California continues leftward trend with Newsom’s legislative actions
We’ve written repeatedly about the two most troubling signings. By forbidding many companies from using contractors, union-backed Assembly Bill 5 threatens the livelihoods of 9 percent of the state’s workforce. Assembly Bill 1482 imposes statewide rent control, which will reduce the rental stock and exacerbate the housing crisis. We’ll have to brace for the results.
In his latest actions, Newsom approved several measures that also played to the left. He signed a package of far-reaching gun-control laws. Senate Bill 61 limits the number of long-gun purchases to one a month. Assembly Bill 61 expands the state’s “red flag” law, which currently allows a gun owner’s immediate family members, if they fear the owner might be a threat, to get a court order to temporarily confiscate the weapons.
The new law expands that list to employers, co-workers and teachers. Gun-rights groups weren’t the bill’s only opponents. The American Civil Liberties Union worries that it empowers people who “lack the relationship or skills required to make an appropriate assessment.” We’re also concerned about the lack of due process afforded to those who stand to lose their gun rights.
Newsom signed a package of animal-welfare bills. Assembly Bill 44 makes California the first state to ban the sales of animal furs, although tribes are exempted. Senate Bill 313 bans the use in a circus of animals other than domesticated dogs, cats or horses.
In a rebuke to the Trump administration, Newsom signed Assembly Bill 342. It bans construction of any oil and gas infrastructure on state-owned property, thus impeding a federal push for more oil production on adjacent land. He also approved Senate Bill 8, which bans smoking and vaping at state parks and beaches.
Newsom also signed a bill (Assembly Bill 1162) that bans larger hotels from handing out small bottles of shampoo and conditioner. He signed Assembly Bill 32, which phases out the state’s use of private prisons. Newsom approved a variety of mandates, including a measure (Senate Bill 24) that requires public university health centers to provide the abortion pill.
On a positive note, the governor vetoed Senate Bill 5, which would have essentially recreated the state’s shuttered redevelopment agencies to provide $2 billion in annual funding to housing and economic-development programs. In his veto message, Newsom noted that that “legislation with such a significant fiscal impact needs to be part of budget deliberations.” He’s right, even if he didn’t mention that these agencies also abused property rights and lavished subsidies on private developers.
The governor also commendably vetoed Assembly Bill 792, which would have required beverage companies to only use plastic containers with 50-percent recycled content – a costly measure filled with exemptions and unwieldy rules. But that was thin gruel in a session that marked a sharp leftward push.
Elections have consequences. The now-completed session brings that reality into focus.