With the 2021 legislative session at a close, we can now turn our attention to the actions Governor Newsom can take on the bills that were passed at the conclusion of the session on September 10. Governor Newsom can consider bills under October 10.

As a quick reminder, there are three actions that the governor can take on legislation on his or her desk. The governor can sign the bill into law. They can veto the bill. Or they can allow the bill to become law without a signature, California’s so-called pocket signature rule.

In this third year of Governor Newsom’s term, he received just over 800 bills to act on. That number was slightly depressed by the coronavirus pandemic compared to his first year in office. So far, he has acted on 159 of the 800 bills. During his first year in office, just over 1,000 bills were sent to Governor Newsom’s desk and he vetoed 16.5% of them. In his second year, where the pandemic reduced the number of bills introduced by 76%, just over 425 bills reached the governor’s desk. Newsom vetoed 13% of those bills.

How does this compare historically to other governors in the era of bill introduction limits? Since the 1990’s, when bill introduction limits were introduced, a typical year would have between 850 and 2,100 bills reach the Governor’s desk. Governor Pete Wilson usually received between 1,050 and 1,700 bills. His lowest veto rate was 8%, and his highest veto rate was 24%. In Governor Davis’s five years in office, he received between 950 and 1,450 bills and vetoed between 6% and 25%. Governor Schwarzenegger received between 900 and 1,250 bills during his term. He vetoed between 22% and 35% of bills. And most recently Governor Brown, in his second stint as governor, received between 850 and 1,200 bills annually, vetoing between 10 to 15% of them.

You can find the transcript of the audio in today’s post here.

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