With what had to be the weariest left hand in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed the last of nearly 1,000 bills he approved this year.
California’s new rules include some big swings — including a sweeping package of climate bills — and some small but potentially consequential tweaks, like new limits on jaywalking enforcement. But if one overarching message came through, it was that the nation’s most populous state wasn’t kidding about the liberal model Newsom had been pitching to Republican-led parts of the country.
As red states limit reproductive rights, California will now be, as the governor pledged, a “sanctuary” for women seeking abortions. As Republican leaders elsewhere block gender-affirming care for minors and ban discussion of L.G.B.T.Q. topics in classrooms, California will offer legal protections to transgender children. The state will extend tax breaks for movie production to bring Hollywood film shoots home from red states and offer bounties to individuals who sue makers and dealers of assault weapons and “ghost guns.”
Newsom has been the tip of the spear for Democrats seeking to counter the Republican Party. With billboards, newspaper ads, national media interviews, tweets, campaign donations and, most recently, personal appearances in Texas, California’s governor has denounced Republican policies, particularly on social issues, and has slammed the G.O.P. leaders of Florida and Texas as “bullies.”
Newsom’s actions have invited speculation that he is eyeing a run for the White House. (“Not happening, no, no, not at all,” Newsom said last month at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin, where he made a cheerful appearance before a largely liberal audience, notably on Gov. Greg Abbott’s home turf.)
But they also have complicated his ability to govern. California still has deep veins of conservatism and right-leaning power centers in agribusiness and the oil industry, even if Democrats have a two-to-one edge over Republicans in voter registration. Elected officials who run statewide, like governors, usually find themselves hewing to the path that Jerry Brown used to compare to canoeing: paddle a little to the left, and then a little to the right.
As Newsom was asking the nation to chart a course, full speed ahead, toward Democratic values in California, he was doing some paddling.
Bucking environmentalists, he mustered lawmakers from both parties to extend operations at the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, to help keep the lights on. Siding with law enforcement, he vetoed bills that would have allowed supervised drug injection sites in cities and severely limited the use of solitary confinement in prisons. He nixed two mandatory kindergarten proposals, citing fiscal concerns.
Pushing from the left, meanwhile, were progressive legislators and unions. Pressured by the Biden administration, Newsom signed a bill removing an in-person voting obstacle that had long made it difficult for unions to organize farmworkers — a move that was vehemently opposed by California’s agricultural industry.
Organized labor had a good year in California. It won not only the farmworker fight, but also a state-run council to establish wages and working conditions for fast-food workers (though the industry is already trying to mount a referendum) and more generous benefits for low-income workers under the state’s paid family leave program.
Last week, as the signing wound down, it was California’s hard blue line that left the strongest impression — the state IDs that will be offered to Californians regardless of immigration status; the bill to encourage sustainable burial options such as “human composting”; and the “pink tax” bill that will make it illegal for companies to price the same product differently for women than for men.
The 997 bills Newsom signed reflect both the will of California’s liberal majority and his own national campaign to contrast the values of red states and blue states, said Mark Baldassare, the president and chief executive of the Public Policy Institute of California.
“I think generally the governor signaled that California is a strong blue state,” Baldassare said. “He followed through on the things he talked about on the national stage.”
Newsom delivered a mixed verdict on more than three dozen criminal justice laws, The Associated Press reports.
Doctors who spread lies about the coronavirus could be disciplined for unprofessional conduct under a law signed by Newsom, The Associated Press reports.
You will soon be able to jaywalk in California without getting a ticket, CNN reports.
If you read one story, make it this
In Marin County, parents who oppose vaccines go from welcome to ostracized.
The rest of the news
Wildfires: How New York Times journalists in California prepare to cover wildfires.
Racist prank: A California high school has canceled the remainder of its football season after members of the team were filmed enacting a prank in which they appeared to “auction” off Black teammates, CNN reports.
“Peach King”: Didar Singh Bains, one of the most prominent American Sikh leaders who helped build Northern California’s Sikh community, died on Sept. 13 in Yuba City at the age of 84, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Fire: A sailor charged with intentionally setting one of the worst noncombat fires in U.S. Navy history, which destroyed the $1.2 billion U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard in San Diego Bay, was found not guilty on all counts by a Navy judge.
Shooting: A 34-year-old man was shot several times at a youth football game at Colony High School in Ontario, The Associated Press reports.
Lawsuit: A captain of the Los Angeles Police Department was awarded $4 million by a Superior Court jury after complaining that management had ignored her requests to inform the department that a widely distributed photo of a topless woman resembling her was not her image, The Los Angeles Daily News reports.
Free tuition: San Diego County education officials are paying $1 million for dozens of local early childhood teachers to get free higher education, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Los Angeles mayor’s race: The billionaire businessman Rick Caruso has cut into Representative Karen Bass’s lead since August, but he still trails by double digits among those who are likeliest to vote, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Helicopter crash: A helicopter spun out of control and crashed in the front yard of a home in Fresno, injuring a pilot and a passenger, The Associated Press reports.
Stockton shootings: Rewards totaling $85,000 have been offered for information leading to an arrest in five fatal shootings in Stockton that investigators believe are related, The Associated Press reports.
Bond measure: Berkeley leaders are asking voters to approve Measure L this fall, a $650 million bond that promises to repair the city’s streets, build new affordable housing and improve wildfire safety, Berkeleyside reports.
Car falls off cliff: A man was critically injured after his car plunged off a winding, cliffside road south of San Francisco and landed on a beach below, The Associated Press reports.
What we’re eating
This photogenic fig tart will make you look like a pastry chef, though it’s no more difficult than baking a pie.
Where we’re traveling
Today’s tip comes from Heidi Eisips, who recommends Costanoa. Heidi writes:
“One of our favorite gems of a getaway is Costanoa, on the San Mateo County coast. A combination campground and lodge, it has something for everyone, from extremely affordable (campground and cabins) to more on the luxury end (lodge). The beach is just a short hike away across Highway 1, and you can round out your evening with a campfire and s’mores. Just up the road to the north are the quaint towns of Pescadero and San Gregorio (must visit the general store). And you can see the elephant seals just 3.8 miles to the south, at Año Nuevo State Park.”
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to [email protected]. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
It’s officially fall. What do you love about the season in California? What are the best ways to enjoy fall in your corner of the state?
Email us at [email protected] with your stories, memories and recommendations.
And before you go, some good news
Bradley Evans met Jobina Fortson when he knocked on the door of her dorm room at Howard University looking to use her printer. Eleven years later, they were married at a villa in Sonoma.
The two started dating in college, but their relationship hit bumpy ground soon after their graduation. Fortson, who earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism, relocated to Kentucky for an on-air reporting position. Evans, who received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, was hired at Goldman Sachs in New York, where he had interned. With him working traditional hours and her working weekends and often starting well before dawn, they had little time to connect.
The couple split in 2015, though they never entirely lost touch. By 2016, they had gotten back together with a plan to live in the same city. Two years later, Evans relocated to the Bay Area for a job at Google, and Fortson moved to the area and began freelancing at the ABC station in San Francisco. In March 2020, the week that California locked down because of the pandemic, they moved in together.
The couple married on Sept. 3 at the Chateau de Ninis, a French-inspired villa overlooking a panorama of vineyards. “It’s been quite a journey,” Evans said. “Jobina is loving, funny and extremely genuine, and after all these years, I can still find more reasons to love her.”
Thanks for starting your week with us. We’ll be back tomorrow.
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.
Soumya Karlamangla and Briana Scalia contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at [email protected].
The post California and Gov. Gavin Newsom Hold the Blue Line appeared first on New York Times.