Newsom’s Signatures Bring Several Wins, Major Disappointments

Newsom Signing

Like many things in this era of COVID-19, Governor Newsom’s Sept. 30 deadline to sign or veto legislation placed a cap on a largely disjointed and confused second year of the two-year legislative session.

The number of bills placed on the Governor’s desk in 2020 compared to 2019 dropped by nearly two-thirds – 500 in 2020 compared to 1,300 in 2019 –  and was largely a byproduct of the era of COVID-19 and the legislature’s need to narrow its focus this year. With unplanned, extended recesses in both the Assembly and Senate this year, many bills were the victims of circumstance and didn’t move beyond their initial committees.

Despite the setbacks, the California Catholic Conference (CCC) is happy to report that our co-sponsored bill, SB 905, (Archuleta, D – Chino Hills) was signed by Governor Newsom, and will protect the identities of church volunteers from ICE and other reporting agencies.

The CCC is also pleased that AB 1876 was also signed, giving all Californians access to the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC). The expansion allows all undocumented workers who meet income requirements to take part in CalEITC, a bi-partisan tax credit program that helps families who, despite working, fall below the poverty line. 

In another win, AB 2512 (Stone, D – Scotts Valley) was signed hours before the deadline. This new law will ensure that individuals with intellectual disabilities are quickly and accurately identified to prevent California from sentencing people with intellectual disabilities to death row. It will also ensure that those with intellectual disabilities who are currently on death row are resentenced.

In a major disappointment, and despite noticeable opposition from doctors and parents, AB 2218 (Santiago, D – Los Angeles) was signed into law. This bill provides grants to transgender-led organizations and hospitals, health care clinics, and other medical providers that provide gender-conforming health care services. 

The CCC is also saddened to report that SB 1237 (Dodd, D – Napa), a bill that removes physician or surgeon supervision for certified midwives in cases of low-risk pregnancy and childbirth was signed by our governor. While expanding the scope of practice for midwives is beneficial for Californian mothers to have greater access to healthcare, the bill failed to exclude the circumstances in which midwives engage in abortions.  

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