Major California Bills Signed and Vetoed by Newsom

This month, Governor Newsom acted on over 470 bills and vetoed about 20%. Most of the vetoes touched on financial concerns associated with the bills or duplicative actions created by bills. 

Governor Newsom signed SB 326 and AB 531, two bills that reform California’s Mental Health Services Act, sending them to the March 2024 ballot for voters to consider. This reform package has been the Governor’s top ballot measure priority and an increasingly large overall focus for the administration. If passed, the Mental Health Services Act would be renamed as the Behavioral Health Services Act and funding would be disbursed differently, with specific amounts set aside for housing interventions and for wraparound services to tackle behavioral health and substance use challenges. The other part of the package is a bond to finance 10,000 new treatment beds and supportive housing units throughout the state.

The Governor also signed SB 525, the deal between labor unions and the healthcare industry that will allow for a phased-in healthcare worker minimum wage of $25 per hour while preventing unions from running local healthcare wage ballot initiatives for ten years. The deal offers predictability to health systems and avoids costly and unnecessary ballot initiative battles. However, this unfunded mandate will continue to be a significant financial challenge to the healthcare industry due to the cost of implementation. 

On the other hand, a couple of major signings. SB 253 by Senator Scott Wiener, explained here, and SB 261 by Senator Henry Stern, here. The Chamber opposed these bills, but Newsom has said he will work with concerned stakeholders next year to do some “clean up” and try to minimize negative impacts to business from the legislation. 

Newsom also signed SB 677 into law, a bill from Senator Blakespear that includes an assessment on the threat climate change poses for rail service in San Diego. The study will help find projects that can increase the climate resiliency of the LOSSAN Rail Corridor and hopefully improve it in the face of future climate challenges. 

The Governor also signed a package of 56 bills focused on streamlining housing, affordability, and tenant protections – including AB 1287 by Assemblymember David Alvarez, which expands the state Density Bonus Law by creating a new “Middle Income Bonus Program.”