Gov. Newsom vetoes ethnic studies bill, signs Brown Act clarification

September 30 marked the final deadline for Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign or veto all bills sent to his desk during the 2020 legislative session. In the last week of the signing period, the Governor signed legislation related to social media use and the Brown Act, and vetoed two bills related to ethnic studies and changes to the Local Control Funding Formula.

Citing concerns that the model curriculum requires further revision in his message, Gov. Newsom vetoed Assembly Bill 331 (Medina, D-Riverside), which would have added the completion of a one-semester course in ethnic studies to the high school graduation requirements beginning in the 2029–30 school year. The Governor also vetoed AB 1835 (Weber, D-San Diego), which would have required LEAs to identify and report unspent LCFF supplemental and concentration grant funds annually and clarified that the unspent funds must continue to be used to increase or improve services for unduplicated pupils in future years. In his veto message, Gov. Newsom wrote that he deeply supported the underlying goal of the bill but was concerned that it could not be implemented in a timely manner. “There is a simpler solution that allows the objectives of AB 1835 much sooner and with more transparency,” he wrote. “Therefore, I am directing the Department of Finance to propose language for your consideration as part of my budget in January.”

Gov. Newsom signed Assembly Bill 992, amending the Brown Act to allow governing board members to communicate via social media with community members while continuing the prohibition on board members using social media to discuss board business among themselves.

Additional signed legislation:

  • AB 831 (Grayson, D-Concord) makes changes to the process for streamlined development projects under Senate Bill 35 and provides a path to modify approved development projects prior to the issuance of the final building permit required for construction. It also specifies how local governments must approve and construct public improvements provided in conjunction with the streamlined, ministerial development project in a manner that would not inhibit, chill or preclude the development.
  • AB 841 (Ting, D-San Francisco) will establish a new program at the California Energy Commission to fund appliance, plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades to schools using electric ratepayer-funded energy efficiency incentives.
  • AB 901 (Gipson, D-Carson) will limit the ability of county officials to place students on probation when they haven’t been charged with a crime.
  • AB 1929: (Rubio-Baldwin Park) will extend an existing pilot program to allow county welfare agencies to develop programs for internet-based reporting of child abuse and neglect.
  • AB 2017 (Mullin, D-San Mateo) establishes that for purposes of an employee’s use of their accrued sick leave, it is at the employee’s discretion to designate this time for the purpose of diagnosis, care or treatment of their or their family member’s health condition or for obtaining relief if the employee is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
  • AB 2101 (Committee on Public Employment and Retirement) is the omnibus public employees’ retirement technical clean-up bill relating to the Public Employees’ Retirement Law, the Teachers’ Retirement Law and the 1937 Act County Employees’ Retirement Law administered by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the California State Teachers’ Retirement System(CalSTRS), and the 20 independent County Employee Retirement Systems, respectively.
  • AB 2741 (Rubio, D-Baldwin Park) will authorize counties to use children’s advocacy centers for interviews and other services to investigate reports involving child physical or sexual abuse, exploitation or maltreatment,
  • AB 2765 (O’Donnell, D-Long Beach) will require the payment of prevailing wages for any work done under private contract on a project for a charter school when the project is paid for, in whole or in part, with the proceeds of conduit revenue bonds (a type of financing used by charter schools since they do not issue general obligation bonds) that were issued on or after Jan. 1, 2021.
  • AB 2884 (Berman, D-Menlo Park) will expand the use of restricted California Lottery Funds provided to the California Community College to include expenditures on housing and food assistance for community college students.
  • AB 2967 (O’Donnell, D-Long Beach) will prohibit public agencies from amending their contract for retirement benefits with CalPERS to exclude groups of employees.
  • AB 3308 (Gabriel, D-Woodland Hills) will allow school districts to restrict occupancy of affordable housing on school district-owned land, funded with low-income housing tax credits, to teachers and school district employees of the school district that owns the land.
  • Senate Bill 86 (Durazo, D-Los Angeles) will, beginning with the first quarter of 2021, require the Department of Pesticide Regulation to prepare and submit to specified Senate and Assembly committees and the Office of the Surgeon General quarterly reports containing information, as prescribed, regarding granular chlorpyrifos use, monitoring and exposure during the quarter.
  • SB 855 (Wiener, D-San Francisco) will require health care service plan contracts or disability insurance policies to provide coverage for medically necessary treatment of mental health and substance use disorders under the same terms and conditions applied to other medical conditions.
  • SB 860 (Beall, D-San Jose) will require county office of education Foster Youth Services Coordinating Programs to ensure the students they serve in foster care fill out the forms necessary to receive financial aid for college.

Additional vetoed legislation 

  • AB 1845 (Rivas, D-Hollister) would have established an Office to End Homelessness under the direction of the Secretary of Housing Insecurity and Homelessness.