Here’s what the California legislature did this year – NBC Bay Area


California lawmakers finished their work for the 2021 legislative session on Friday night, just four days before the vote concluded in a statewide recall election targeting Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.

Regardless of the outcome of the recall election, Newsom will likely still have the final say on the hundreds of bills the Legislature has tabled on its desk over the past two weeks. Even if Newsom loses the election, by the time his successor takes office, the deadline for signing or vetoing the legislation will be passed.

Bills that have been passed must be considered by the Governor before becoming law, unless otherwise specified. Here’s a look at what happened – and what went wrong – in the California legislature this year.


Two bills passed would make it easier to build small apartment buildings in areas where only single-family homes are allowed. The aim is to address the housing shortage in the country’s most populous state. A group of 241 cities urged Newsom to veto a bill because it would circumvent local zoning laws, with a few exceptions.

Two other high-profile housing bills failed. The bills would have facilitated the transformation of abandoned shopping centers into apartment buildings. The two bills were adopted by the Senate but did not obtain a vote in the Assembly.


A bill passed could make California the first state to pay people with drug addiction to stay sober. The treatment, known as “contingency management,” pays people as little as $ 2 for each negative drug test over the course of a few weeks. The federal government has been doing this for years with military veterans, and research shows this to be one of the most effective treatments for drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine.

But bills that would have legalized certain psychedelic drugs and given opioid users a place to inject drugs under supervision have not been passed this year. Senator Scott Wiener, the mover of both bills, said he would try again next year.


Lawmakers have approved a bill that would end bad cops’ careers by preventing them from being hired in other law enforcement agencies. The bill would create a new compulsory license for law enforcement officers. A new disciplinary board could permanently revoke a person’s license with a two-thirds vote.

The legislature also approved a ban on police arresting anyone for loitering with the intention of engaging in prostitution, following debate on whether the move would help or harm victims of trafficking. sexual. But Senator Scott Wiener then used a procedural step to withhold his bill from governor’s review until next year, saying supporters need more time to explain why it’s a good idea. .

Jaywalking would be decriminalized under another bill that was passed, eliminating a crime that Democratic lawmakers say is arbitrarily applied against people of color.

California would set statewide standards for law enforcement’s use of rubber bullets and chemical irritants during protests as part of another of several government bills. criminal justice being considered by lawmakers.

But a bill that would have overhauled California’s cash bond system failed to pass this year. The bill’s demise comes a year after voters blocked a law that would have ended the cash bond in favor of risk assessments.


Low-income people who are 50 and over and live illegally in the country can now have their health care bills paid by taxpayers. Lawmakers have also made it easier for Medicaid-eligible seniors by removing an asset requirement that disqualified many people 65 and older. Newsom signed the two proposals as part of the state budget.

California schools and public colleges are expected to stock their toilets with free menstrual products under another bill that has been passed.

But a proposal to make health care cheaper for everyone in California was not passed this year. Newsom had wanted to create a new “Office of Health Care Affordability”, which would have the power to regulate the prices of health care.


Lawmakers passed a bill that would require ethnic studies to graduate from high school in California. Newsom vetoed a similar bill last year because he believed the model program was “insufficiently balanced.”


California became the third state to approve reparations of about $ 25,000 per person for those who have been sterilized against their will. The program targets people sterilized under state eugenic laws who sought to eliminate unwanted traits by sterilizing people with mental illnesses and other problems. The state also agreed to pay the women the state forced to sterilize in prison. Newsom signed this law as part of the state budget.

Lawmakers also decided to allow the return of prime beachfront property to the descendants of a black couple who were stripped of their resort town of Bruce’s Beach for African Americans amid racist harassment in the city of Manhattan Beach a century ago.


California is the first state to approve a statewide guaranteed income plan. Newsom has enacted a $ 35 million plan designed to make monthly cash payments to pregnant people and eligible young adults who have recently left the foster home without any restrictions on how they can spend it.


Lawmakers approved and Newsom signed a plan to send stimulus checks of up to $ 1,000 to more California adults. Lawmakers also agreed to use federal money to pay off 15 months of unpaid rent.


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