Why did Newsom veto the proposals? – CalMatters

In summary

Governor Newsom had his reasons for blocking California bills passed by the legislature: cost, duplication, and some policies. In total, he signed 770 bills and vetoed 66, or around 8%.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom has now completed three rounds of the annual ritual of deciding what should become law in California by giving the go-ahead or the green light to hundreds of bills sent to him by the legislature.

In the first year, he used routine to demonstrate the differences from his predecessor, signing dozens of bills that Jerry Brown had vetoed – but also vetoed a greater proportion of bills. than Brown generally did.

In year two, with the legislature largely sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic, Newsom signed fewer new laws than any governor for more than 50 years, rather governing by means of numerous decrees.

And this year, his third, Newsom used his veto pen at about half the rate he did in his first year as governor, saying “no” to about 8% of the 836 bills that went. hit his desk.

In doing so, Newsom largely demonstrated a traditional governance philosophy, using its veto power to block bills that cost more than the state budgeted for, collided with work already underway in its administration, or were disrupted. repetitions of ideas he had already rejected. Essentially, Newsom’s 2021 vetoes proved more of what it has in common with its predecessors than its uniqueness.

“It is similar to other governors in that there are consistent themes or bases for governors to veto legislation,” said Chris Micheli, a lobbyist and lawyer who teaches law courses on the process. legislative.

“His first year in office was very different.

While Newsom held celebratory public events with lawmakers signing their bills, it announced vetoes by listing them at the end of press releases. Many of them have gone under the radar. He had to read his veto messages for explanation or justification as to why he didn’t believe the proposals should become law in California. On some bills, he gave several reasons. Whatever the justification, it is highly unlikely that the vetoes will be overturned by the legislature. It takes a two-thirds vote of the Assembly and the Senate to override a veto, and that hasn’t happened since 1980.

Here are some key themes that emerged from Newsom’s 66 vetoes this year:

it’s not in the budget

Some bills advancing causes that Newsom has championed in the past have nevertheless been rejected. Why? Because, he argued in numerous veto messages, the proposal would cost money the state had not budgeted for, despite an unprecedented windfall in state revenue and federal aid.

It is what Newsom said by defeating a bill to increase the amount of wages workers can receive while taking paid family leave – even though it has signed two extensions to the family leave program in recent years. A spokesperson for Newsom’s finance department told CalMatters the bill would have increased costs to employees and the state, including millions of computer upgrades and public awareness.

Newsom also made the cost argument by vetoing a huge expansion in college financial aid. Just a few months ago, he signed a budget that includes an additional $ 3.3 billion for colleges and universities, including an increase of $ 1.5 billion for scholarships and work opportunities. -studies. “Expanding access to financial assistance has been a priority for my administration,” he said. wrote in his veto. But, he told lawmakers, massive changes to the system must be considered as part of the regular budget process.

I already told you ‘no’

As he becomes more and more seasoned as governor, a new theme emerges in Newsom’s vetoes: calling for rehearsals.

“As I said in a veto message on similar legislation in 2019,” Newsom wrote by rejecting a bill that would prohibit paying petitioners per signature collected, “I appreciate the intention of this bill to encourage popular support for the initiative, the referendum and the recall process.”

But, he said, changing the way workers are paid to collect signatures could make the process more expensive, giving wealthy interests even more influence over the initiative process.

In the same way, he vetoed legislation allowing state government supervisors to resolve disputes through binding arbitration saying this could increase costs and create conflicts with existing procedures, “the same concerns I had with a precedent almost identical bill… which I also vetoed “.

Former Governor Brown – who has seen many rehearsals as California’s longest-serving governor – also used to use his veto messages to highlight the rationale for his past vetoes.

Overwhelming support is no guarantee

Newsom has blocked a number of bills that weren’t controversial when they passed through the Legislature, taking its veto as a surprise after proposals were put forward for months without drama.

An attempt to crack down on the use of “bots” to retrieve camping reservations in state parks, for example, was passed by the legislature with broad bipartisan support and has encountered no formal opposition. Newsom, however, says the bill is useless because the state has added security measures to its camping reservation site.

A measure requiring police officers to be trained in “interpersonal communication skills and science-based ethical interviews” also passed through Capitol Hill without a single “no” vote. Newsom said he liked the idea but didn’t want to create a mandatory cost for law enforcement. In veto the billHe said he would ask the commission that trains the police to create the training course and leave it to the departments to decide whether their officers take it.

Patio umbrellas hardly seem like a controversial topic. Lawmakers overwhelmingly agreed that state law should allow liquor makers to donate promotional umbrellas to places that sell their alcohol. But Newsom – owner of wine and hospitality business Plumpjack, who often talks about starting a small wine shop as a young entrepreneur – vetoed the legislation, saying it “would increase alcohol signage and advertisements in public spaces and put small liquor makers at a disadvantage who cannot compete with the marketing budgets of multi-billion dollar companies.”

Caution in evaluating certain new ideas

On two bills intended to fight the scourge of drug addiction, Newsom has just said no.

A bill to allow Yolo County to create a drug addiction program for those addicts who commit certain earned crimes bipartite support legislators from both chambers, but Newsom vetoed claiming that this would lead to “forced treatment” which could interfere with “participants’ long-term recovery from their substance abuse disorder”. Many progressive criminal justice reform groups have opposed the bill, including the Drug Policy Alliance, whose board member George Soros has donated $ 1 million to help Newsom fight last month’s reminder.

At the same time, Newsom vetoed another bill backed by the Drug Policy Alliance, a measure to pay money to people recovering from drug addiction as a incentives to stay sober. He wrote that the state is trying to launch a similar pilot project, the results of which it wants to assess before agreeing to any expansion. This bill cleared the legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support, but Newsom’s finance department opposed it.

Likewise, he blocked two proposals to change the highway code for walkers and cyclists. One would have decriminalized jaywalking and the other would have let cyclists pass stop signs.

Supporters of the jaywalking bill said people of color were being unfairly targeted. Newsom agreed, but highlighted the high rate of pedestrian fatalities in California and warned that the bill “will unintentionally reduce pedestrian safety and potentially increase the number of fatalities or serious injuries.”

Likewise, Newsom said that the Cyclists Bill could backfire and increase collisions and fatalities, especially among “Children, who may not know how to judge vehicle speeds or how to exercise the care necessary to give way to traffic when necessary. ”

CalMatters reporter Sameea Kamal contributed to this story.

Bernard P. Love