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Newsom Slides to Right, Frustrating Progressive Politicians’ Big Hopes
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Published 6 months ago on
October 17, 2023

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The COVID-19 pandemic had faded in the public consciousness, the state treasury seemed to be awash in cash and Gov. Gavin Newsom, arguably the most liberal governor in California history, had verbally endorsed many goals of progressive activists and won a landslide re-election.

Dan Walters with a serious expression

Dan Walters

CalMatters

Opinion

However, when Newsom closed the book on the 2023 legislative session over the weekend by acting on the last of 1,046 bills legislators sent to him, those on the left could count only a handful of victories.

Among the proposed measures were those spending — by Newsom’s count — an extra $19 billion over the 2023-24 state budget he had signed in June, and he rejected dozens of them with identical veto messages saying the state faces an uncertain economic future and “it is important to remain disciplined in considering bills with significant fiscal implications, such as this measure.”

Only a handful of the left’s highest priority bills reached Newsom and only a very few were signed. He vetoed the California Labor Federation’s most important measure, Senate Bill 799, which would have allowed striking workers to collect unemployment insurance benefits.

About the Author

Dan Walters has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, spending all but a few of those years working for California newspapers. He began his professional career in 1960, at age 16, at the Humboldt Times. CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters. For more columns by Dan Walters, go to calmatters.org/commentary.

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