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State of California Government News Digest

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Labor Leaders Despair But Keep Pushing For Striker Unemployment After Newsom Veto


Newsom rejected Senate Bill 799, which would have paid striking workers California unemployment benefits after two weeks, and SB 686, which would have extended workplace safety protections to domestic workers, such as housekeepers and nannies.

Governor Signs 2 Berman Bills That Target Greater Gun Safety


Gov. Gavin Newsom signed bills, authored by Assembly member Marc Berman, that empower the state DOJ to conduct firearm inspection and that require sellers to provide information about the risks of gun ownership.

Newsom Signs New California Crime, School Laws


Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 14 into law, reclassifying child sex trafficking into a serious felony with increased prison sentences.

When Your Abuser Has the Key to Your Cell


Survivors who were sexually assaulted while imprisoned got an audience at the state Capitol, sharing their stories while testifying at a California Legislative Women’s Caucus briefing about abuse by staff at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla.

California Bill Would Give Cash Assistance to Undocumented Seniors


California would become the first state to provide monthly cash assistance to undocumented seniors, pending a signature from Gov. Gavin Newsom. AB 1536 passed the Senate on a 32-2 vote. The governor has not stated a position on the bill.

Gov. Newsom Signs Executive Order to Study AI Use and Risks


Under the executive order signed Sept. 6, state agencies and departments are mandated to analyze potential threats to California’s energy infrastructure through generative artificial intelligence.

New ‘Oil Watchdog’ Will Investigate Potential Gas Price Gouging


Governor Gavin Newsom has previously said price gouging by the oil industry could be partially to blame for spiking costs. Senate Bill X1-2 targets the issue, creating a new position, director of the Division of Petroleum Market Oversight, a position recently filled by Tai Milder.

California Ballot Initiative Will Seek to Restrict Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Youth


A small group of activists want California voters to decide whether transgender minors should be allowed to receive puberty blockers, hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgeries.

California Senate to Get Its First New Leader in Five Years


Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) announced Aug. 28 that Senate Democrats decided by “acclamation unanimously” that Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) will take over the leadership role.

California Legislative Women’s Caucus Hears Testimony About Sexual Abuse in Prison


The California Legislative Women’s Caucus hosted a briefing focused “on sexual harm perpetuated by Central California Women’s Facility staff,” sponsored by advocates from various organizations.

California Considers Permanent Ban on Watering Grass at Businesses, Even in Non-Drought Years


Office parks, corporate campuses, strip malls would have to remove grass, or face fines of up to $500 a day.

Changes to Student Housing Program Threaten ‘Viability’ of Affordable Housing Projects


Previously, the state planned to award grants from the state’s general fund to the colleges, but Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers shifted to asking them to borrow money in an attempt to save costs amid declining state revenues. But that new structure is untenable for community colleges, say a coalition of presidents and chancellors.

Black Lawmakers Reflect on Triumphs, Challenges of Legislative Service


At a panel discussion hosted by the California African American Political Action Committee, five former lawmakers shared their experiences and accomplishments, highlighting the challenges of serving in the California State Legislature.

California’s Plan to Reduce Vehicle Emissions Kicks In for Trucks as Early as 2024


In April, the California Air Resources Board set a timeline for transitioning trucks to zero emissions. More recently, the agency launched CalFleet Advisor, a program to connect drivers to financial assistance.

How California Is Responding to Maui’s Deadly Wildfire


CapRadio’s Mike Hagerty spoke with Brian Ferguson, deputy director with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, to learn more about the state’s response.

Is California’s Public Health Agency Ready for the Next Pandemic?


After the COVID-19 pandemic, California made it a priority to invest in the public health sector. But retaining underpaid staff while also filling new positions is daunting. About 24% of the jobs across the California Department of Public Health were vacant in June.

Governor Signs Executive Order to Expedite Pajaro River Levee Repair


Gavin Newsom signed an executive order aimed at accelerating levee repairs and debris removal to ensure communities along the Pajaro River are prepared for the winter.

Black Caucus Members Concerned About Black Women Execs Leaving Entertainment Industry


On July 13, California Legislative Black Caucus members Sen. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas and Assemblymember Tina McKinnor led a news conference to express concerns over news reports of Black women abruptly leaving high-profile careers in Hollywood after the state recently approved $1.6 billion in tax credits for the industry.

Pay for Many State Jobs in Sacramento Hasn’t Kept Up With Inflation


Tens of thousands of local workers in the most common state worker positions effectively make less than they were a few years ago, according to a Sacramento Bee review of 14 years of pay scales published by the state controller’s office.

Legislative Staff Would Wait for Union Until 2026 Under New Bill


Legislative leaders declared support for a bill to let staffers finally form a union, but the newly amended bill wouldn’t allow one for another three years.

Gov. Newsom Signs Bill to Let City Councils Increase Pay


A new law authored by State Sen. Bill Dodd will increase the diversity of city council members in California by increasing salaries and keep pace with inflation.

Robert Rivas Takes Over as Assembly Speaker


After a prolonged transition, the Central Coast Democrat will be sworn in as Assembly speaker today, taking over from Anthony Rendon. They’re ideologically similar so the differences may be more in leadership style than policy.

California Is Getting a New Assembly Speaker


Robert Rivas tells anyone who will listen that his rise from farmworker housing on the rural Central Coast to Assembly Speaker is wholly unexpected. But many who have watched the Democrat’s climb from an outgoing high-schooler to a San Benito County supervisor to the holder of one most powerful political offices in the state are not surprised.

NAACP Lobbies Sacramento Legislators


The California/Hawaii NAACP lobbied legislators in Sacramento in support of four priority bills that address racial injustice and discrimination in California.

New Bill Creates Path to Freedom for Those Serving Life Without Parole


The state Senate passed a bill authored by Sen. Dave Cortese that would allow judges to review the cases of people serving life if they have been incarcerated for at least 25 years. Judges would consider which cases would be eligible for evaluation.

Q&A: Dr. Shirley N. Weber


As she delivered the keynote address at Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.’s Day at the Capitol, Secretary of State Dr. Shirley N. Weber stood behind a lectern that read “Advocate for Social Justice”—something she says “most African American legislators are doing.”

California Now First State to Phase Out Toxic Hexavalent Chromium


The state Air Resources Board voted today to ban the substance known as chromium 6, giving platers several years to switch to an alternative the platers say won’t produce the same chrome shine.

CA Dems Scotch Newsom’s Infrastructure, Environment Plans


Gov. Gavin Newsom rolled out a plan to speed construction of major public infrastructure and demanded quick votes from lawmakers. His Democratic allies put the proposals on ice.

California Bill Could Help Improve Firefighters’ Mental Health


After unanimously clearing the Senate, a bill expanding first responders' access to workers’ comp for PTSD moves to the Assembly.

California Wants to Increase Pay for Some Medi-Cal Providers


Officials are proposing to increase reimbursement rates for some Medi-Cal providers, who say low pay rates prevent them from taking more patients.