Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed 770 new California laws and vetoed 66 from the 2021 session of the California Legislature. Here’s a look at what’s coming in the Golden State.
You’d be forgiven for not knowing Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed the largest expansion of California’s college financial aid system in a generation — he did so during the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants’ first playoff game Friday night.
Hours later, it was all over: Newsom signed his final bills on Saturday, a day ahead of the Oct. 10 deadline to act on the 836 proposals state lawmakers sent to his desk. Of those, he signed 770 (92%) and vetoed 66 (7.9%), according to Sacramento lobbyist Chris Micheli.
Here’s a look at the significant new laws coming to the Golden State — as well as ideas Newsom prevented from becoming law.
Signed into law:
- Making ethnic studies a high school graduation requirement, as CalMatters’ Joe Hong reports. Under a bill Newsom signed last year, California State University students must also take an ethnic studies course to graduate.
- Mandating mental health instruction in middle and high schools that have an existing health education course.
- Requiring public colleges, universities and secondary schools to provide free menstrual products on campus.
- Requiring large department stores to maintain a gender-neutral section of toys and child care items.
- Restricting sentence enhancements for many crimes, as recommended by an obscure committee examining California’s penal code.
- Ensuring police can’t block journalists from covering protests and demonstrations.
- Cracking down on sideshows and illegal street racing by allowing courts to suspend convicted motorists’ licenses for up to six months.
- Giving cities more authority to reduce their speed limits.
- Making it illegal to harass people entering vaccination clinics. First Amendment experts say several aspects of the law — including an exemption for “lawful picketing arising out of a labor dispute” — may be unconstitutional.
- Ending “surprise billing” for COVID-19 tests and vaccinations.
- Extending a phone tax to fund high-speed internet in underserved areas.
- Allowing restaurants to continue selling to-go cocktails, using parking lots for expanded seating, and serving alcohol in parklets.
- Offering year-round fishing licenses.
- Banning the sale of new gas-powered leaf blowers, lawn mowers and other small off-road engines by as soon as 2024.
- Phasing out controversial donor dog facilities to create a new canine blood bank system.
- Massively expanding Cal Grant, the state’s chief financial aid program. Ironically, the move came a few days after Newsom approved a stack of bills he said would increase college affordability and accessibility.
- Creating non-hospital facilities for young people insured by Medi-Cal who are experiencing mental health crises.
- Paying people struggling with drug addiction to stay sober.
- Permitting cannabis products to be advertised on most freeway billboards.
- Decriminalizing jaywalking, which would have allowed people to cross the street outside of crosswalks without getting a ticket.
- Allowing bicyclists to roll through stop signs.