Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has taken action on a slew of bills. He has until Oct. 14 to act on legislation that lawmakers have sent to his desk.
Newsom vetoed some Saturday, including a measure that would have made California the first state in the nation to outlaw discrimination based on caste and another that would have decriminalized the possession and use of some hallucinogens, including psychedelic mushrooms. He also signed several into law, notably a sweeping mandate requiring large businesses to disclose a wide range of planet-warming emissions.
Here’s a look at some of the other bills Newsom signed into law on Saturday:
FOOD INGREDIENTS BAN
California on Saturday became the first state to ban four chemicals used in well-known candies and other foods and drinks because of their link to certain health problems.
Newsom signed a law banning the red dye No. 3 chemical used as food coloring for products like Peeps, the marshmallow treat most associated with Easter. The chemical has been linked to cancer and has been banned from makeup for more than 30 years.
The law also bans brominated vegetable oil, which is used in some store brand sodas, and potassium bromate and propylparaben, two chemicals used in baked goods.
Newsom said in a signing statement that the additives addressed in the bill are already banned in various other countries. All four chemicals are already banned in foods in the European Union.
"Signing this into law is a positive step forward on these four food additives until the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews and establishes national updated safety levels for these additives," Newsom’s statement said.
This illustration shows Peeps marshmallows laying on a table in Washington, DC on April 2, 2021. (Photo by Eva HAMBACH / AFP) (Photo by EVA HAMBACH/AFP via Getty Images)
Just Born Inc., the company that makes Peeps, has said it has been looking for other dye options for its products.
The bill was authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, a Democrat from Los Angeles.
"The Governor’s signature today represents a huge step forward in our effort to protect children and families in California from dangerous and toxic chemicals in our food supply," Gabriel said in a statement Saturday.
The law doesn’t take effect until 2027, which Newsom said should give companies plenty of time to adapt to the new rules.
LEGISLATIVE STAFF UNIONIZATION
Assemblymember Tina McKinnor, a Democrat representing Inglewood who introduced the bill, said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in July that it was hypocritical for lawmakers to ask staffers to write legislation expanding other workers’ right to unionize when those staffers themselves cannot form a union.
"Our staff aren’t looking for special treatment," McKinnor said. "They’re looking for the same dignity and respect afforded to all represented workers."
The law allows lower-level staff to join and form a union, but it does not apply to lawmakers, chiefs of staff or appointed officers in the Legislature.