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State of California Government News Digest

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California Faces Big Challenges to Implement New Math Guidelines


After a contentious road to approve a new set of statewide guidelines on teaching students math, California officials must still figure out how to support school districts with implementation.

Newsom Announces More Funding in Effort to Clear Encampments Near Highways


The state is making nearly $300 million in additional grant money available for local governments to clear homeless encampments, with a focus on areas near state highways and Interstate Highways, and provide housing options for people.

CA Lottery Director Gives Notice


Alva Johnson, director of the California State Lottery has given his two weeks’ notice. Johnson had arrived in 2019, a year after a whistleblower complaint helped spur a reckoning for the agency.

Why Newsom and California Lawmakers Want the State Supreme Court to Remove a 2024 Ballot Proposition


A ballot measure being pushed by business groups could place strict new limits on the ability of state and local governments to raise taxes.

California’s Long and Costly Battle for Cameras in Courtrooms


For years police departments and police unions bitterly resisted body-worn cameras. As the technology was implemented, it revealed negatives about cop culture. Court watchdogs assert a similar culture exists in public courtrooms.

State Debuting Mental Health App for Young People Next Year


The state will offer a free mental health app beginning Jan. 1 for people ages 13-25. It is currently being tested in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.

It's About to Get Easier for California College Students to Study in Their Own Language


Assembly Bill 1096, taking effect Jan. 1, will let community colleges in the state provide courses in non-English languages, regardless if a student is also taking ESL. Previously, a student had to sign up for the latter to qualify for the former.

How to Visit a California State Park for Free


A pilot program that allows Californians to visit many state parks for free—after checking out a pass from their local library—is helping increase access for more people of color and lower-income residents, according to research from the California State Parks Foundation.

Latino Voices Join in California’s Energy Debate


While leaders debate the future of an energy transition that bans gas-powered vehicles, appliances, and equipment, a new public outreach campaign called Levanta Tu Voz communicates how Latino families and businesses will be affected by the new laws.

Preempting Enviro Blitz, Newsom OKs Streamlining Approvals for Sites Reservoir


The first reservoir in California in nearly 50 years is now on the fast track for completion.

Capitol Gets its First Monument to California’s Indigenous Population


A statue of Miwok elder William J. Franklin has been installed on California State Capitol grounds. The monument replaces a statue of Father JunĂ­pero Serra, which protestors toppled in 2020.

Agency Weighing Grant for Hwy 101 Wildlife Crossing Project


The Wildlife Conservation Board is scheduled to consider providing $5.6 million for a wildlife crossing near the San Benito-Monterey county line to address “one of the most significant and least permeable wildlife connectivity bottlenecks in California.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom Signs Davis Climate Action Bill


Gov. Gavin Newsom passed Senate Bill 256, allowing the city of Davis to create endangered species preserves and further climate action. The bill was introduced by Sen. Bill Dodd.

Summit Tackles Water Challenges Facing California


At the Water Education Foundation annual water summit in Sacramento, Eric Oppenheimer, chief deputy director of the California State Water Resources Control Board, discussed what he described as the state’s “antiquated” water rights system.

State's Public Health Department Receives Grant to Help Transition Away from Leaded Aviation Gas


The grant comes after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a determination that said leaded aviation gas posed environmental and health risks and should be regulated under the federal Clean Air Act.

State Assemblymember Gail Pellerin Running for Second Term


Gail Pellerin filed election paperwork for most of her adult career as the chief elections officer in Santa Cruz County, but now she’s getting used to the process from the other side of the desk.

State Demands Compliance After Voting Rights Groups Warn About Shasta County Election


California’s Secretary of State has told the Shasta County Board of Supervisors that it cannot hand-count ballots in its Nov. 7 special election. In a letter, Secretary of State Shirley Weber said the county must comply with new legislation that bars the hand-counting of ballots.

California Faces Potential Budget Woes Due to Tax Shortfalls


The California Department of Finance notes that the state collected $18 billion in tax revenues in October 2023, after projecting as much as $42 billion. It could mean a wider budget gap than anticipated, with state leaders already acknowledging a looming $14 billion deficit.

California Wants Swimming Pools to be More Energy Efficient


As California moves away from gas-powered technology, state officials have looked for ways to ease stress on our electrical grid. A recent California Energy Commission decision tackles the systems powering swimming pools.

Voting Rights Groups Urge Shasta County Elections to be Monitored Due to ‘Misinformation’


A nonpartisan coalition of voting rights advocates has asked the California Secretary of State’s office to monitor upcoming elections in Shasta County because of concerns about safety and the spread of misinformation.

A New California Law Forces Lawmakers to Plan for Sea Rise


Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law in October, SB 272 by Sen. John Laird, that requires local governments to plan for rising sea levels. It's already factoring into planning in places like Marin County.

How San Jose State Wants to House Teachers


San Jose State University envisions partnering with public school districts across Santa Clara County to combat the housing crisis and the soaring cost of living dilemma that has driven teachers and students out of the Bay Area.

California Joins States Suing Meta


More than 40 states are suing the social media giant. The legal actions allege that Meta has deceived the public about the harms of Facebook and Instagram, which the attorneys general say “exploit and manipulate” children.

State Suspension Law Creates Conflict at East San Jose School


Senate Bill 274 bars willful defiance or low-level behavioral issues from suspending students in grades six through 12.

San Jose to Pilot Traffic Cameras to Reduce Speeding


San Jose could hand out more speeding tickets next year thanks to Assembly Bill 645, which legalizes the state’s use of surveillance cameras in school zones and “safety corridors” to catch speeding drivers for a five-year pilot program.

Newsom Approves 'Melanie's Law' Requiring Fentanyl Safety Plans in California Schools


Middle and high school students across California will be protected by a new law requiring life-saving prevention and response resources for fentanyl overdoses under legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Newsom Signs Measure Reducing Markups on Essential Items Across State Prison Canteens


California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the BASICs Act into law, bringing relief to incarcerated individuals and their families across California.

Berman’s Election Bills Advance with Governor’s Signature


Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a package of election bills authored by Assemblymember Marc Berman, including legislation that aims to improve ballot design and explicitly bans “double voting” in different states.

California Districts Won’t be Able to Suspend Students for ‘Willful Defiance’ Next School Year


By July of next year, it will be illegal for public schools in California to suspend students for low-level behavior issues after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation banning “willful defiance” suspensions among TK through 12th grade.

Governor Signs Sen. Laird Bill Prompted by Moss Landing Fire


Legislation that was created in response to fire breaking out in 2022 at the Elkhorn Battery Energy Storage System facility was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.