It was crunch time at the state Capitol over the weekend. There were dozens of bills on the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who determined their fate.
On Saturday, Newsom signed 68 bills into law and vetoed 58 others.
Advertisement He is pushing back against the Trump administration again, signing six fossil fuel bills into law that counter the president’s plans to increase oil and gas production on protected public lands.
Other new laws affect everything from smoking at state beaches to the lunches that kids eat at school to recycling.
Recycling bottles and cans is a popular activity at Ocean’s Recycling on Fruitridge Road in Sacramento, where KCRA 3 spotted Hector Perez on Sunday.
“I need to get rid of some trash that’s in my backyard,” Perez said. “Might as well help out the environment and get a buck out of it.”
Recycling is about to get a little easier for Californians, thanks to Assembly Bill 54, authored by Phil Ting, D-San Francisco Democrat.
“Most of the product right now is going to landfill,” Ting told KCRA 3 via Skype. “It’s actually not being recycled, which is the exact opposite of what we’d like to see happen.”
“What we wanted to do is put 5 million more dollars for mobile recycling,” Ting explained. “And then, in addition, we wanted to enlarge the convenience zones and also temporarily stop the fines for the grocery stores.”
The problem is that the market for recycling has shrunk dramatically.
“China about two years ago said, ‘You know what — thanks but no thanks, we don’t want your product anymore,’” Ting said.
As a result, hundreds of recycling centers have in California have shut down.
“We are trying to bring the recycling closer to the people who want their deposits back by piloting mobile recycling,” Ting said.
That’s good news for recyclers like Eddie Van Geystel.
“Yeah, I think that’s great,” Van Geystel said. “That would have actually helped me today.”
Newsom signed the mobile recycling bill but he also vetoed AB 792, which would have raised recycling standards for beverage bottles.
KCRA 3 asked Daniel Zingale, the governor’s chief strategist, about the apparent mixed message.
“The governor’s job is to say no to some things,” Zingale said. “It’s both saying yes to things like Mr. Ting’s good idea for mobile recycling, but sometimes it also means sometimes saying no so that we can live within our means.”
Newsom also signed a bill banning smoking and vaping at state parks and state beaches and another bill that prohibits something called “lunch shaming” in California. That means school districts can no longer withhold meals to students who haven’t paid their lunch fees.
“Messages are already pouring in from parents, saying how important it is for them that their kids are able to have nutrition during the school day without being shamed for it or humiliated for it,” Zingale said.
In California, any bill not vetoed by Newsom will automatically become law.