In the month since Governor Gavin Newsom handily defeated a few dozen opponents in the recall election—and made a real joke of that one guy—he’s signed a whole slew of progressive bills into law, making the bluest state in the nation even bluer.
Newsom had until October 10, to sign or veto any law passed by the Legislature before September 10 and, as the Associated Press reports, he seems to have thrown caution to the wind when it comes to seeming too lib for the real upcoming gubernatorial election in 2022.
He’s signed the country’s first-ever bill outlawing “stealthing” (removing a condom without the consent of one’s partner), and two laws restricting single-family zoning in the Golden State. Newsom also ushered in legislation mandating gender-neutral displays of toys and toothbrushes in large department stores, plus a ban on new gas-powered leaf-blowers—another national first.
While he was at it, Newsom declared California a “reproductive freedom state” and made it illegal to film people within 100 feet of abortion clinics as a means of intimidation, banned secret employment settlements in matters involving harassment or discrimination, and put limits on cops using rubber bullets.
Also thanks to Newsom, Californians have to ask for plastic utensils and ketchup packets with their takeout orders, because it’s now a crime for eateries to just hand them out unbidden.
All and all, the Governor signed 92 percent of what lawmakers put on his desk, the most so far in his three years.
On the other hand, Newsom put the kibosh on some bills that were favorites among his most left-leaning supporters. He vetoed a measure that would have forced state contractors to prove their supply chains don’t contribute to tropical deforestation, and refused to decriminalize jaywalking, even though critics say cops use that law to target Black people.
Describing the result of Newsom’s signing frenzy as “oodles of progressive legislation and oodles of virtual signaling,” Bill Whalen, a policy fellow at Stanford’s conservative think tank, the Hoover Institution, tells the AP, “Traditionally, we have governors who have been more centrist than Newsom. With the recall now gone, this is a governor who is really not threatened in any way.”
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