It’s been an especially busy few days for Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The governor is approaching a Saturday deadline to decide on hundreds of bills that the State Legislature sent to his desk last month for approval. The measures tackle a broad range of issues, including increasing mandatory paid sick leave, installing speeding cameras and banning certain additives in sweets.
Though many bills remain pending — of the more than 2,600 bills introduced this legislative session, the most in a decade, roughly 900 of them made it to Newsom’s desk — the governor has already cast his final vote on some particularly high-profile and closely watched measures.
On Tuesday, the governor signed a bill to make it easier to detain people with mental health and addiction issues and force them into treatment. The new law, which critics say infringes on civil liberties, is part of a broader effort to overhaul the state’s mental health system and address homelessness in California.
Newsom is expected to approve putting an initiative on the March primary election ballot to finance housing for homeless people with mental illness. More than 170,000 people are homeless in California, accounting for about one third of the nation’s homeless population.
“The mental health crisis affects us all, and people who need the most help have been too often overlooked,” Newsom said in a statement on Tuesday. “We are working to ensure no one falls through the cracks, and that people get the help they need and the respect they deserve.”
Over the holiday weekend, the governor signed a landmark bill requiring major companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, a requirement that could have national and global repercussions in the fight against climate change.
He signed a bill making TikTok, Instagram and other social media sites liable if they fail to combat the spread of content that depicts child sexual abuse; another that allows California’s legislative staff members to unionize; and one requiring that employers — and not workers — in the food service industry pay the cost of mandatory food safety training.
Newsom has also vetoed many measures this year: 143 over the weekend alone, according to CalMatters. Among his particularly consequential rejections:
Where we’re traveling
Today’s tip comes from Kathleen Kilpatrick, who recommends a road trip through Owens Valley in eastern California:
“My son and I just took a trip to Owens Valley, east of the Sierra. Once we got out of Bakersfield into the Kern River Canyon, the scenery was fantastic almost everywhere we went. A few roads were closed because of the unusual storm that passed through at the end of August, which a young man in a visitor center referred to as ‘our hurricane.’ Rabbit brush and wildflowers were blooming, and the high desert was unseasonably green.
We traveled Movie Road up to the closed sign, had a very moving visit to Manzanar, ate lunch by a rushing creek. The museum in Independence had been recommended. We found more local history there, and the biggest collection of Native American baskets I’d ever seen. The next day, we wound up to the bristlecone pines, at over 9,000 feet. Did you know they have purple pine cones? There were sweeping views of mountains everywhere we went. After two nights in Bishop, we went home through Yosemite, more spectacular scenery, although more crowded than anywhere else we had been.”
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
We’re looking to feature more of your favorite places to visit in California. Send us suggestions for day trips, scenic outlooks, hikes and more. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com.
And before you go, some good news
Patrick Acuña spent most of the last 30 years in California’s state prisons serving a life sentence he received at age 19. Now, a year after his release, Acuña is beginning his final year at the University of California, Irvine, where he will graduate with a degree in social ecology.
Acuña began taking community college courses decades ago while still in prison and earned two associate degrees. But the glimmer of higher education remained elusive for him until 2022, when the University of California system inaugurated a program for incarcerated people to pursue bachelor’s degrees in prison. Acuña became one of just 26 people at his San Diego facility to be admitted to U.C. Irvine.
In 2018, his case was retried and his sentence commuted, leading to his release last October and an eventual move to Irvine’s campus, a first for his program. The change was often difficult but worthwhile, he said, crediting his rehabilitation to education.
“We engage in education because once we get a taste of it, we understand that it transforms our lives in ways we don’t even initially understand,” Acuña told EdSource in an interview. “It broadens our perspective.”
Yesterday’s newsletter misstated Representative Nancy Pelosi’s connection to an all-girls high school in San Francisco, the Convent of the Sacred Heart. Her daughters attended the school, but Ms. Pelosi did not. (She went to high school in Baltimore.)
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.
Maia Coleman and Briana Scalia contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.