Governor Gavin Newsom must sign or veto about 550 California bills by midnight Friday

SACRAMENTO (KGO) — Time is running out for Governor Gavin Newsom to sign hundreds of bills still on his desk.

According to Chris Micheli, a longtime Sacramento lobbyist and assistant professor at the McGeorge School of Law and UC Davis School who closely follows the governor’s political movements, the governor still has to decide the fate of some 550 bills. He has until Friday midnight to do so.

“He pretty much needs to do around 110 invoices a day, which is quite a high volume,” Micheli explained.

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Among the bills still awaiting Newsom’s approval or veto are this controversial bill on the unionization of agricultural workers this would expand the organizing rights of agricultural workers. Farmworkers marched to the Capitol to raise awareness. And President Biden and President Pelosi urged the governor to sign it.

“We don’t know exactly what the governor is going to do,” Micheli said, “although we do know that one of his reporters in August indicated that the governor still had the same concerns as when he vetoed last year’s measure.”

Other pending bills include one drafted by San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting that would allow jaywalking on empty streets. The governor vetoed a similar bill last year.

He must also decide the fate of a bill that would radically change solitary confinement in California jails and jails by limiting use to 15 consecutive days and no more than 45 out of 180 days.

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So far, Newsom has vetoed 60 of the roughly 1,100 bills sent to him for approval this legislative session, according to Micheli. This includes his decision over the weekend to defeat a bill that would have made kindergarten mandatory.

Micheli said the main reason Newsom vetoes a bill is usually cost.

“Across all of these bills, these 1,100 bills from the 2022 session, if you add up all the costs, they would exceed $20 billion in one-time or ongoing expenditures,” he said. “And so he said, look, I can’t sign all these bills because they have such a big fiscal impact.”

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In recent days, the governor signed a number of bills into law.

On Friday, the day he proclaimed Native American Day, he signed a bill that would remove the ethnic slur word “squaw” from all geographic features and locations in the state. And a bill that would rename University of California Hastings College of the Law to College of the Law, San Francisco.

Over the weekend, he also signed two bills to crack down on catalytic converter theft. Both would restrict how and where people and recyclers can buy used catalytic converters.

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“We’re going to get to the root cause, at least one of the root causes of this crime, and it’s these brokers and middlemen who are paying top dollar for the stolen coins,” Newsom said in a video announcement posted on Twitter. “It will now be illegal in California to purchase catalytic converters from anyone other than dismantlers or authorized car dealerships.”

He explained that people who buy or sell these coins will now have to keep detailed records to better know if thefts are occurring.

“You take the market away from stolen goods, you can help reduce theft,” Newsom continued. “It’s not much more complicated than that.”

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Bernard P. Love