vetoed 201 of 1,217 regular session bills this year. His veto rate of 16.5 percent is a new high over the course of his 16-year tenure.

Still, Brown’s veto rates have held fairly steady during his past two terms as governor, ranging from 12 percent to 16.5 percent:

2018: 16.5%

2017: 12.1%

2016: 15%

2015: 14.1%

2014: 13.3%

2013: 10.7%

2012: 12%

2011: 14.4%

During his first eight-year run, from 1975 to 1983, Brown vetoed 4.6 percent of regular session bills, according to the Office of Senate Research. He set a historic low in 1982 when he vetoed just 30 bills — or 1.8 percent.


The debut episode of California Nation is out! On the show, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom discusses his solutions to homelessness. State Sen. Kevin de León also sits down for a one-on-one interview to talk about the state of the Democratic Party and his efforts to unseat Sen. Dianne Feinstein. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play Music and SoundCloud.


Rep. Tom McClintock (@tommcclintock) — “The Senate Judiciary Committee has just voted to send the confirmation of #JudgeKavanaugh to the Senate floor for a vote. The entire charade has been nothing short of one of the most hateful, partisan attacks we’ve witnessed in Congress. #VoteKavanaugh”


Should California voters repeal the gas tax in November? Influencers have plenty to say.

“To begin reinvesting in a 21st Century infrastructure to ease the flow of goods and services and reduce commute times. The gas tax is long overdue. We need to vote no on Prop 6.”

Steve Westly, Former California State Controller & Founder of the Westly Group

MUST-READ: Kavanaugh’s lies ‘relatively well-proved,’ Jerry Brown says

Curious about what's happening at the Capitol?

So are we. Every day, reporters at The Sacramento Bee are investigating and researching the business of politics in California, breaking down the stories, the constituencies and the impacts of these decisions so you don’t have to.
  • We explain how Capitol dealmaking affects your pocketbook, your job and your family.
  • We hold California politicians and state agencies accountable with in-depth watchdog reporting.
  • We deliver crystal clear, vital information to help inform how you might vote on specific issues or candidates.
Stay informed. Take advantage of a 99-cents offer for your first month of access to The Sacramento Bee.


The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board endorses Gavin Newsom for governor but argues voters deserve to know more about his priorities.

The Ed Board thinks California’s two U.S. senators — Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris — played leading roles in the Kavanaugh hearing Thursday but served as actors in a play with a pre-determined outcome.

Columnist Erika Smith says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh exemplifies white male privilege.

Dan Schnur, former chairman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, thinks the question of whether President Donald Trump inspires his supporters or opponents more fervently will determine which party controls Congress.

Courtney McKinney, a Sacramento writer and communications professional, wonders why police helicopters fly over neighborhoods for nonviolent crimes.

Tim Johnson, president and CEO of the California Rice Commission, and Amber Stott, CEO of the nonprofit Food Literacy Center, believe the Sacramento region’s Farm-to-Fork Capital resolution passed in 2012 is paying off.


Jack Ohman takes a swig of the Kavanaugh hearing.