While I still consider Gavin Newsom’s reign in California to be a dark spot in its history, it may not be as tyrannical as many, myself included, often testify.
This week, CalMatters reported on the massive number of bills Governor Newsom filed through over the weekend — 150 on Saturday and another round of 320 over the course of Sunday, with over 200 more to go.
Newsom has until this Saturday, Oct. 14 to approve or block the over 700 pieces of legislation from his State Assembly for the coming fiscal year in California.
Gavin Newsom Says No
Newsom vetoed about 30%, or 143 of the proposals that crossed his desk.
According to CalMatters, Newsom cited reasons that “touched on a few common themes.”
“The bills were unnecessary, or they went too far on policy too fast.”
Did I just read that right? Policies that went too far? I had assumed there was no such thing in Gavin Newsom’s California. And unnecessary laws? I thought that kind of rhetoric was saved for those fascist, tyrannical red states.
In denying passing of Assembly Bill 469, a measure to establish an ombudsperson who investigates whether denials of public records requests comply with state law which would create yet another layer of bureaucracy in the state, Newsom wrote:
“In partnership with the Legislature, we enacted a budget that closed a shortfall of more than $30 billion through balanced solutions that avoided deep program cuts and protected education, health care, climate, public safety, and social service programs that are relied on by millions of Californians. This year, however, the Legislature sent me bills outside of this budget process that, if all enacted, would add nearly $19 billion of unaccounted costs in the budget, of which $11 billion would be ongoing. With our state facing continuing economic risk and revenue uncertainty, it is important to remain disciplined when considering bills with significant fiscal implications, such as this measure.”
I never thought I’d say this, but hats off to Governor Newsom for recognizing a budget and its constraints and denying more funding to an already bloated bureaucracy.
Other bills Newsom said no to include increasing juror pay, cannabis cafes, caste discrimination, decriminalizing psychedelics, social housing and LGBTQ+ youth homeless housing, hearing aids for those under 20 years of age, insulin pricing caps, and expanded perinatal care under Medi-Cal.
Newsom Passes Heavy Handed Legislation
However, Newsom did not fail to live up to his heavy-handed reputation, passing plenty of legislation that continues to burden Californians and stifle business.
These include extreme measures on climate accountability as well as expanded legislation for water, worker, and renter rights.
As a health freak, I must admit I’m not mad at the food chemicals ban Newsom passed. The ban will prevent products containing four food additives from being sold beginning in 2027. Known as the “Skittles ban” when it was introduced, the measure has since dropped the chemical in that candy from its list.
The California Food Safety Act would prohibit the sale of food products containing several additives that are outlawed in the European Union and are thought to be harmful to the health of people who eat them.
Considering California’s large market share, the bill may be enough to force companies to remove those ingredients nationwide.
Newsom’s leadership reflects my love – hate relationship with California and the inherent tensions that lie in policy and governance in general.
I love California’s concern for health and the well-being of its citizens, but sometimes that care is misplaced and leads to tyrannical tendencies.
A careful analysis of key questions should always be asked before enacting any legislation. First, is the government responsible for the well-being and safety of Americans and if so, what are the costs and benefits to society as a whole? These do not always produce black and white answers and how we devise solutions is the very conundrum of living in a – supposedly – democratic republic.
Jennifer Galardi is the politics and culture editor for 19FortyFive.com. She has a Master’s in Public Policy from Pepperdine University and produces and hosts the podcast Connection with conversations that address health, culture, politics and policy. In a previous life, she wrote for publications in the health, fitness, and nutrition space. In addition, her pieces have been published in the Epoch Times and Pepperdine Policy Review. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.