Bills include organizing rights for agricultural workers, jaywalking on empty streets.
SACRAMENTO (KGO) -- The clock is ticking for Governor Gavin Newsom to sign hundreds of bills still sitting on his desk.
According to Chris Micheli, a longtime Sacramento lobbyist and adjunct professor at McGeorge School of Law and UC Davis School, who is closely tracking the governor's political moves, the governor still needs to decide the fate of some 550 bills. He has until Friday at midnight to do so.
"He has roughly, the need to do about 110 bills per day, which is a pretty high volume," Micheli explained.
Among the bills still awaiting Newsom's approval or veto, is that controversial farmworkers unionization bill that would expand organizing rights for agricultural workers. Farmworkers have been marching to the Capitol to raise awareness. And both President Biden and Speaker Pelosi have urged the governor to sign it.
"We don't know exactly what the governor is going to do," Micheli said, "Although we do know that one of his press people in August indicated that the governor still has the same concerns he did when he vetoed last year's measure."
Other outstanding bills include one authored by San Francisco assembly member Phil Ting that would allow jaywalking on empty streets. The governor vetoed a similar bill last year.
He also needs to decide the fate of a bill that would drastically change solitary confinement in California prisons and jails by limiting the use to 15 consecutive days and no more than 45 days out of 180.
So far, Newsom has vetoed 60 of the some 1,100 bills sent to him for approval this legislative session, according to Micheli. That includes his decision over the weekend to reject a bill that would have made kindergarten mandatory.
Micheli said Newsom's number one reason for vetoing a bill is typically the cost.
"In all those bills, those 1,100 bills in the 2022 session, if you added up all the costs they would exceed 20 billion dollars in either one time or ongoing spending," he said. "And so he has said, listen I can't sign all those bills because there is such a significant fiscal impact to them."
In recent days, the governor has signed a number of bills into law.
On Friday, which he proclaimed Native American Day, he signed a bill that would remove the ethnic slur word "squaw" from all geographic features and places in the state. And a bill that would rename University of California's Hastings College of the Law to the College of the Law, San Francisco.
Over the weekend, he also signed two bills to crack down on catalytic converter thefts. Both would restrict how and where people and recycling companies can purchase used catalytic converters.
"We're going to get to the root cause, at least one of the root causes of this crime, and that's those brokers and those middle men who pay top dollar for stolen parts," Newsom said in a video announcement posted on Twitter. "It will now be illegal in California to buy catalytic converters from anyone other, anyone other than, licensed auto dismantlers or dealers."
He explained that the people who buy or sell these parts will now have to keep detailed records so they can better trace if thefts do occur.
"You take away the market for stolen goods, you can help cut down on stealing," Newsom continued. "It's not much more complicated than that."
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