Capitol Alert

Abortion pills, gun control and roadkill: New California laws Gavin Newsom just signed

And the sun sets on the California Capitol’s 2019 legislative year.

Gov. Gavin Newsom crossed the finish line of his first session as governor on Sunday with a bill-signing sprint that brought his total approved laws to 870 and his vetoed proposals to 172.

“Together, we have accomplished a great deal this year to help California families get ahead and made historic progress on some of the state’s most intractable challenges,” Newsom said via press release.

In case you missed it, here were this weekend’s major legislative updates.

Those that passed

Among the deluge of bills approved by Newsom are several laws that his predecessor Jerry Brown had vetoed, as well as others that are a clear rebuke to President Donald Trump’s policies against immigration and reproductive rights.

“For four years, students have been fighting for a future where reproductive health services, including abortion, are available to all students who need them,” said Adiba Khan, co-founder of Berkeley Students United for Reproductive Justice, the group that rallied support for the legislation.

  • Californians will be limited to purchasing one long gun per month, building on the same handgun restriction.

  • Coworkers, employers and school faculty will be able to petition a court for a gun violence restraining order against individuals they think pose a harm to themselves or the community.

  • Supporters say a new law capping payment rates for kidney dialysis treatment will lower insurance costs, but opponents argue it will prevent kidney patients from accessing needed care.

  • Loans of $2,500 to $10,000 are now capped at a 36 percent interest rate in efforts to target “predatory lending” in California.

  • Newsom agreed with legislation to delay start times for middle and high schools to 8 and 8:30 a.m., respectively. The bill’s advocates say it will help alleviate a public health crisis. Others say it infringes on local control.

“Moving to a uniform statewide school start time poses significant challenges for students and families, notwithstanding the financial burden this will place on school districts, ultimately impact students,” said Claudia Briggs, a spokeswoman for the California Teachers Association.

  • You kill it, you grill it. The governor green-lighted a pilot program to allow drivers who collide with wildlife to eat the animals.

... and those that failed.

Newsom sent his fair share of bills to the graveyard, for a veto rate of 16.5 percent, according to Sacramento lobbyist Chris Micheli.

  • Legislation to prohibit cities from entering new tax-sharing agreements with retailers like Amazon and Apple died with Newsom’s veto on Saturday night. Central Valley lawmakers staunchly opposed the measure, arguing the tax breaks helped kick start financial growth in some communities.

“SB 531 would have dealt a significant blow to the San Joaquin Valley’s economic engine,” said state Sen. Andreas Borgeas, R-Fresno. “It is important to recognize that part of Fresno’s economic vitality is a result of the ability of local governments to recruit businesses into the region and help existing local businesses expand with land use and other financial incentives.”

  • Affordable housing advocates were severely disappointed with Newsom’s axing of a bill to unlock a gradual release of hundreds of millions to finance local housing projects. State Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, said “zoning and streamlining alone” are not enough to combat the state’s growing housing crisis that’s leaving California families on the brink of homelessness.

  • Newsom also rebuked an idea to relax rules against canine blood donations. The proposal was meant to alleviate a growing concern that owners were keeping dogs and creating commercial blood banks that were harmful to the animals. The governor instead said he wanted stricter animal protection regulations.
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Hannah Wiley joined The Bee as a legislative reporter in 2019. She produces the morning newsletter for Capitol Alert and previously reported on immigration, education and criminal justice. She’s a Chicago-area native and a graduate of Saint Louis University and Northwestern.
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