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Governor Newsom inaugurated to second term

Newsom’s inaugural address lifted up California’s work to protect & advance fundamental rights & freedoms under attack across the U.S.



Governor Gavin Newsom with his wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom and children Dutch, Montana, Brooklynn, and Hunter at his side is sworn in. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SACRAMENTO – On the two-year anniversary of the attack on U.S. Capitol, Governor Gavin Newsom was today inaugurated to a second term as California’s Chief Executive.

The Governor delivered his inaugural address with the historic State Capitol at his back, lifting up California’s work to protect and advance the fundamental rights and freedoms under attack across the country amid rising extremism and oppression, and underscoring the state’s commitment to continue leading the way forward to prosperity and progress for all. 

Governor Newsom delivered his second inaugural address Friday, Jan. 6, in front of the state capitol.
(Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

Newsom celebrated the start of his second term choosing the moment to contrast California’s progressive and inclusive values with the “ugliness that overflowed on January 6.”

Tapping into the symbolism of the day when insurrectionists stormed the Capitol building in Washington, Newsom drew on his own Golden State upbringing to define diametrically opposite visions of America in his inaugural address, delivered under cloudy skies near the steps of the California statehouse.

Full text of Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2nd inaugural address 

Time has done its usual trick on me.

It says it has been four years since I stood in the shadow of this Capitol and delivered my first inaugural address.

Four years, disaster and plague, they bend the clock in strange ways.

It feels like both a flash, and an eternity. 

In the longest hours of my first term, trying to plot a course through pandemic, wildfire, mass shootings, and social unrest … I found myself looking backward, as much as I was looking forward.

I recalled the late-1970s, when I was 10 or 11 years old, a child of divorce and dyslexia, trying to find my bearings.

I was a kid, traveling back and forth across the Golden Gate Bridge, between the two very different lives of my mother and father.

I couldn’t read, and was looking for any way to ditch classes. I’d fake stomach aches and dizziness. I’d bite down on the thermometer in the nurse’s office trying to make the temperature rise past 100.

My mom, busy juggling three jobs, had no patience for a truant.

My father, the judge, guilty because he had left us, was an easier touch.

I remember one time during the middle of school, when he picked me up in his Volkswagen bug, and took me to San Francisco’s Chinatown.

On its face, this was a mission for food.

But I didn’t understand back then, it was also HIS mission, to give me a slice of San Francisco, our place, and the story of California.

We crossed one of the many demarcations in the city, and suddenly we had entered another realm.

Through the gate at the intersection of Bush and Grant, my eyes and nose took it all in.

Pagoda-style storefronts. Red lanterns hanging from above. Giant statues of Buddha in the windows. Roasted duck. Fresh baked cookies.

My father wasn’t content with just showing me the unfamiliar. He wanted me to see past the façade, to the people themselves.

The humble entrepreneurs and immigrant parents, building better lives for their kids. To the journey that had brought them to enrich our city – and our state.

This was the same California that drew my great, great grandparents from County Cork in Ireland to start a new life during the first years of California’s statehood.

William Newsom the first, became a beat cop in San Francisco. And the Newsoms began to plant roots as working-class Irish, in a land where anything was possible.

The journey from policeman to politician took 150 years.

My wife Jennifer, the First Partner, is the second in her family to be born in the Golden State.

My children – Montana, Hunter, Brooklyn, and Dutch – now 5th generation Californians.

And all of you here today. No two California origin stories are the same, but we share aspirations, and ambitions.

These ties bind us, sometimes unknowingly, to our state’s past – and to each other.

I remember hot summer days with my dad, riding a raft down wild stretches of the American River. Those cold waters were the same ones where James Marshall found gold nuggets that would sell the California Dream to the world, and alter the course of American history.

But I’m mindful that there’s another side to that story, not the fairytale.

California’s statehood, after all, was also sealed with a brutal genocide against native people.

Reconciling that complexity has always guided my own understanding of myself, and of the state that I love so deeply.

The shameful chapters of our history do not lessen my love for my home state. They make it more complicated, yes, deeper, richer, and serve as a reminder that we can always become better.

The California that beckoned my forebears 170 years ago had a population of 93,000. Today, we’re nearly 40 million strong, each with our own California story.

I hear the echoes of my own family’s story in those who are still coming to California to pursue their dreams, drawn by the myth and magic of this place.

I hear the echoes in the stories of migrants that cross our southern border seeking something better.

In people who come from every continent on earth to flee political persecution, or from other states to educate themselves in our world-class universities, to start businesses that support their families, or change the world.

Whether your family came here for work, or for safety, California offered freedom to access it, not contingent on you looking a certain way, talking a certain way, thinking a certain way.

And that’s what makes California special – it’s in our genes. We’re a state of dreamers and doers. Bound by our live-and-let-live embrace of personal freedom.

But like I’ve said, we’ve made mistakes … Lord knows we’ve made our share.

Let’s not forget, the Chinatown I visited as a boy is a remnant of the bigotry of agitator Denis Kearney, and the Chinese Exclusion Act of the 1880s.

Tens of thousands of Japanese Americans were interned right here during World War II.

In the post-war era, as California’s suburbs grew, the racist practice of exclusionary zoning took hold, denying Black, Asian, Armenian and Latino residents the right to live on the good side of town and build wealth.

This planted the seeds of the housing and homeless crisis we face today.

Even California indulged homophobic hate at the ballot box, with the Briggs Initiative – the 1970s version of “Don’t Say Gay.”

And of course, the 1990s brought a wave of anti-immigrant xenophobia, manifesting in Proposition 187.

These are dark moments in California’s journey. But in the end, we confronted our errors with humility and conviction, paving the way for rights and freedom to prevail.

Every day, California commits itself to the process of getting it right for the next generation.

In nearly 30 years in politics, I have had the opportunity to see this process firsthand, learning as we go, and etching these learnings on the consciousness of a country that perhaps hasn’t yet caught up. 

When we started issuing same-sex marriage licenses in San Francisco in 2004, it felt as if history moved at light-speed, in the right direction, decades of advocacy culminating in that beautiful Winter of Love.

But that victory, to expand rights and freedom to marry, was snatched away by a backlash that resulted in Proposition 8.

Eventually, after many setbacks, and many steps forward, just a few weeks ago, President Biden signed legislation enshrining the freedom to marry.

That has been the story of progress throughout our history.

It is not always easy, and not always linear.

But in the end, the verdict is clear – expanding rights is always the right thing to do.

And yet, there are still forces in America that want to take the nation backward.

We saw that two years ago, on this day, when the unthinkable happened at a place most Americans assumed was invincible.

An insurrectionist mob ransacking a sacred pillar of our democracy, violently clashing with sworn officers upholding the rule of law.

Just like the brave men and women whose heroism we inscribe, here on our own Peace Officers’ Memorial.

Since that terrible day, we’ve wrestled with what those events say about us as a country.

The ugliness that overflowed on January 6th, 2021, was in fact decades in the making. Fomented by people who have a very different vision of America’s future.

Red state politicians, and the media empire behind them, selling regression as progress, oppression as freedom.

And as we know too well, there is nothing original about their demagoguery.

All across the nation, anxiety about social change has awakened long-dormant authoritarian impulses.

Calling into question what America is to become, freer and fairer … or reverting to a darker past.

Instead of finding solutions, these politicians void of any new ideas, pursuing power at any cost, prey upon our fears and paranoias.

The struggle to be who we ought to be,” as a nation is difficult and demanding.

And that’s why we should be clear-eyed about their aims.

They’re promoting grievance and victimhood, in an attempt to erase so much of the progress you and I have witnessed in our lifetimes.

They make it harder to vote and easier to buy illegal guns.

They silence speech, fire teachers, kidnap migrantssubjugate womenattack the Special Olympics, and even demonize Mickey Mouse.

All camouflaged under a hijacking of the word “freedom.”

But what they really want is more control – intrusive government, command over your most intimate decisions – when to have a family, how you raise your kids, how you love.

While they cry freedom, they dictate the choices people are allowed to make. Fanning the flames of these exhausting culture wars. Banning abortion, banning books, banning free speech in the classroom, and in the boardroom.

They sell fear and panic when it comes to crime and immigration.

But they sell calm and indifference when the threat is greenhouse gases destroying our planet, or big oil raking in windfall profits at your expense.

But California offers reason for hope.

There is no soil better adapted” to liberty and opportunity – the sense of possibility, than here in our home state.

Now, the fourth largest economy in the world.

The most venture capital and startups in America.

Leading the world in the transition to a low-carbon, green growth future.

An advanced industrial economy in biotherapeutics, genomics. Aerospace and battery storage.

High-speed internet connecting the Central Valley to the Central Coast.

Rebuilding roads from Yreka to San Ysidro.

Providing clean water from Colusa to Coachella.

A new Cal Poly in Humboldt, conveying more scientists, engineers, researchers, Nobel laureates than any other state.

Debt free college for hundreds of thousands of students…

And the largest state volunteer corps in America.

I am mindful, though, that California, like the nation, is two rivers at once, a mix of light and shadows.

So as we go forward, we must continue our quest for an honest accounting of where we’ve fallen short: on affordability, on housing, on homelessness.

In our pursuit of belonging, and equal justice, California must be the enduring proof of concept.

We must reconcile our shortcomings. Bring everyone along in our prosperity.

After all, a healthy democracy must be inclusive.

Government by the people and for the people, requires people willing to fight to protect and advance it.

Just like Californians did last year, when we overwhelmingly voted to enshrine reproductive rights into our State Constitution.

We chose choice. 

In our finest hours, California has been freedom’s force multiplier. Protecting liberty from a rising tide of oppression taking root in statehouses.

Weakness, masquerading as strength. Small men in big offices.

More than any people, in any place, California has bridged the historic expanse between freedom for some, and freedom for all.

We open our arms not clench our fists. We turn our gaze upward, not inward.

Freedom is our essence, our brand name – the abiding idea that right here, anyone from anywhere can accomplish anything.

We’ve overcome the destructive impulses of extremism, racism, and nativism.

And shown the rest of America it’s not only achievable – it’s undeniable.

Going forward, California will continue to lead out loud, by advancing a far-reaching freedom agenda.

A full-throated answer to those demagogues of division, determined to regress and oppress.

Freedom for teachers to teach, free of litmus tests about their political party, or the person they love.

Freedom to access health care for all Californians, regardless of their immigration status.

Freedom from Big Pharma’s grip, competing head-on by manufacturing our own life-saving drugs.

Freedom to vote without intimidation, with results decided by the people, not the politicians.

The battle lines are drawn. And yes, once again, it’s time for choosing.

Let’s not forget that policies that started here that were once considered nothing more than romantic possibilities have now become commonplace across the other 49 states.

California “lights out the territory for the rest.

That’s what we do best. Giving shape to the future – molding the character of the nation.

Just like those rivers that sculpted so many of California’s deepest valleys.

The places of my childhood memories. Those rafting and camping trips with my dad. Falling in love with California. Over and over again.

My father died shortly after I was elected governor in 2018. He never got to see his son assume the office.

Nor did my mother Tessa, who died just before I became Mayor of San Francisco.

Their dreams, their spirit, their love of California, is with me every day.

Just as they were last year, when I found myself with the leaders of California’s most populous tribe, the Yurok. Floating down another great river, the Klamath, in a traditional dugout canoe.

We stopped for dinner on the riverbank and prepared salmon smoked on redwood, over a traditional firepit.

The bark infused flavor into the fish, imparting a taste familiar to the Yurok people stretching back to their earliest ancestors.

Just a few weeks ago, I returned to the Klamath and met with Yurok, Karuk, and Klamath tribal leaders.

This time, to celebrate the removal of four dams … America’s largest dam removal project in history.

Setting the river free once more, restoring natural salmon runs and in so doing, righting a historical wrong.

Because this is what California does. And it’s what I’ve dedicated my life to.

Standing up for ideals, striking out against injustice.

After all, history reminds us that each of us will be judged … and ultimately judge ourselves, to the extent we contribute, as Bobby Kennedy said, to the life of our cities, our state, our nation, and the world we are trying to build.

That brings me back to time.

Time is undefeated, it is relentless.

So in our fleeting moment, we must fight against our worst impulses, and find our better angels.

Because at the end of the day, our lives are just too short, our wisdom too limited, to win fleeting victories at other people’s expense.

We must all triumph together.

Thank you.



Legislators, Capitol community to celebrate Trans visibility week

Trans Visibility Week and the International Transgender Day of Visibility, acknowledge and uplift the societal contributions of trans+ people



Trans flag flies over the Capitol Building in Sacramento (Blade file photo)

SACRAMENTO — On Monday, March 27, California legislators, Capitol staff, and community advocates will join trans+ community members to celebrate Transgender Week of Visibility, a series of celebrations leading up to International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31. 

Legislators will wear buttons declaring “trans people belong” and spread their message of solidarity and inclusion for trans+ Californians across social media channels. The message will be echoed by leaders in the executive branch, labor, and advocacy organizations who are working to create a more just world for transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people. 

“Across the country and even right here in California, trans people’s lives are being used for political purposes. These attacks bring real harm to our trans+ friends, colleagues, and loved ones, particularly our children,” said LGBTQ Caucus Chair Susan Talamantes Eggman. “It’s up to all of us to stand together with trans, gender non-conforming, and non-binary people to create communities that are safe for trans+ people to thrive.”

Trans Visibility Week and the International Transgender Day of Visibility, acknowledge and uplift the societal contributions of trans+ people. The week also raises awareness of widespread discrimination and violence that the community faces in the United States, around the world, and sadly, right here in California. 

Trans visibility is more important than ever, as 429 bills attacking LGBTQ+ rights have been introduced in state legislatures across the nation, a record number, many particularly targeting transgender youth. Some of these proposals would force teachers to out trans students, deny trans youth the right to participate in sports and other activities, and deny affirming health care.

“Trans people shouldn’t have to fight just to exist or live safely in our communities,” said Evan Minton (he/they), a former Capitol staffer and national transgender advocate. “Trans visibility is an opportunity to celebrate the joy of being who we are.”

“The trans community deserves to live their authentic lives without the fear of harassment or violence. We are proud to join community advocate Evan Minton, state legislators, staffers, and the Capitol community to send a strong message that trans people belong and will never be erased,” said Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang. “Now more than ever taking a unified stance against LGBTQ+ hate is imperative. Equality California remains committed to achieve full, lived LGBTQ+ equality for all.” 

Monday’s Capitol events come after several historic actions this week in support of the trans+ community.  Earlier this week, the Sacramento City Unified School District board held its first annual trans pride flag raising, sending a powerful message of inclusion to trans students, teachers, and the entire school community. Last week, the District also passed a strong resolution affirming the rights of trans students and encouraging classroom discussion on the importance of trans visibility. On Tuesday, the Sacramento City Council adopted a resolution declaring an annual Transgender Week of Visibility in the city. Sacramento County is considering a similar resolution on March 28.

For more information, follow @eqca, #transpeoplebelong #TransgenderDayofVisibility 

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Newsom eases drought restrictions

Since Governor Newsom announced the 15% voluntary conservation goal, Californians conserved 600,000 acre-feet of water



Governor Gavin Newsom lifts emergency water restrictions (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

YOLO COUNTY – Governor Gavin Newsom today rolled back some drought emergency provisions that are no longer needed due to current water conditions, while maintaining other measures that support regions and communities still facing water supply challenges, and that continue building up long-term water resilience.

Amid climate-driven weather whiplash, the state has taken action to boost water supplies through groundwater recharge, stormwater capture, reservoir storage, and more. 

Today’s action comes as the state announced increased water deliveries to 29 public water agencies that serve 27 million Californians, now expecting to deliver 75% of requested water supplies – up from 35% announced in February, and the highest since 2017. 

While recent storms have helped ease drought impacts, regions and communities across the state continue to experience water supply shortages, especially communities that rely on groundwater supplies that have been severely depleted in recent years. Today’s order is responsive to current conditions while preserving smart water measures: 

  • Ends the voluntary 15% water conservation target, while continuing to encourage that Californians make conservation a way of life;
  • Ends the requirement that local water agencies implement level 2 of their drought contingency plans;
  • Maintains the ban on wasteful water uses, such as watering ornamental grass on commercial properties;
  • Preserves all current emergency orders focused on groundwater supply, where the effects of the multi-year drought continue to be devastating;
  • Maintains orders focused on specific watersheds that have not benefited as much from recent rains, including the Klamath River and Colorado River basins, which both remain in drought;
  • Retains a state of emergency for all 58 counties to allow for drought response and recovery efforts to continue.

 A copy of today’s executive order can be found (here).

“We’re all in this together, and this state has taken extraordinary actions to get us to this point. The weather whiplash we’ve experienced in the past few months makes it crystal clear that Californians and our water system have to adapt to increasingly extreme swings between drought and flood. As we welcome this relief from the drought, we must remain focused on continuing our all-of-the-above approach to future-proofing California’s water supply,” the governor said.

Since Governor Newsom announced the 15% voluntary conservation goal, Californians conserved 600,000 acre-feet of water – representing 1.2 million households’ yearly usage. 

The Governor today visited the Dunnigan Groundwater Recharge Project in Yolo County, where he highlighted the state’s work to accelerate and increase groundwater recharge to make the most of winter storms. California is working to expand groundwater recharge by at least 500,000 acre-feet in potential capacity as part of our water supply strategy.

Governor Newsom tours the Dunnigan Groundwater Recharge Project in Yolo County (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

Leveraging the state’s long-term water supply strategy and more than $8.6 billion committed by Governor Newsom and the Legislature in the last two budget cycles to build water resilience, California is taking aggressive action to prepare for hotter and drier conditions driven by climate change that could reduce the state’s water supply by up to 10% by 2040. In the 2023-24 state budget, Governor Newsom is proposing an additional $202 million for flood protection and $125 million for drought-related actions.

Here are other actions that Governor Newsom and the Legislature have taken to boost water supply, expand storage, and improve infrastructure: 

  • EXPANDING SUPPLY & STORAGE BY 1.1 MILLION ACRE-FEET: California has bolstered supply and storage through groundwater recharge and other projects, including a combined 1.1 million acre-feet of water – enough for 2.2 million households’ yearly usage. 
  • EXECUTIVE ORDERS TO CAPTURE & STORE MORE WATER: During recent storms, Governor Newsom signed executive orders to accelerate stormwater capture to boost groundwater recharge and other conservation measures.
  • FAST-TRACKING GROUNDWATER RECHARGE: The state is expanding groundwater recharge by at least 500,000 acre-feet in potential capacity – streamlining permits and $1 billion for groundwater recharge projects for 88,000 more acre-feet per year.
  • MAXIMIZING STORMWATER CAPTURE: $176 million for 67 stormwater projects and streamlining permitting to take advantage of major storm events.
  • EXPANDING STORAGE ABOVE & BELOW GROUND: California is supporting seven locally-driven water storage projects that would expand the state’s capacity by 2.77 million acre-feet – about three times as much water as Folsom Lake can hold. And, California is working to expand San Luis Reservoir by 135,000 acre-feet to store more storm runoff.
  • ADVANCING CLEAR, AMBITIOUS TARGETS: 142 actions to improve water resilience and bolster water supplies, and a roadmap for expanding urban stormwater capture capacity by 250,000 acre-feet and adding 4 million acre-feet of water storage capacity.
  • MODERNIZING WATER INFRASTRUCTURE: California is working to modernize aging water conveyance systems across the state to safeguard long-term water reliability and help carry winter storm runoff into storage.

Climate change has made California’s dry and wet spells more extreme and unpredictable – after the three driest years on record, recent rain and snowfall have dramatically changed conditions in many parts of the state. The state has also advanced actions to boost storage and supply. Today’s action eases drought emergency provisions that are no longer needed while maintaining others to support impacted communities statewide.
Harnessing water captured and stored from recent storms, the state also announced a major increase in expected State Water Project deliveries to local agencies – now an anticipated 75% allocation.

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Newsom delivers State of the State letter reflecting on tour of Calif.

The Governor’s letter highlights key legislative victories over the past four years and the major policy announcements he made on his tour



Governor Gavin Newsom met with leaders from across California (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SACRAMENTO – Fulfilling his annual duty to report to the Legislature the condition of the state, Governor Gavin Newsom today delivered a letter to lawmakers outlining his vision for the year ahead while reflecting on his recent Tour of the State of California.

The Governor’s letter highlights key legislative victories over the past four years and the major policy announcements he made on his tour to improve the lives of all Californians, lower costs for families, and create safer and healthier communities. 

“As we rededicate ourselves to the work we started together four years ago, I offer you a renewed commitment of partnership and cooperation – as we strive to make the California Dream achievable for everyone who calls our great state home,” the governor said.

On his four-day tour, the Governor announced $1 billion in homelessness funding and the state’s largest mobilization of small homes, a historic transformation of San Quentin State Prison, $30 insulin through CalRX, and a transformative proposal to modernize California’s behavioral health system and more mental health housing:

Tour of the State of California – Day 1
Governor Newsom Announces $1 Billion in Homelessness Funding, Launches State’s Largest Mobilization of Small Homes
(Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

The Governor’s Tour of the State of California started in Sacramento with state and local leaders, First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, and advocates to announce the release of $1 billion in funding to support communities across the state stepping up their work to reduce homelessness. The Governor also announced California’s largest mobilization of small homes to serve people experiencing homelessness, especially those living in encampments. The California National Guard will assist in the preparation and delivery of 1,200 small homes to Los Angeles, San Diego County, San Jose, and Sacramento — free of charge and ready for occupancy.

“In California, we are using every tool in our toolbox – including the largest-ever deployment of small homes in the state – to move people off the streets and into housing. The crisis of homelessness will never be solved without first solving the crisis of housing – the two issues are inextricably linked. We are tackling this issue at the root of the problem by addressing the need to create more housing, faster in California,” said Newsom.

Tour of the State of California – Day 2
Governor Newsom Announces Historic Transformation of San Quentin State Prison
(Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

Continuing his tour, the Governor traveled to San Quentin State Prison – soon to be “San Quentin Rehabilitation Center” – to announce that the facility, which is currently a maximum-security prison home to the largest “death row” in the United States, will be transformed into a one-of-a-kind facility focused on rehabilitation and education. The transformation will build on California’s existing work and best practices, utilizing evidence-backed research, and will be guided by an advisory group composed of world-renowned rehabilitation and public safety experts, along with survivors of crime and formerly incarcerated individuals. This historic effort will serve as a nationwide model to advance a more effective justice system that builds safer communities.

“California is transforming San Quentin – the state’s most notorious prison with a dark past – into the nation’s most innovative rehabilitation facility focused on building a brighter and safer future. Today, we take the next step in our pursuit of true rehabilitation, justice, and safer communities through this evidenced-backed investment, creating a new model for safety and justice — the California Model — that will lead the nation,” the governor said after completing a tour of the facility.

Tour of the State of California – Day 3
Governor Newsom Announces $30 Insulin Through CalRx
(Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

In Downey, Governor Newsom, alongside California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, health care advocates, and members of the legislature, announced California will be manufacturing and distributing its own insulin for $30 per vial. The announcement made good on the Governor’s promise on his first day in office to bring down the price of prescription drugs for Californians and increase accountability and transparency in health care. The state will pursue other prescription drugs through the CalRx program – next up: Naloxone, as part of Governor Newsom’s Master Plan for Tackling the Fentanyl and Opioid Crisis.

Newsom told those at the event: ““People should not be forced to go into debt to get life-saving prescriptions. Through CalRx, Californians will have access to some of the most inexpensive insulin available, helping them save thousands each year. But we’re not stopping there – California will seek to make our own Naloxone as part of our plan to fight the fentanyl crisis.”

Tour of the State of California – Day 4
Governor Newsom Proposes Modernization of California’s Behavioral Health System and More Mental Health Housing
(Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

The Governor concluded his tour at a hospital in San Diego, where he proposed a 2024 ballot initiative to improve how California treats mental illness, substance abuse, and homelessness: A bond to build state-of-the-art mental health treatment residential settings in the community to house Californians with mental illness and substance use disorders and to create housing for homeless veterans, and modernize the Mental Health Services Act to require at least $1 billion every year for behavioral health housing and care.

“This is the next step in our transformation of how California addresses mental illness, substance use disorders, and homelessness – creating thousands of new beds, building more housing, expanding services, and more,” Newsom said adding: “People who are struggling with these issues, especially those who are on the streets or in other vulnerable conditions, will have more resources to get the help they need.”

While traveling across the state for these transformative policy announcements, the Governor and First Partner spoke directly with residents and diverse community groups representing a broad range of constituencies. The Governor met with small business owners, nonprofit leaders, civil rights activists, artists, innovators, researchers, healthcare advocates, public safety experts, and community leaders.

Watch a video recap of the Tour of the State of California: (here).

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Newsom proposes modernizing state’s behavioral health system

Newsom proposed a 2024 ballot initiative to improve how California treats mental illness, substance abuse, and homelessness



Gov. Newsom speaking on a proposed 2024 ballot initiative in San Diego, March 18, 2023 (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SAN DIEGO – Governor Gavin Newsom, in partnership with state Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), has proposed the next step to modernize how California treats mental illness, substance use disorders, and homelessness. 

Governor Newsom proposed a 2024 ballot initiative to improve how California treats mental illness, substance abuse, and homelessness: A bond to build state-of-the-art mental health treatment residential settings in the community to house Californians with mental illness and substance use disorders and to create housing for homeless veterans, and modernize the Mental Health Services Act to require at least $1 billion every year for behavioral health housing and care,

An initiative would go on the 2024 ballot that would:

  1. Authorize a general obligation bond to:
    1. Build thousands of new community behavioral health beds in state-of-the-art residential settings to house Californians with mental illness and substance use disorders, which could serve over 10,000 people every year in residential-style settings that have on-site services – not in institutions of the past, but locations where people can truly heal. 
    2. Provide more funding specifically for housing for homeless veterans. 
  2. Amend the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), leading to at least $1 billion every year in local assistance for housing and residential services for people experiencing mental illness and substance use disorders, and allowing MHSA funds to serve people with substance use disorders.
  3. Include new accountability and oversight measures for counties to improve performance. 

The MHSA was originally passed 20 years ago; it is now time to refresh it so it can better meet the challenges we face. Key changes that the Governor is proposing include: Creating a permanent source of housing funding of $1 billion a year in local assistance funds to serve people with acute behavioral health issues, focusing on Full Service Partnerships for the most seriously ill; and allowing MHSA to be used for people with substance use disorders alone.

 “This is the next step in our transformation of how California addresses mental illness, substance use disorders, and homelessness – creating thousands of new beds, building more housing, expanding services, and more. People who are struggling with these issues, especially those who are on the streets or in other vulnerable conditions, will have more resources to get the help they need.”  

According to the Governor’s office, the Administration plans to work in close partnership with legislative leaders in this space including Senator Eggman and Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), as well as with the California State Association of Counties, other critical local government stakeholders, community-based service organizations, advocates, and people with lived experience as bill language is developed. 

Previous initiatives include:

  • $2.2 billion for the Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Program.
  • $1.5 billion for Behavioral Health Bridge Housing.
  • $1.4 billion to expand and diversify the behavioral health workforce.
  • $4.7 billion Master Plan for Kids’ Mental Health, of which the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative is the central component.
  • $1.4 billion to build out a Medi-Cal benefit for mobile crisis response, as well as $38 million to expand 9-8-8 and CalHOPE crisis call center.
  • Over $600 million to support community-based alternatives to state hospitalization for those who commit felonies who are incompetent to stand trial.
  • Over $1 billion to address the opioid epidemic.
  • $7 billion to reform CalAIM – enhanced care management for people with serious mental illness, a no wrong door approach to care, and more. 
  • $1.6 billion proposed to implement the California Behavioral Health Community-Based Continuum Demonstration to strengthen services and supports for those who are at risk of homelessness, incarceration and foster care placements.
  • $50 million for the California Veterans Health Initiative (CVHI) for veteran suicide prevention and mental health.
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Governor Newsom announces $30 insulin through CalRx



Governor Gavin Newsom (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

DOWNEY, CA – Governor Gavin Newsom, as part of his tour of the State of California, announced that CalRx has secured a contract with a manufacturer (CIVICA), to make $30 insulin available to all who need it. The Governor also announced Saturday that California will seek to manufacture its own Naloxone.

Today’s announcement makes good on Governor Newsom’s promise on his first day in office, to bring down the price of prescription drugs for Californians and increase accountability and transparency in health care. Californians can learn more about CalRX on the newly launched website.

Newsom’s action will bring down the price of insulin by about 90%, saving cash-paying patients between $2,000 and $4,000 annually. With CalRx, and unlike private companies, we’re getting at the underlying cost – the price is the price, and CalRx will prevent the egregious cost-shifting that happens in traditional pharmaceutical price games. It’ll cost us $30 to manufacture and distribute, and that’s how much the consumer can buy it for. You don’t need a voucher or coupon to access this price, and it’s available to everybody regardless of insurance plan. This is a crucial step in not just cutting the cost for the consumer, but cutting costs across the board in order to bring cheaper prescription drugs to all Californians.

Photo Credit: Office of the Governor

“To address the affordability crisis in California, we have to address the high cost of prescription drugs,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency. “The CalRx Biosimilar Insulin Initiative will benefit Californians who are today paying too much for a medication that we know is life saving and life altering.”


  • A 10mL vial will be made available for no more than $30 (normally $300)
  • A box of 5 pre-filled 3mL pens will be made available for no more than $55 (normally more than $500)
  • No new prescription will be needed. Californians will be able to ask for the CalRx generic at their local pharmacy or via mail order pharmacies. Pharmacies must agree to order/stock the product.
  • CalRx plans to make biosimilar insulins available for: Glargine, Aspart, and Lispro (expected to be interchangeable with Lantus, Humalog, and Novolog respectively)
  • California signed a contract with CIVICA to manufacture affordable insulin 
  • The Governor will seek to manufacture Naloxone through CalRx
Governor Gavin Newsom makes his announcement on California signing a contract with CIVICA to manufacture affordable insulin. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

“People should not be forced to go into debt to get life saving prescriptions. Through CalRx, Californians will have access to some of the most inexpensive insulin available, helping them save thousands each year. But we’re not stopping there – California will seek to make our own Naloxone as part of our plan to fight the fentanyl crisis,” said Newsom.


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Newsom announces $1 Billion in homelessness funding

Additionally, the Governor today announced the state’s largest mobilization of small homes to serve people experiencing homelessness



Newsom speaks about the launch of the new homelessness program (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SACRAMENTO – On Thursday in Sacramento, Governor Gavin Newsom joined state and local leaders, First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, advocates and other partners to announce the release of $1 billion in Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) Round 4 funding to support communities across the state stepping up their work to reduce homelessness.

Last year, Governor Newsom paused this funding to local governments and demanded greater ambition when they collectively proposed only a 2 percent reduction in unsheltered homelessness. Local governments have since revised their homelessness plans, now targeting a 15 percent reduction in homelessness statewide by 2025.

Additionally, the Governor today announced the state’s largest mobilization of small homes to serve people experiencing homelessness, especially those living in encampments. The California National Guard will assist in the preparation and delivery of 1,200 small homes to Los Angeles, San Diego County, San Jose and Sacramento, free of charge and ready for occupancy. 

“In California, we are using every tool in our toolbox – including the largest-ever deployment of small homes in the state – to move people off the streets and into housing. The crisis of homelessness will never be solved without first solving the crisis of housing – the two issues are inextricably linked. We are tackling this issue at the root of the problem by addressing the need to create more housing, faster in California,” the governor said.

Newsom is challenging the status quo and implementing new approaches to solve the dual crises of housing and homelessness, with a focus on greater accountability. Small homes are cost-effective and can be quickly deployed to move people from homeless encampments into housing.

  • After meeting with the Governor late last year, local jurisdictions have set new, more ambitious homelessness reduction goals and may now access $1 billion through round four of state grant program
  • State is delivering 1,200 small homes to Los Angeles, San Diego County, San Jose and Sacramento to provide safe, interim housing for people experiencing homelessness
  • Those living in encampments will be prioritized for these new units by the local governments operating the homes and providing services

Locations for placement of these small homes will be the responsibility of local jurisdictions. However, when needed and when available, the state will provide surplus land to use as an option for small homes. Local governments will own the units and provide all services, including recruiting residents, leveraging previously provided state funding. The following communities are set to receive small homes:

Los Angeles: 500 units
Sacramento: 350 units
San Jose: 200 units
San Diego County: 150 units

“Thank you to Governor Gavin Newsom for being innovative in his approach and a great partner in this effort. No one body of government will solve homelessness alone, and it will take local, state, and federal partnerships to ensure that we are collectively addressing this humanitarian crisis,” said Supervisor Nora Vargas, Chairwoman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “These small homes are one important step to solving a bigger problem and will provide shelter and access to resources for our unhoused residents in San Diego County. Our Board is committed to prioritizing transformative policies to ensure our families, children, veterans, and seniors experiencing homelessness have a roof over their heads.”

“All different types of housing — small homes, motels, hotels, and more — are needed to urgently confront this crisis,” said Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass. “This housing will help us bring more people inside, which is what our city needs right now. Thank you Governor Newsom for locking arms with Los Angeles.”

(Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

“The magnitude of the homelessness crisis in California requires a coordinated response by all levels of government, and I commend Governor Newsom’s ongoing commitment to partnering with cities and counties,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “The addition of these small homes will get us one step closer to having the supply of emergency housing actually required to humanely clean up our streets.”

“We have a moral obligation to take urgent action to reduce the human suffering on our streets,” said San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan. “This mass mobilization of small homes accelerates the innovative approaches needed to solve our state’s homelessness crisis. As Mayor of San Jose, I am challenging our city to move 1,000 unsheltered neighbors out of unmanaged encampments and into safer alternatives by the end of this calendar year. This initiative will help us get there.”

The addition of small homes is another tool the state is using to create more housing, faster in California. Since taking office, Governor Newsom has signed over 70 bills to kick-start and streamline the building process, including 20 CEQA reform measures.

Along with an unprecedented $15.3 billion investment, Governor Newsom has demanded more accountability at the local level when it comes to addressing housing and homelessness. The Administration has focused on working with local jurisdictions to meet their housing requirements, clean up encampments and get more vulnerable Californians off the streets and into housing.

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Bill to protect Trans youth privacy passes Judiciary Committee

Assembly Bill 223, the Transgender Youth Privacy Act, calls to seal any petition for a change of gender or sex identifier filed by a minor



State Capitol Building (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill 223, the Transgender Youth Privacy Act, which calls to seal any petition for a change of gender or sex identifier filed by a minor passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee on a bipartisan vote Tuesday.

The bill now heads to the Assembly floor for consideration.

Transgender and gender non-conforming adolescents are more likely to develop depression and other mental health conditions, according to research by the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation.

Researchers found the youth that participated in the study reported a higher prevalence of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation and self-inflicted injuries than their peers who identified as the gender they were assigned at birth.

Assemblymember Christopher M. Ward (D-San Diego), who represents the 78th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Coronado, Del Mar, Imperial Beach, and San Diego introduced AB 223.

“The Transgender Youth Privacy Act is focused to ensure that those documents are sealed from general public discovery as many of our documents have become digitized and are too easily accessible to those who would do these youth harm,” said Ward . “AB 223 is about protecting youth from being bullied so they can navigate their daily lives as themselves.”

Under existing law, parent authorization is required for changing vital records for those under 18 years of age unless a court has emancipated them. AB 223 does not change the petition process, but it helps prevent online discovery of documents leading to “outing” and harassment. The bill would require any petition for a change of gender or sex identifier filed by a minor to be sealed to protect their privacy.

As a parent of a trans child, I appreciate just what this bill means not just to trans kids like mine, but to other parents of trans kids,” said Clarice Estrada Barrelet with the SoCal Family Law Group. “We submitted these petitions on behalf of our minor children who likely celebrated like we did when the petition was granted. And while the parents may be advocates like me, our kids did not ask to be advocates; they just want to be their true selves. And they have a reasonable expectation that this be private.”

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Equality California announces initial 2023 legislative package

Create safe environments for LGBTQ+ youth, protect gender-affirming care, improve access to PrEP & protect marriage equality



California State Flag (Los Angeles Blade file photo)

SACRAMENTO — Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, announced its initial 11 sponsored bills, including one constitutional amendment for the 2023 legislative year.

“The LGBTQ+ community is facing an onslaught of attacks by far-right extremists across the country with attempts to roll back civil rights that our community has fought tirelessly to achieve,” said Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang. “Here in California, we are standing up against hate and will continue leading the way to ensure LGBTQ+ Californians are protected, healthy, and can build a future that represents their values with a community that accepts and supports them. We are not allowing the ongoing attacks to set us back today — or ever.”

Equality California is sponsoring the following bills:

ACA 5 (Assemblymember Evan Low): Protecting Marriage Equality

ACA 5 is a constitutional amendment to protect marriage equality for LGBTQ+ couples with the intent to remove Proposition 8 from the state’s constitution. In 2008, Proposition 8 declared “only marriage between a man and a woman” as valid or recognized in California. If approved by the Legislature, the measure will appear before voters in the 2024 general election. Read EQ Calif. statement

AB 5 (Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur): Safe and Supportive Schools Program

AB 5 will specify the timeline for implementation of LGBTQ+ cultural competency training for California teachers and school staff currently under development by the Department of Education. The bill will provide teachers and staff with the tools and training they need to support LGBTQ+ students and make California schools safer and more supportive for all students.

AB 783 (Assemblymember Phil Ting): All-Gender Restroom Compliance

Building on landmark legislation that required single-user restrooms to be designated as all-gender, AB 783 will improve compliance with existing law by requiring cities to notify all business license applicants that single-user restrooms in any business, place of public accommodation, or government agency must be identified as all-gender restrooms.

AB 957 (Assemblywoman Lori D. Wilson): Affirming Gender Identity

AB 957 will update California law to clarify that affirming a child’s gender identity is in the best interests of the child for purposes of legal name change and child custody decisions.

AB 1432 (Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo): Insurance Coverage for Abortion and Gender-Affirming Care

While states across the country are banning and even criminalizing abortion and gender-affirming care, AB 1432 will close loopholes in existing law to ensure that health insurance policies provided to Californians by out-of-state employers with out-of-state insurance contracts include coverage for abortion and gender-affirming care.

AB 1645 (Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur): Protecting Access to Preventive Care

In the wake of a Texas lawsuit targeting health insurance coverage for PrEP and other preventive services, AB 1645 will close loopholes and strengthen protections in existing law to ensure that California health insurers continue to provide free and complete coverage for preventive services like PrEP and STI testing.

SB 36 (Senator Nancy Skinner): Safe Haven for Abortion and Gender-Affirming Care

SB 36 will strengthen California’s “safe haven” laws by making it illegal for bail agents or bounty hunters to apprehend people who have left another state to avoid criminal prosecution related to abortion or gender-affirming care. The bill will also ensure that public benefits are not denied to people who need to flee to California to access abortion or gender-affirming care.

SB 339 (Senator Scott Wiener): Improving PrEP Access at Pharmacies

Building on first-in-the-nation legislation that authorized pharmacists to furnish PrEP without a doctor’s prescription, SB 339 will improve the ability of pharmacists to provide PrEP by increasing the amount of PrEP that pharmacists are authorized to provide without a doctor’s prescription and requiring health plans to reimburse pharmacists for PrEP services.

SB 407 (Senator Scott Wiener): LGBTQ+ Foster Youth Protections

SB 407 has the intent to strengthen protections in existing law to ensure that LGBTQ+ foster youth in California are placed in homes that are affirming of LGBTQ+ identities. Youth who identify as LGBTQ+ are overrepresented in foster care, with multiple studies estimating about 30 percent of youth in foster care identify as LGBTQ+.

SB 729 (Senator Caroline Menjivar): Insurance Coverage for Fertility Care

SB 729 will require health plans to provide coverage for fertility care, including treatment for infertility and in vitro fertilization, and ensure that LGBTQ+ people are not excluded from coverage and can build a family without the fear of cost.

SB 760 (Senator Josh Newman): All-Gender Restrooms for K-12 Students

SB 760 is first-of-its-kind legislation to require all K-12 schools in California to provide at least one accessible all-gender restroom for students to use safely and comfortably during school hours.

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Newsom: SoCal city’s Pride flag ban “rank,” Walsh: a hate symbol

Newsom weighs in on decision by Huntington Beach City Council MAGA majority ban on LGBTQ Pride Flag- far right host says flag is a hate symbol



Governor Gavin Newsom (Screenshot/YouTube)

SACRAMENTO – During a press conference Thursday that announced the filing of a lawsuit and a motion for preliminary injunction against the City of Huntington Beach for violating state housing laws, during the question and answer period, Governor Gavin Newsom in response to the Blade’s question, ripped Huntington Beach over another decision to ban the LGBTQ Pride Flag.

“What a disgrace to take down the Pride Flag,” Newsom said. The Governor then went on to lament the reversal of progressive gains over the past several decades. He then called the actions by the city council “jaw dropping.” He then noted, [the decision to ban the flag] “whether it is legal or not it’s wrong and it’s shameful- these attacks, these assaults on the LGBTQ community.”

Newsom then stressed that [Californians] ” we have an obligation to call out the city council, call out that action- disgraceful, insulting, we are better than that. This state stands firmly behind the LGBTQ community and will continue to fight against homophobia and this kind of discrimination and just rank, rank, performative politics.”

A local Orange County political activist tweeted the governor’s answer to the Blade’s question:

On Thursday morning during his regular radio show on far-right extremist media outlet The Daily Wire, anti-LGBTQ+ host Matt Walsh told his viewers that the LGBTQ+ Pride flag is a hate symbol.

The Daily Wire, anti-LGBTQ+ host Matt Walsh (Screenshot/YouTube)

“We should treat it as a hate symbol because that’s what it is. They fly the flag, that flag, because they hate you and your values and what you believe and everything you stand for,” Walsh said.

From the March 9, 2023, edition of The Daily Wire’s The Matt Walsh Show


MATT WALSH (HOST): Let’s just put this plainly. The Pride flag does not deserve our respect.

In fact, it deserves our disrespect. It deserves our contempt and mockery. It is not the flag of gay people. Okay? That’s not what it is. Gay people in America, they already have a flag. It’s called the American flag. It’s the flag we all share or are supposed to share.

The Pride flag, which was invented by a far-left activist drag queen, represents not a person or a people or a community, but an agenda, a political and cultural agenda. It always has. It has from the very beginning. It still does now. And today, nearly all of the most depraved and perverse attacks on children, on tradition, on decency, on common sense are waged under this banner. That’s what it signifies. Okay?

The gay pride flag signifies drag queens dancing for toddlers, males invading women’s bathrooms. It signifies castration drugs given to children. It signifies the destruction of the nuclear family. When government officials send that thing up the flagpole or paint its ridiculous colors in the street, that is what they’re promoting. It’s what they’re advertising. It is the cause they want us to salute.

Not only should we should we refuse to salute it, but we should treat it with disdain. We should treat it as a hate symbol because that’s what it is. They fly the flag, that flag, because they hate you and your values and what you believe and everything you stand for.

And so we should respond in kind to this symbol. In other words, we should give the Pride flag all of the respect that the left shows the American flag. Let’s just put it that way.

On Tuesday, March 7,  State Senator Dave Min issued the following statement regarding the Pride Flag ban in Huntington Beach:

“Tonight, the Huntington Beach City Council will have one final opportunity to vote in support of flying the LGBTQ+ Pride Flag on city properties from City Hall to the world famous Huntington Beach pier. The Pride Flag is not only a statement of our values of diversity and inclusion, it is a powerful symbol that Surf City is a place that welcomes everyone.

The Pride Flag’s removal sends the wrong message to our residents and to the millions of tourists who visit each year. Its removal validates the rise in anti-LGBTQ+ hate that has become all too common in Orange County in recent years. Not only is this the wrong, it is an irresponsible move for Huntington Beach taxpayers given the swift economic fallout from companies seeking to do business in Surf City.

As a representative of Huntington Beach and 1.1 million Californians in the State Senate, I urge the City Council not to divide our communities when we have a responsibility to ensure everyone feels safe and valued.”

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Calif. stops renewal of contract with Walgreens over abortion pill

Walgreens will lose about $54 million as a result of Newsom ordering withdrawal of a planned renewal of contract on May 1, 2023



Walgreens store near San Diego, Calif. March 7, 2023 (Screenshot/YouTube CBS 8 San Diego)

SACRAMENTO – California is pulling back its renewal of a multi-million dollar contract with Walgreens, following the company’s preemptive decision not to dispense the abortion medication Mifepristone in 21 states, including states where abortion remains legal.

On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted calling for the review of all contracts between the State and Walgreens and today’s announcement is a result of that ongoing review.

“California will not stand by as corporations cave to extremists and cut off critical access to reproductive care and freedom,” said Newsom. “California is on track to be the fourth largest economy in the world and we will leverage our market power to defend the right to choose.”

The contract between the California Department of General Services (DGS) and Walgreens allows the State to procure specialty pharmacy prescription drugs, primarily used by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and its correctional health care system.

Today, at Governor Newsom’s directive, DGS gave formal notice that it is withdrawing a planned renewal of that agreement set to take effect on May 1, 2023, and instead will explore other options for furnishing the same services. Under this contract, Walgreens has received about $54 million from the State.

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