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Governor Seals Fate of Several Key Bills

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October 17, 2019

The Governor’s deadline to sign any bills presented to him by the Legislature this year officially ended at midnight last Sunday.

While we are disappointed to report that the Governor signed some bills that will have detrimental consequences – such as SB 24 that will now allow for taxpayer-funded chemical abortions on public college campuses – the CCC is also celebrating some victories that will prove integral in the lives of many Californians.

We are pleased to report that AB 624 (Gabriel – D, Encino) was vetoed by Governor Newsom. This bill would have required that each California student identification card have the name of a “sexual or reproductive health hotline” printed on them.

In his veto message, Governor Newsom used some of the Conference’s talking points when he wrote “burdening schools with the job of investigating local reproductive health agencies as the bill would require. There are many agencies across this state that refuse to give women information about all of their reproductive health care options, and I am not persuaded that schools have the appropriate expertise to decide which of these organizations they should direct their students to.”

A huge congrats and thank you to those in the Catholic Legislative Network who sent letters to the Governor asking for a veto on this bill.  

In another victory, Governor Newsom signed AB 1548 (Gabriel – D, Encino), which will create the California State Nonprofit Security Grant Program (CSNSGP) to improve the physical security for nonprofit places of learning and worship that are at high risk for violent attacks or hate crimes due to ideology, beliefs, or mission.

As for education, there are several wins including AB 2 (Santiago, D – Los Angeles).  This new law offers a second year of tuition-free community college for first time, full-time students at campuses participating in the state’s College Promise program. Governor Newsom also signed AB 988 (Berman, D- Palo Alto) to enable experienced out-of-state special education teachers to clear their credential without having to repeat additional coursework. AB 988 helps to attract and retain skilled special education teacher fully prepared for the demands — and the rewards — of providing students with disabilities specialized instruction/care.

The Governor also signed AB 1354 (Gipson, D-Carson) that will ensure consistent educational opportunities for youth within the juvenile justice system. Education is  central to the rehabilitative mission of the juvenile justice system. Transition from court school back to a traditional school is a critical time when youth are vulnerable to dropping out of school altogether.  This bill will develop and implement an individualized transition plan to meet the educational needs of a court school student.

In another win, AB 1628 (Rivas – D, Hollister) will help ensure that the populations and communities disproportionately impacted by pollution have equitable access to environmental and land-use decision-making, and can enjoy the equitable distribution of environmental benefits. This will be of great benefit to low-income communities, which endure a disproportionate share of environmental pollution and public health hazards.

The Conference also -supported AB 209 (LÍmon, D - Santa Barbara) which was signed.  This new law will foster good stewardship among underserved and at-risk youth by increasing their ability to engage in outdoor environmental education experiences at state parks and other public lands.  Both non-profit organizations and public agencies will be able to receive support for transportation services and program operations costs associated with connecting historically underserved communities with new or expanded outdoor experiences.  

In a win for clean air in California, Gov. Newsom signed SB 210 (Leyva, D – Chino), which will create “smog check” requirements for heavy-duty non-gasoline trucks by modernizing emissions control enforcement through a comprehensive inspection and maintenance program.  It is the first of its kind in the nation.  

We are disappointed to report that Governor Newsom signed AB 922 (Burke, D-Inglewood), which will now allow women to sell their eggs for research purposes. This same bill had been vetoed by Governor Brown last year.

Governor Newsom also vetoed AB 842 (Límon – D, Santa Barbara), which would have greatly increased affordable access to healthy meals for low-income children in preschool and childcare. In his veto message, the Governor cited budget concerns and promised a “holistic look” at California’s primary education system. The Conference will be evaluating his plan during the upcoming legislative session.

Governor Newsom also vetoed CCC-supported SB 42 (Skinner, D-Berkeley), The Getting Home Safe Act, which would have prevented jails from releasing prisoners during late night hours, when they have so safe passage home and no supportive services that would have been available during normal business hours. The Governor expressed budgetary concerns in holding prisoners until morning hours as the reason for his veto.

As was reported earlier, SB 360 (Hill, D- San Mateo), which threatens priests with jail-time if they aren’t willing to break the seal of confession, has been moved to a two-year bill, and will be taken up during next year’s legislative session. SB 298 (Caballero, D – Salinas), the plan to reduce childhood poverty by 50 percent in the state by 2039 is also a two-year bill.

While the legislative session is over, the California Catholic Conference is working on other issues within the state to ensure that Catholic values are represented. Please be sure to visit www.cacatholic.org for other ways to promote the Catholic voice in California.