Democrats have a monopoly on power in California. They hold super-majorities in both legislative houses, every state-wide office, every big city mayoral position, and literally every seat on the L.A. and San Francisco city councils. As a result, there is virtually no limit to the wild progressive ideas they can implement.
In the 2021 legislative session which just ended, some of the bills were so crazy that even progressive darling Gov. Gavin Newsom did not have the stomach to sign them.
Before we get to them, let’s look at some of the nutty bills he was not ashamed to sign:
Gender-Neutral Toy Sections
Under this new law, if you want to sell children’s toys in California, you must now have a section designated as "gender-neutral," e.g., ones that are not pink or blue but instead perhaps a lovely shade of gray. Woke parents will finally be assured a safe place for their children to shop.
Free menstrual products
California public schools and colleges now must provide free menstrual products in their restrooms. The rationale? Gender equity, of course. Proud author, Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, said of her legislation, "Just as toilet paper and paper towels are provided in virtually every public bathroom, so should menstrual products."
Mandatory High School Ethnic Studies course
California becomes the first state in the country to mandate such a course. At the signing ceremony, Newsom said that students "'must understand our nation's full history if we expect them to one day build a more just society." "Full history" is code for critical race theory, while "a more just society" is code for equity and progressivism.
"Ethnic studies courses," he said, "enable students to learn their own stories — and those of their classmates." This mirrors the progressive mindset that what makes us who we are is our ethnicity and skin color, not our individual experiences and character.
Ban on Gas-Powered Mowers
California continues its resolve to unilaterally solve the world’s alleged climate change problem by banning all gas-powered, off-road engines, such as generators, lawn equipment, pressure washers, chainsaws, weed trimmers and golf carts. (Guess what gas-powered engine will be banned next?)
The state’s clean energy rules act as a significant tax on lower income residents as they pay among the highest gas and electricity rates in the country as a result. And this new law acts as a tax on small business since electric equipment is much more expensive and much less efficient than gas-powered equipment.
Now for the bills too crazy for even Newsom to sign (fair warning: he originally vetoed the ethnic studies bill referenced above, so look for these to come back):
Pay People to Stay Sober
The California legislature, awash with COVID cash from the federal government, wanted to give payments to recovering addicts who can prove they stayed sober. These are the kind of nanny state policies you get when we put the government in charge of our health. Newsom vetoed it, but primarily he said because the state is already trying to launch a similar pilot project!
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Why? Not because the legislature trusts people to fend for themselves, but because it believes current laws adversely impact people of color! This may be true, but not because of discrimination, but rather because police are deployed where crime is highest, which is most often the inner cities.
The left’s continued use of this flawed rationale to decriminalize certain activities, reduce sentences, and release prisoners is part of the reason we see crime on the rise. In vetoing the bill, Newsom surprisingly put public safety above woke politics.
More Money for Family Leave and College Financial Aid
Newsom vetoed two other bills, not because he did not agree with them, but because they simply cost too much. The legislature wanted to pay more money to workers on family leave and increase grants to college students. The bills were just too expensive, even for the free-spending Newsom.
These bills demonstrate how the state’s progressive leaders are more focused on being the first to enact some new progressive dream legislation than they are at being first in things that matter to Californians.
Despite being the wealthiest and highest taxed state in the nation, it sits at the bottom nationally in terms of road conditions, traffic, student-teacher ratio, homelessness, housing affordability, crime, wildfires, energy prices, and prison overcrowding.
When the only check on power in California is named Gavin Newson, this should come as no surprise.