California Governor Gavin Newsom issued vetoes for three bills on Friday, sparking reactions from both supporters and critics. The vetoes touch on crucial issues involving transgender children, self-driving trucks, and immigrant prisoners, leaving many to ponder their implications.
LGBTQ Rights Veto
One of the most contentious vetoes revolved around LGBTQ rights. Newsom’s rejection of Assembly Bill 957, which sought to require judges to consider a child’s gender identity in custody disputes, disappointed LGBTQ activists.
The author of the bill, Lori Wilson, the parent of a transgender child, expressed her frustration. She believed the bill would have protected transgender children’s rights.
However, Newsom’s veto message focused on the dangers of allowing the government to dictate specific legal standards, emphasizing that courts already had the ability to consider a child’s gender identity in custody cases.
Transgender Youth Debate
Transgender youth issues have been a topic of debate in California, with conservative groups advocating for mandatory parental notification policies.
While the LGBTQ caucus considered a bill to counter these policies, they decided not to go through with it due to concerns about how it would be explained to the public.
On the other side of the aisle, Republicans commended Newsom’s veto, with Assemblymember Bill Essayli expressing his support on Twitter.
Senator Scott Wiener, a vocal champion of LGBTQ priority bills, lamented the veto, calling it a “tragedy for trans kids who are living in fear.”
Self-Driving Truck Regulation
Newsom’s next veto involved a bill requiring human drivers to be present in self-driving trucks. Organized labor groups, including the Teamsters, supported the bill, fearing that artificial intelligence and automation could disrupt the job market.
Newsom’s top business official had opposed the bill, citing concerns about stifling innovation. In his message, the governor pointed out that he trusts regulators to handle this new technology effectively.
Labor Federation Discontent
California Labor Federation leader Lorena Gonzalez expressed her dissatisfaction with Newsom’s decision, vowing to “fight to make sure that robots do not replace human drivers.”
Immigration Bill Veto
Lastly, Newsom vetoed a bill that aimed to prevent California’s prison system from sharing information about incarcerated immigrants with federal authorities, reinforcing the state’s “sanctuary laws.”
The governor’s veto message defended the existing law, which he believed struck the right balance between limiting interactions to foster community trust and cooperation with law enforcement.
These vetoes have ignited debates across the state, and many bills are still awaiting Newsom’s decision as the October 14 deadline approaches.
These decisions continue to test Newsom’s balancing act between business interests and labor concerns.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Michael F. Hiatt. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.