Brown's 2016 legislative tsunami: Key bills the governor has signed into law

File: California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks during day three of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 27, 2016.
File: California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks during day three of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 27, 2016.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed and vetoed numerous bills over the past week. Here is some of the key legislation that he has chosen to either sign or reject.

Signed into law


Signed into law

Cracking down on workers' comp

California is moving to crack down on bad actors in the workers' compensation system following a report that an estimated $1 billion has been embezzled from the state program.

A new law requires the workers' compensation director to suspend hospitals, doctors and other medical providers from the system if they have been convicted of any wrongdoing related to health care fraud.

Brown announced Friday he signed AB1244. It will take effect on Jan. 1.

It follows an April report by The Center for Investigative Reporting that some doctors and administrators scam the system by performing unnecessary procedures or routinely falsify bills.

State and federal prosecutors say in the report that gaps in state oversight compromise the system and state agencies can't adequately pressure care providers.

— AP

Mayors' sexual harassment training

Mayors, city council members and other local elected officials in California will be required to take two hours of sexual harassment training following scandals involving politicians in San Diego and Sacramento.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB1661 on Thursday to require that elected city and county officials take the same online training required for supervisors at California employers with 50 or more workers. It must be completed within six months of their election and repeated every two years.

Bob Filner resigned in 2013 as mayor of San Diego after some 20 women alleged that he groped them or engaged in other inappropriate behavior.

In Sacramento, a law firm investigating an allegation against Mayor Kevin Johnson suggested he be counseled against hugging or touching people at work.

— AP

Earthquake early warning system

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed a bill to promote the development of an early warning system for earthquakes.

SB438 establishes the California Earthquake Early Warning Program and Advisory Board within the state Office of Emergency Services to further spur investment.

"We've seen the devastation earthquakes have caused in California," Brown said in a written statement. "This keeps us on track to build a statewide warning system that can potentially save lives."

The state first rolled out a prototype early warning system known as ShakeAlert to beta testers in 2012. Brown earlier this year directed $10 million of the 2016-17 budget to go toward further expanding the system, according to the governor's office.

Mexico, China and Japan are among several other nations that currently use earthquake early warning systems, the governor's office said.

— KPCC staff

Requiring Uber/Lyft background checks

California will require Uber and Lyft to conduct background checks on all drivers and lay off certain criminals beginning in 2017.

Brown announced Wednesday that he signed legislation aiming to protect people who use ride-hailing services.

Beginning Jan. 1, transportation networks cannot employ drivers who are registered sex offenders, violent felons or terrorists. AB1289 will also ban people convicted in the last seven years of assault, domestic violence or driving under the influence.

Companies could be fined up to $5,000 per banned driver.

Uber and Lyft terms and conditions require riders to agree that the companies aren't liable for their safety.

Prosecutors have identified drivers in Los Angeles and San Francisco convicted of murder, sexual assault and other offenses that will make them ineligible under the new law.


OK to share your ballot on social media

Brown approved legislation to let voters take and share photographs of their ballots on social media starting next year. Until now, the practice has been illegal — and even with this law passing, it will continue to be illegal until next year. Sorry, social media mavens.

AP with KPCC staff

Self-driving vehicles without human backup

A new California law allows self-driving vehicles to be tested on public roads with no human backup.

Under the bill signed into law Thursday by Brown, vehicles without steering wheels, brake pedals or accelerators can be tested at two Bay Area sites. The vehicles will be limited to speeds of less than 35 mph.

The trials will take place at Contra Costa Transportation Authority's autonomous-vehicle testing site on a former naval facility and at a business park that contains public roads.

Officials say Google and Apple have expressed interest in using the former naval site. The business park project will involve 12-person worker-transport shuttles.


'Right-to-try' experimental drugs

Gov. Brown on Tuesday signed into law "right-to-try" legislation that will give certain terminally-ill Californians access to experimental drugs not yet approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. 

The new law, authored by Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), allows drug makers to give terminally-ill patients access to investigational treatments that have passed basic safety testing.

Patients must meet a number of requirements to qualify for the program, including that they have only a matter of months to live and that two doctors recommend they try the experimental drug.

Read more from KPCC's Stephanie O'Neill.

Stephanie O'Neill/KPCC

Outlaws secret recordings of health professionals

California is making it illegal to disclose secretly recorded conversations with medical professionals under a new law backed by Planned Parenthood.

The new law responds to surreptitious videos released last year of Planned Parenthood officials allegedly discussing the illegal sale of fetal tissue. The organization said the videos were deceptively edited.

Sharing secretly recorded private conversations involving a health care provider could land Californians in prison for up to a year under the bill Gov. Jerry Brown announced signing Friday.

Domestic violence victims and certain law enforcement officials are exempt from the law.

Some liberal lawmakers were torn over AB1671 between defending Planned Parenthood and protecting free speech rights.

It will still be legal to secretly record evidence of extortion, kidnapping, bribery, human trafficking or other violent felonies.


Gender-neutral restrooms

Brown waded further into the national debate over transgender rights Thursday as he signed a bill requiring that all single-stall toilets in California be designated as gender neutral.

The measure requires that businesses and governments post non-gender-specific signs on single-occupant restrooms by March 1, 2017. Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco said his legislation would establish the nation's most inclusive restroom-access law and "chart a new course of equality for the nation."

"This simple concept is oddly cutting-edge when compared with the discrimination being enacted in other states," Ting said earlier, while urging the Democratic governor to sign the bill, AB1732.

Lawmakers sent the legislation to Brown in August, a day after a federal judge temporarily blocked an order by President Barack Obama requiring that public schools let students use bathrooms that correlate with their gender identity.

California students can already do so under a law Brown signed in 2013. He also approved adding gender identity to the state's antidiscrimination laws in 2011.

Supporters of the new legislation said 19 states considered restricting access to restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities based on the user's biological sex, including North Carolina, which passed a law requiring people to use restrooms based on their gender at birth.

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider reviewing whether a transgender Virginia high school senior should be permitted to use the boys restroom.

Supporters say gender-neutral restrooms also would help parents with children of a different gender and adults caring for aging parents. It would not affect restrooms that have multiple stalls.

Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, a nonprofit conservative organization, pointed to potential conflicts arising from gender-neutral facilities.

"What woman wants a man poking his head in the restroom door that somehow didn't shut or lock? How many women want to use a urine-stained toilet seat?" he wrote in urging Brown to veto the bill.

He fears that what he called a "radical state takeover of the private sector's restroom policies" could affect religious schools and home businesses.

Opponents said in December that they had failed to collect enough signatures to advance a proposed ballot measure that would have asked voters to require transgender people to use the public restrooms that correspond with their biological sex.


Bars travel to protest anti-gay laws

California will limit publicly funded travel to states that have laws restricting the rights of gay and transgender people under legislation signed by Gov. Brown. The governor said Tuesday he's approving AB1887.

The bill by Democratic Assemblyman Evan Low of Campbell bars non-essential travel to states with laws that sanction or require discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

It also blocks California state agencies from requiring their employees to travel to those states. The bill applies to state agencies and the University of California and California State University systems.

The attorney general will come up with a list of states to which travel is restricted.


Cigarette Stamps

Brown announced that he signed legislation allowing state inspectors to seize and destroy used cigarette stamps, which are affixed to cigarette packaging to show tobacco has been legally purchased. It comes in response to inspectors recently finding large collections intended for reuse— AP

Let someone else drop off your ballot

Brown approved legislation to let voters designate anyone to turn in their ballots.


Utility-regulator reforms

Brown approved a reform plan for the troubled California Public Utilities Commission.

Brown signed five bills Thursday and says he's asking the commission to move forward with other changes that died on the last day of the legislative session.

Some lawmakers accuse the CPUC of being too cozy with the companies it regulates.

The bills Brown signed will require commissioners to disclose private communications with utility officials and hold meetings away from the CPUC's San Francisco headquarters.

Brown challenged the CPUC to implement some of the changes called for in stalled legislation, such as appointing an ethics ombudsman.

He also says his administration will work on a plan to transfer regulatory authority for transportation companies to other state agencies.


Allowing felons to vote in jail

Brown has agreed to restore the voting rights of convicted felons serving time in county jails.

The bill that Brown announced signing Wednesday also reinstates the voting eligibility of felons on probation or under community supervision beginning next year. It does not affect those in state or federal prisons.

AB2466 stems from California's criminal justice realignment, which led to some people convicted of low-level felonies serving time in county jails.

Republican lawmakers say felons should not be allowed to cast ballots while serving a sentence, with Sen. Patricia Bates of Laguna Niguel saying it compromises the integrity of elections.

Democratic Assemblywoman Shirley Weber of San Diego says opponents don't want to allow certain people to vote. She says civic participation can be a critical part of reducing recidivism.


Sex crime bills tied to Brock Turner/Stanford case

Brown said Friday that he signed two bills that emerged amid national outrage over the six-month jail sentence given to a former Stanford University swimmer who sexually assaulted a woman passed out near a trash bin.

Brown approved requiring sentences to be served in state prison for defendants convicted of assaulting unconscious victims instead of the jail sentence like the one Brock Turner received in June and served in a county jail before obtaining early release.

Turner's case burst into the spotlight after a poignant statement from the victim swept through social media.

Politicians and law enforcement officials have lined up alongside sexual assault survivors to criticize Turner's sentence, back a recall effort against the judge and urge Brown to sign the tougher sentencing legislation.

The 21-year-old one-time Olympic hopeful was released from the Santa Clara County jail in September after serving three months for good behavior. He will be on probation for three years in his native Ohio for crimes that carried a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

Brown said in a signing message that he usually opposes adding more mandatory minimum sentences. But he said he signed the sentencing bill "because I believe it brings a measure of parity to sentencing for criminal acts that are substantially similar."

Outside jail after Turner's release, county Sheriff Laurie Smith said she believed his sentence was too light and urged Brown to sign the bill.

"Letting felons convicted of such crimes get off with probation discourages other survivors from coming forward and sends the message that raping incapacitated victims is no big deal," Democratic Assemblyman Bill Dodd of Napa said in a statement after lawmakers approved his bill in August.

But more than two dozen groups dedicated to ending campus sexual assaults urged Brown to veto it, fearing that the punishment would more likely be applied to minority and lower-income defendants than white offenders like Turner.

Mahroh Jahangiri, executive director of Know Your IX, a national organization representing survivors, said mandatory minimum sentences also could deter victims from pressing charges against their attackers, who are often people they know.

Brown also signed another bill permitting sexual assault victims to say in court that they were raped, even if the attack doesn't meet the technical definition under California law.

State law defines rape as nonconsensual intercourse between a man and a woman, leaving out other forms of sexual assault, including Turner's 2015 attack on the woman he met at a fraternity party. He was convicted of three sexual assault felonies, including digital penetration of an unconscious woman.

The rape definition that came under fire in the Turner case leaves Brown in an awkward position as he promotes a November ballot initiative that would allow earlier release of prisoners as a way to control overcrowding.

Proposition 57 would allow earlier parole consideration for nonviolent inmates, but the legal definition of a violent felony includes just 23 crimes, such as murder, kidnapping and forcible rapes and sexual assaults.

Turner's crimes were considered nonviolent under California law because he assaulted an intoxicated or unconscious person who could not resist, so he didn't have to use force.

"All sexual assaults are a violent offense. There is no such thing as a nonviolent sexual assault," Stanford law professor Michele Dauber said.

Dauber is a friend of the woman Turner assaulted and is leading a campaign to recall Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky for departing from the usual minimum sentence in the case.

The bill passed without a dissenting vote, though Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia of Bell Gardens scaled back her initial proposal to expand the definition of rape. Prosecutors were concerned the original version would prevent them from filing multiple charges against perpetrators.

"Sexual penetration without consent is rape. It is never invited, wanted or warranted. Rape is rape, period," Garcia said in statement. "When we fail to call rape 'rape, we rob survivors and their families of the justice they deserve."

Don Thompson/AP

Bus safety

Brown is approving stricter safety standards for charter and school buses following high-profile incidents. He announced Tuesday that he signed three bus-safety bills.

One enacts National Transportation Safety Board charter bus safety recommendations that Congress has not adopted. Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens introduced the change after a bus carrying high school students to Humboldt State University collided with a tractor-trailer, killing eight bus passengers and both drivers.

Brown also signed a bill by Democratic Sen. Tony Mendoza of Artesia requiring new safety equipment on school buses to prevent children from being left unattended.

A third bill gives the California Highway Patrol stronger authority to inspect charter-bus terminals and order potentially dangerous buses out of service.

— AP

Limiting seizure of assets 

Brown approved legislation that prevents California police from prematurely selling suspected criminals' belongings.

California law already requires that a person be convicted before police can seize cash or property valued under $25,000 that's believed to have been attained illegally.

Democratic Sen. Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles says police work around that law by partnering with federal agencies to seize assets before convictions, reaping millions of dollars.

Brown said Thursday that he signed SB443, Mitchell's bill to prohibit law enforcement agencies from profiting off of those partnerships in cases of suspected drug activity.

It also increases the ceiling for other crimes to $40,000.


Fixing sex offender ID disclosure

California is fixing a voter-approved initiative that required registered sex offenders to disclose certain personal information.

Voters in 2012 mandated that convicted sex offenders reveal their email addresses, screen names and other electronic identifiers to law enforcement.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals put that requirement on hold immediately after the initiative passed. The court decided in 2014 that it would violate the free-speech rights of about 73,000 offenders who have completed their sentences.

Brown announced Wednesday that he signed SB448 in response to that ruling.

The law will limit the reporting requirements to sex offenders convicted of a felony after Jan. 1, 2017. It will apply only to those who used the internet to track victims, traffic them or collect or distribute obscene material.


Move to California vote centers

Brown took action on several voting-related bills, including legislation that lays the groundwork for more California counties to conduct elections entirely through mail-in ballots.

Brown announced Thursday that he signed SB450, which allows 18 counties to set up vote centers where people could drop off mail-in ballots in the 10 days before the 2018 election. The rest could move to the system in 2020.

Lawmakers say the current voting system is outdated.


Dumping rape-reporting limit

The emotional stories of women who say they were sexually assaulted more than a decade ago by comedian Bill Cosby prompted California state lawmakers to approve a bill to eliminate the state's 10-year limit on filing rape and related charges.

On Wednesday, Brown announced that he has approved the legislation to revoke that limitation.

Beginning next year, the bill will end the statute of limitations in certain rape and child molestation cases. It will also end the time limit on older cases in which the statute of limitations has not yet expired.

The new law, SB813, will not, however, help women who made allegations against Cosby dating back more than 10 years, including some from the 1960s.

Cosby has repeatedly denied the sex abuse allegations made by dozens of women nationwide. He is facing just one criminal case stemming from sex abuse. A trial is set to begin in June in Pennsylvania.

Defense lawyer Angela Agrusa has said Cosby's accusers have stirred passions even though their stories of abuse have not been investigated by police.

California lawmakers sent the statute of limitations bill to Brown without a single dissenting vote.

State Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, credited intense lobbying of lawmakers and the governor by advocates who "kept the fight alive for the countless rape victims that have already spoken up and also those that have yet to come forward."

The bill's signing "tells every rape and sexual assault victim in California that they matter and that, regardless of when they are ready to come forward, they will always have an opportunity to seek justice in a court of law," she said in a statement. "Rapists should never be able to evade legal consequences simply because an arbitrary time limit has expired. There must never be an expiration date on justice!"

Seventeen other states already have no statute of limitations on rape, according to the California Women's Law Center.

In June, Colorado doubled the amount of time sexual assault victims have to seek charges from 10 to 20 years, a decision also prompted by the Cosby allegations. Nevada extended its time limit from four to 20 years last year after testimony by one of Cosby's accusers.

Advocates say victims may need years before they can bring themselves to make an allegation to law enforcement. Several women said during a spring legislative hearing on the California bill that they did not come forward sooner because they were traumatized or afraid no one would believe them.

However, if they wait 10 years, victims find "the door to the courthouse is slammed in her face," said high-profile Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred, who represents 30 women who say they were sexually assaulted more than a decade ago by Bill Cosby. None can bring criminal charges because the time limit has expired.

Civil rights groups and public defenders countered that extending the time limit could lead to false convictions as evidence disappears and memories fade among victims and witnesses. They say it's not fair to expect a suspect to recall an alibi decades later.

It could even be counterproductive, California Public Defenders Association representative Carolyn George argued, because the time limit encourages victims to come forward and investigators to move quickly.

— Don Thompson/AP

Banning powdered alcohol 

California is joining dozens of other states in outlawing powdered alcohol before it hits the market amid concerns the inconspicuous drug would too easily become a safety hazard.

Brown announced Wednesday that he signed SB819 to ban any "alcohol prepared or sold in a powder or crystalline form."

Lawmakers unanimously approved the bill last month.

Republican Sen. Bob Huff of San Dimas says concerns arise from the ease with which it could be transferred to minors, slipped to someone unknowingly, snorted or added to already-alcoholic drinks.

Legislative analysts say at least 27 other states have banned the substance.

A company that's moving toward manufacturing powdered alcohol disputes that the product is likely to be abused. Palcohol says it is a safe and convenient way for adults to drink.


Locking guns in vehicles

Gun owners and law enforcement officers will be required to lock up their firearms if they leave them in an unattended vehicle under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed Monday in response to high-profile thefts from police vehicles in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The measure was among four gun bills the Democratic governor signed, and it joins more than a half-dozen gun-control measures approved this year. Brown also vetoed two gun bills.

Beginning Jan. 1, SB869 will require that anyone — including police and people with concealed weapon permits — leaving a handgun in a vehicle lock it in the trunk or a container out of plain sight, or face a $1,000 fine. Police won't face sanctions during urgent situations.

Handguns stolen from law enforcement officers' cars last year were used in the San Francisco killing of 32-year-old Kate Steinle in July and 27-year-old Oakland muralist Antonio Ramos in September.

Steinle was shot in the back as she walked with her father and a family friend along a popular San Francisco pier. Oakland police said Ramos was among artists working on a community mural when he was fatally shot after an apparent argument.

His family filed a claim in June against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, saying it was partly responsible for the shooting because it was committed with an agent's stolen gun.

In January, three handguns and an FBI agent's badge were stolen from a locked vehicle equipped with an alarm in Benicia, about 30 miles northeast of San Francisco.

— AP

Natural Gas Storage

Brown is approving a series of new safety requirements for natural gas storage wells following a leak that drove thousands of families from their homes in the Porter Ranch area of Los Angeles.

The Democratic governor said Monday he's signed SB887, which requires continuous monitoring for leaks and regular inspections at natural gas storage facilities.

Democratic Sen. Fran Pavley of Agoura Hills, who wrote the legislation, says California needs to be more proactive about monitoring energy infrastructure for potential problems.

Earlier this month, Southern California Gas Co. pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of failing to promptly report the gas leak as part of a $4 million settlement with prosecutors. The company waited three days before notifying the state of the problem at the Aliso Canyon facility. — AP

Wage discrimination against women and minorities

Brown has approved two bills targeting wage discrimination against women and minorities in California.

Brown said Friday he's signed SB1063, which expands requirements for fair pay beyond gender to also protect against racial discrimination. The bill by Compton Democratic Sen. Isadore Hall builds on a 2015 equal-pay law that's already considered the nation's toughest.

Brown also signed SB1676, which prohibits employers from basing compensation solely on a worker's prior wage. Democratic Assemblywoman Nora Campos of San Jose says women should not be penalized for prior salaries that may have been unequal to men's.

Brown signed the bill a year after he vetoed a measure that would have kept employers from even asking about prior pay. —AP 

Signoff creates savings funds for private California workers

Nearly 7 million California workers will be automatically enrolled in a retirement savings account under legislation Brown signed Thursday in an attempt to address growing fears that many workers will be financially unprepared to retire.

The legislation creates a state-run retirement program for workers who don't have an employer-sponsored plan, many of them working in lower-wage positions. It requires employers to automatically enroll their workers and deduct money from each paycheck, though workers can opt out or set their own savings rate. The account could also be carried from job to job.

Supporters of the concept hope that requiring workers to affirmatively opt out will make them less likely to do so, allowing them to set aside a retirement nest egg over time so they don't have to rely solely on Social Security in their post-work years. A third of all American workers — and two-thirds of part-time workers — don't have access to a retirement plan through their employer, the Pew Charitable Trusts reported in September, relying on U.S. Census Bureau data.

"It's something very important now in today's age of spend now, worry about it later," said Brown, a Democrat who often warns about the long-term consequences of spending decisions. "This is save now, prepare for later."

The financial services industry aggressively lobbied Brown for a veto, warning that the proposal is built on shaky financial assumptions and may create overwhelming political pressure for taxpayers to bail it out if it hits hard times.

California lawmakers voted in 2012 to study the idea of creating a publicly run retirement plan for private-sector workers. After lawyers and financial analysts said the program was likely viable, the Legislature this year decided to implement the plan.

The move has been closely watched due to the $1 million California spent researching and refining its proposal and the state's sheer size, with 12 percent of the U.S. population. Oregon and Illinois are working to implement similar programs, and studies have been ordered in several other states.

The U.S. Department of Labor gave the green light in August to retirement plans run by states and large cities or counties, putting to rest questions about their legality and removing a major hurdle.

California's plan, SB1234 by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, requires employers that don't offer retirement accounts to automatically enroll their employees in the state-run plan. Unless workers opt out, a percentage of their earnings would be deducted from each paycheck and held in lower-risk investments. The plans would stick with workers as they move from job to job, allowing them to accumulate larger balances in a single account.

Like a standard individual retirement account or 401(k), the investments would be subject to the ups and downs of financial markets, including the potential for losses.

Secure Choice, as the program is known, would be overseen by a board with authority to make decisions about investment options, the default savings rate and benefit payouts in retirement. Financial consultants recommended a default savings rate of 5 percent, which would rise by 1 percent a year until it reaches 10 percent of pay.

The cost to the state is unclear, as it depends how many employees participate, but it could reach up to $134 million over the first several years, according to the legislative analysis. The program is expected to eventually fund itself with fees on workers' deposits.

But Paul Schott Stevens, president and CEO of the Investment Company Institute, which represents mutual funds and other investment products that comprise a large share of traditional retirement savings accounts, said in a letter to Brown that the program underestimates the risks and is based on unrealistically rosy assumptions about the rate of savings.

With so many financial pressures facing lower-income workers, many are likely to opt out or withdraw their balances early, he wrote, and the cost to administer millions of small accounts would be higher than proponents assume. Moreover, he said, the state's obligations under securities law are uncertain, and the political pressure for taxpayers to backfill investment losses would be intense.

"It simply would be imprudent to move forward with the program without much further study and far greater assurance that its costs are fully understood and accounted for," Stevens wrote.

Jonathan J. Cooper/AP

Child Prostitution and Human Trafficking

Brown approved a variety of human trafficking legislation, including legislation decriminalizing prostitution for minors and taking other steps to make life after human trafficking easier for those forced into it.

The Democratic governor announced Monday he signed SB1322 to ban police from charging people under the age of 18 with prostitution.

He also signed bills allowing people to defend themselves against additional criminal charges or records if they were coerced to commit an offense as a human trafficking victim.

Other legislation will raise the age from 13 to 15 that kids can testify outside a courtroom in human trafficking cases, protect victims' names from disclosure and mandate they have access to county services. — AP

$250 million LA Olympics guarantee

Brown approved legislation that puts California taxpayers on the hook for up to $250 million if Los Angeles is awarded the 2024 Olympics and the Games go over budget.

Brown announced Thursday that he signed the bill, SB1465, by Democratic Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles.

L.A. Olympics boosters say the guarantee is needed to bolster their case against rivals seeking the Games in Paris and Budapest, Hungary.

They insist L.A. has a sustainable budget and insurance protection. Backers say the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics were profitable.

Critics say the guarantee is not a good use of tax dollars.

The state provided similar guarantees for Los Angeles' bid for the 2016 Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee will name the host city in September 2017.


Faster donations to charities

Brown has signed legislation to get taxpayers' donations into the hands of charities more quickly following a critical report by The Associated Press.

Brown signed SB1476 over the weekend. The legislation was introduced after an AP investigation found at least one-tenth of all charitable donations made on tax returns went unspent.

AP's review found nearly $10 million in 29 funds was awaiting delivery to or distribution by state agencies and another $278,000 had reverted to state coffers.

Taxpayers have donated more than $100 million through the check-off system since 1982. They benefit social services, public health, environmental protection and other charitable causes.

His bill would continuously appropriate the aid and retire a fund if taxpayers provide less than $250,000 in one year. — AP


Charter school transparency

Brown rejected a bill that would have increased transparency at charter schools.

Brown on Friday vetoed AB709, which would have required charter schools to comply with the same open meetings, public records and conflict-of-interest laws that apply to other public schools.

Brown said his view hasn't changed since he vetoed a virtually identical bill in 2014. At the time, he said he supports transparency but the bill goes too far in prescribing how charter school boards must operate.

Supporters say charter schools spend public funds and should be subject to the same conflict and transparency standards that apply to government agencies.

The bill was written by Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gipson of Carson.


Ban on public smoking at colleges

Brown has vetoed plans to ban smoking and tobacco use on public university campuses in California.

The governor announced Monday that he took action on legislation that would have banned tobacco use on all 136 California State University and community college campuses. It would have prohibited chewing, dipping, smoking or vaping natural or synthetic tobacco products at the schools, which have about 2.5 million students and 100,000 staff and faculty.

The bill would have allowed school trustees and board members to decide whether to fine campus smokers up to $100. In a veto message, the Democratic governor noted that the schools' governing boards already have that authority "and are fully capable of setting smoking policies on their campuses."

The money would have gone to support education programs at the campus where the violation occurred. Supporters said the bill would have helped decrease the harmful effects of nicotine and secondhand smoke.

The governor earlier this year approved tougher tobacco regulations as part of a special legislative session on health care, including boosting the legal age to buy tobacco to 21 and extending existing regulations governing tobacco to electronic cigarettes.

Californians also will weigh another attempt to raise taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products at the November ballot box. Proposition 56 would raise the per-pack tax on cigarettes by $2 and raise taxes on other tobacco and vaping products.

The tobacco industry has launched ads against the measure and is expected to spend heavily to try to defeat it. — AP

Mandatory jail time for paying for sex

AB1708 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) 

Brown is rejecting legislation that would have required people caught paying for sex to spend at least 24 hours behind bars.Brown said in a veto message Tuesday that existing law provides enough flexibility to appropriately punish so-called "johns."

On top of the mandatory jail time, the legislation would have required a fine of $250 to $1,000. The fine would be $1,000 to $10,000 for people who solicit sex from minors.

The Assembly and Senate approved the bill unanimously last month. It was written by Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego. She said the Legislature should go after people who contribute to demand for prostitution. —AP

Financial assistance for sex-crime victims

In vetoing financial assistance for sex-crime victims, Brown says the state budget includes $19 million next year for similar services. — AP

Tell voters if their vote-by-mail ballot isn't counted

Brown vetoed a bill requiring counties to notify voters if their vote-by-mail ballot was not counted, saying counties already publish that online.

— AP

Assistance for Porter Ranch gas leak

California Gov. Jerry Brown says two bills aimed at helping people recover from a massive gas leak in Southern California are unnecessary and is vetoing them.

One bill would have given residents near Aliso Canyon and other victims of man-made pollution an extra year to sue for relief.

AB2748 also would have held polluters like Southern California Gas Co. liable even if they provide disaster relief or other interim payments to people harmed.

Brown says that would eliminate the incentive for companies to settle legal disputes.

He writes in a veto message that nothing indicates current law is insufficient to hold polluters accountable. — AP

Expanding parental leave

Brown rejected legislation to allow employees of some small businesses to take up to six weeks of unpaid leave to bond with a new child without losing their job or health insurance.

Brown announced Friday that he vetoed the bill aimed at businesses with 20 to 49 employees.

The bill's author, Democratic Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara, said employees could apply to a state program to receive partial wages.

Brown says he vetoed SB654 because he's concerned about the impact on small businesses. The California Chamber of Commerce and other business groups said the law could create staffing shortages that hurt business operations.

The bill would have expanded an existing state law that applies to firms with 50 or more workers.


In-person visitation for jail inmates

Brown has vetoed a bill that would have required counties to offer in-person visitation for jail inmates.

Brown said Tuesday that the legislation created a strict mandate and did not provide enough flexibility. Some county officials were concerned they'd have to modify their facilities or hire additional jail staff.

Los Angeles Democratic Sen. Holly Mitchell wrote the bill in response to the rising popularity of video conferences in place of in-person visitation. Mitchell said her bill would help reduce recidivism because inmates with strong connections to their families are less likely to commit new crimes.

In a veto message to lawmakers, Brown says he shares the concern and is directing a state agency to consider other ways to address the issue. —AP

Environmental contamination 

He also vetoed SB1304, which would have added environmental contamination to the reasons a property can be reassessed, as part of the legislation related to the Porter Ranch leak. Brown says state law already allows reassessments for changing market conditions. — AP

Smoking at parks, beach

Brown is vetoing a proposal to ban smoking at all state parks and beaches after having approved numerous anti-tobacco regulations earlier this year.

The bill would've fined people up to $250 if they were caught smoking or disposing of tobacco products at state parks and beaches.

Brown said Wednesday that a more measured and less punitive approach than SB1333 might be warranted.

Supporters aimed to mitigate the harmful effects of nicotine and secondhand smoke. Democratic Sen. Marty Block of San Diego had argued it would also protect the environment from cigarette butts and prevent wildfires.

Brown signed legislation earlier this year to raise the age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21, regulate electronic cigarettes and rein in tobacco use in various other ways.

— AP

This story has been updated.