Newsletter: Essential California Week in Review: Newsom approves a flurry of new laws

A man in a grey T-shirt and a straw hat waves a red flag in the middle of a crowd
Joe Aguilar of Sacramento waves a United Farm Workers flag in Sacramento in August. The union had just completed a 24-day march to call on Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign a bill that would give farmworkers the ability to vote from home to unionize.
(Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Oct. 1.

Here’s a look at the top stories of the last week

13 new reproductive health laws for California. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed more than a dozen bills Tuesday codifying key parts of California’s campaign to counter the overturn of Roe vs. Wade. The newly signed laws come as a November vote to enshrine abortion rights into the state Constitution is approaching.

Newsom also signs California farmworkers bill. He had previously said he might veto the measure, prompting pressure from President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) to sign it. The law makes it easier for agricultural laborers to join unions.

Masks are gone for now, but the virus isn’t. Cases have fallen significantly from the height of the Omicron wave this spring and summer — call it “good COVID weather.” But health experts are warning these conditions could change.

Federal court says private ICE facilities ban is unconstitutional. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the 2019 state law violated a clause that precludes states from interfering with the enforcement of federal laws. California officials said they were “deeply disappointed.”

Questions linger after deadly freeway gun battle. San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies engaged in a 70-mile pursuit punctuated by wild gunfire that ended in the deaths of a father and the daughter he was suspected of abducting. The teen was killed as she ran toward police.

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A new plan to convert commercial properties into housing. The historic deal between affordable housing groups and labor unions received Newsom’s approval when he signed two major bills Wednesday. The laws allow underutilized and vacant commercial buildings to become housing.

UCLA buys a new campus amid housing woes. The nation’s most popular university is seeking to expand enrollment by creating a satellite campus. UCLA announced Tuesday that it will buy two properties owned by the shuttered Marymount California University for $80 million.

[Read more: “UC housing crisis forces students into multiple jobs to pay rent, sleeping bags and stress.”]

KTLA turmoil highlights Latino representation concerns. KTLA-TV Channel 5 defended its handling of the departure of two popular anchors. But the staffing change highlights a larger issue: the shortage of Latinos on air in an area where Latinos make up nearly 50% of the population.

Alameda County Sheriff removes guns and duties from 47 deputies. An internal audit revealed the deputies had failed their entry psychological evaluations and were never qualified to be hired.

Oakland school shooting wounds six. The adult victims were wounded at a campus that houses multiple schools, with two people suffering life-threatening injuries. Police said they believe the attack was gang-related, involving at least two gunmen and an accomplice.

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ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads

When is it time to stop rebuilding burned towns? Columnists Anita Chabria and Erika D. Smith write that California spends billions to resurrect communities leveled by wildfires. But even if residents return, a hotter, drier climate leaves them open to future fires. Chabria and Smith explore a potent question: When is it time to give up?

A twice-convicted con artist went from scamming Manhattan to swindling L.A. In the late 1980s, David Bloom earned the nickname “Wall Street Whiz Kid” after bilking more than 100 people — including his grandmother — out of a combined $15 million. Three decades later, he was promising fake Super Bowl tickets and big investment returns to patrons in L.A. dive bars.


Fins to the left, fins to the right and you’re the only dorado in town. Better known by its Hawaiian name, mahi-mahi is a luminary of the sport fishing world whose sudden appearance last month off the Los Angeles coast has sparked a feeding frenzy among local anglers. The only trouble? It’s not an easy catch.

‘Angeleno’ or ‘Angelino’? Every few years, this topic reemerges “like dormant insects persistently rising from their hibernation,” writes Patt Morrison, who provides a definitive answer. For starters, “Angelino” implies a place called “Los Angelis,” wherever that is.

Today’s week-in-review newsletter was curated by Laura Blasey. Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to

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