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Read about the latest decisions at the state Capitol and how they impact your life (Fridays)
It’s that time of year: Pumpkin spice lattes are on the menu, and bill signings and vetoes are happening left and right.
Gov. Gavin Newsom had already made his intentions clear on SB 1, the bill written by San Diego Senate Pro Tem Leader Toni Atkins that would create certain environmental baseline standards in case the Trump administration rolled back regulations. Newsom said he planned to veto the bill back in September.
But he’d recently come under a good deal of scrutiny for that announcement – enough that some wondered whether he might have a change of heart. Here’s how VOSD’s Ry Rivard described it:
Now, though, Newsom is under a lot of pressure to sign the bill into law rather than veto it. The Los Angeles Times said Newsom “just decided to carry Trump’s water.” San Diego labor leader Jerry Butkiewicz wrote about the litany of reasons the governor should sign it.
Perhaps the most impassioned piece I’ve read is from Caleen Sisk, the spiritual leader and tribal chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe in Northern California.
“Earlier this year, we, like many other tribal people in California, felt gratitude when Gov. Newsom apologized for the genocide that California waged against Indians. He issued an executive order to create the Truth and Healing Commission,” Sisk wrote in the Sacramento Bee. “But if the governor vetoes SB 1, he will continue that history of genocide.”
But Newsom wasn’t swayed.
In his message vetoing the bill, he wrote that he disagreed the measure was necessary, and objected to the suggestion that he was doing a favor to Trump by rejecting it:
California is a leader in the fight for resource, environmental, and worker protections. Since 2017, the federal government has repeatedly tried to override and invalidate those protections, and each time, the state has aggressively countered – taking immediate legal action and deploying every tool at the state’s disposal to safeguard our natural resources, environmental protections and workers. No other state has fought harder to defeat Trump’s environmental policies, and that will continue to be the case.
Plenty of other bills, however, have gotten an OK from Newsom over the last week. He has until Oct. 13 to sign or veto all of the bills from this session. Here are the latest measures from San Diego lawmakers that have been signed into law:
The wildly controversial law limiting medical vaccine exemptions was inspired by a Voice of San Diego investigation revealing a single doctor was responsible for writing nearly one-third of the exemptions in San Diego Unified. But that doctor isn’t the only one who’ll likely be impacted by the new law when it goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.
From VOSD’s Will Huntsberry:
If the law were in effect today, it would have big implications on the ground. In San Diego, 19 schools and six doctors would come under review, according to data from the California Department of Public Health and other documents obtained by Voice of San Diego. Dozens of medical exemptions would likely be revoked for falling outside the scope of generally recognized standards of care.
Meanwhile, the San Diego impacts of another high-profile measure that has not yet been signed by Newsom are far less clear.
AB 32 would ban private prisons from operating in the state. In San Diego, private prison companies run or have involvement with five facilities – yet, as VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan explains, no one seems to know how the bill would impact those facilities, or whether it would at all.
Some of the facilities are re-entry programs, which are exempted in the bill. Others are federal facilities that contract with private companies. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, one of the authors of the bill, said she’s not sure the bill could withstand a legal challenge from the federal government if it contested a mandate to stop using private companies.
“If the federal government has a contract, I’m not sure we’ll be able to prevent that if it’s on their land,” Gonzalez said. “I’m assuming it would end up in litigation.”