SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown is leaving office Jan. 7 after signing more than 1,000 laws in his last year, further positioning the state as a bastion of liberal activism and goad to President Donald Trump.

The laws, most of which take effect Tuesday, ease criminal sentences, tighten gun restrictions and address climate change, gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

Brown approved 1,016 laws, the most in any of his last eight years in office. His 201 vetoes also were the most during his final two terms, as lawmakers passed a record number of measures.

Counting his two terms from 1975 to 1983, the state’s longest-serving governor vetoed 1,829 bills and saw 17,851 become law.

Here are some of the laws taking effect with the new year:


Sweeping new laws bar juveniles younger than 16 from being tried as adults, even for murder, and keep children under 12 out of the criminal justice system unless they are charged with murder or rape.

Other laws allow many defendants to ask judges to dismiss their charges if they show mental illness played a major role in their crime and limit the state’s felony murder rule, which holds accomplices to the same standard as the person who carried out the killing.

A new law responding to police shootings of young black men broadens public access to officers’ personnel records. A police union is challenging whether the law is retroactive.

Repeat drunken drivers and first-time offenders involved in injury crashes must install an ignition interlock device, which blocks their vehicle from starting if the driver isn’t sober.


Spurred by mass shootings, lawmakers further tightened California’s already tough gun laws.

Anyone convicted of certain domestic violence misdemeanors will be barred for life from possessing a firearm, while those under age 21 will be banned from purchasing a rifle or shotgun unless they are members of law enforcement or the military or have a hunting license.

Several other laws already took effect, including measures explicitly banning rapid-fire bump stocks that attach to guns; requiring eight hours of training for concealed carry applicants; and allowing police to seize ammunition and magazines under domestic violence restraining orders.

A lifetime firearm ban goes into effect in 2020 for anyone who has been hospitalized for a mental health issue more than once in a year.


Utilities may bill customers for future legal damages and for settlements from the deadly 2017 wildfires that caused more than $10 billion in insured losses, even if the companies’ mismanagement caused the blazes.

The measure is among more than two dozen wildfire-related laws.

Others make it easier to log trees, build firebreaks and conduct controlled burns of vegetation that would fuel wildfires; require investor-owned utilities to upgrade equipment so it’s less likely to cause fires; safeguard residents’ insurance coverage following disasters; and improve emergency notifications.


California becomes the first state to require publicly held corporations to have at least one woman on their boards of directors by the end of 2019 and two or more by 2021.

Spurred by the #MeToo movement, another new law bans private and public employers, including the state Legislature, from reaching secret settlements over sexual assault, harassment or discrimination. A law preventing businesses from requiring employees to sign liability releases to keep their jobs or receive bonuses is among several expanded protections.

Californians also can list their gender as “nonbinary” on their driver’s licenses, designated as the letter “X.”


California’s utilities must generate 60 percent of their energy from wind, solar and other renewable sources by 2030, which is 10 percent higher than a previous mandate. Lawmakers set a goal of phasing out electricity from fossil fuels by 2045.

“This is historic because there is no economy larger in the world that has committed to pure clean energy,” former Democratic state Sen. Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles wrote when Brown signed the bill into law.

It was California’s latest ambitious reaction to Trump’s decisions to withdraw from the Paris climate accord and revive the coal industry.

Other new laws study ways to ease the impact of climate change, encourage the use of biomethane and protect Obama administration targets for removing “super pollutants” called hydrofluorocarbons from refrigerants.

Another law bars the Trump administration from expanding oil drilling off the California coast by blocking new pipelines and other supporting construction in state waters.


• Dine-in restaurants may only provide drinking straws at customers’ request.

• Restaurants that advertise children’s meals must include water or unflavored milk as the default beverage, though customers can still order other options.

• Elections officials must provide prepaid return envelopes for vote-by-mail ballots. They also must give voters a chance to correct a ballot signature that doesn’t match the one on file and let them track mail-in ballots.

• The minimum wage rises to $12 for companies with 26 or more employees and $11 for smaller businesses as California phases in a $15 base hourly wage.

• A bill protecting net neutrality rules was set to take effect Jan. 1 but was blocked until a federal lawsuit is resolved.

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Comments (10)
  1. Dan Ashley says:

    I live in Calif. Things hare are real bad:

    One of the worst school systems
    Highest taxes
    cap and trade and gas tax resulted in $4.00 gas (today)
    Highest level of 9th grade dropouts in US.
    Highest poverty rate in the US
    Highest homeless rate in the US
    Non violent felons let out of prison.
    A rape that does not include a knife or a gun is ‘non violent’.
    Worst traffic in the US — even worse than Beijing when I was there five years ago
    Spending billions of dollars on a high speed train in the central valley. It needs tens of billions more, is economically infeasible, and not wanted. We need water reservoirs, not worthless trains.
    Sanctuary state has caused quite a few deaths at the hands of illegal aliens
    School lunch is good. But school provided breakfast teaches children that parental responsibility is less important because the government will take care of you.
    Worse than awful center city schools
    Regulation of everything: cow farts (yes. Really),
    grocery bag tax,
    a clergyman can’t give a bible to someone suffering from gender dysphoria,
    outlaw fois gras,
    free college education for illegals — not for anyone else.
    Hundreds of thousands non-citizens registered to vote. Maybe millions.
    Proven: 6% of non-citizens actually do vote.
    Level of business regulation is insane. You need 14 separate permits to open a diner.
    50% of K-12 schools AND university employees do not teach. This is an unheard of level of overhead and drives educational cost way up
    .Air Resources Board makes it impossible to open a furniture finishing company.
    New requirements to install solar panels on all new residential homes will raise costs between $10,000 and $30,000 per house, where housing costs are so high that many working poor live in their cars.
    Many, many, thefts, each less than $950 still do not constitute a felony — so all that happens is a ticket.
    Workers comp actually injures workers
    If you buy a car in another state and it has less than 7,500 miles on it, you cannot register it in California– ever.
    An extinct 2″ long fish is more important than drinking water
    Homeless in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego have contagious hepatitisStreets in LA and San Francisco are covered with human feces and used needles.
    Highest rate of STD in the nation.

    1. Gerhard Mack says:

      Actually California isn’t even in the top 10 states for highest taxes in the US. Neither is it in the top 10 states for poverty.

  2. Kathleen Mary says:

    Dan, you’re wrong on nearly all, if not all of your claims. We don’t have the highest taxes, the highest level of HS dropouts, or the highest number of STDs in the nation. You can buy a car in another state w less than 7,500 miles in it, as long as it has a 50 state vehicle sticker on it. there are over a dozen other states that have raised their standards to California’s. There are also other allowances. What you can’t do is try to go out of state to buy a car just to bypass California’s emissions laws. Boo-hoo. And boo-hoo to people having to make sure other species don’t go extinct just to fatten up other people’s wallets or that you have to meet certain standards to keep the air cleaner before you can open a furniture refinishing business, or that you have to pay a tax on a plastic bag. Also, Your estimates on how much extra it would cost each house because of mandatory solar panels are the highest estimate and you failed to mention that you end up saving far more money because of the offset to your electric bill, all while helping the planet by using green energy. I could go on and pick apart more, but I don’t have the time.