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Governors Spotlight: Gun Control, Abortion Funding, Tobacco Legal Age & More

July 22, 2022 (5 min read)

CA Gov Signs Bill Allowing Victims to Sue Gun Makers, Sellers

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed AB 1594, a bill that allows the state, local governments, gun violence survivors, and the families of victims of gun violence to sue gun makers and sellers of weapons found to be “abnormally dangerous,” presumably a reference to high-velocity weapons like AR-15 rifles commonly used by perpetrators of mass shootings.

Under the law, firearm industry members will be required “to establish, implement, and enforce reasonable controls and take reasonable precautions to ensure that the member does not sell, distribute, or provide a firearm-related product to a downstream distributor or retailer of firearm-related products who fails to establish, implement, and enforce reasonable controls, and adhere to specified laws pertaining to unfair methods of competition, unfair or deceptive acts.”

The law also bars “a firearm industry member from manufacturing, marketing, importing, offering for wholesale sale, or offering for retail sale a firearm-related product that is abnormally dangerous and likely to create an unreasonable risk of harm to public health and safety in California.”

The law allows suits for selling guns that are manufactured and sold in a way that lets them be converted into illegal firearms, or which are marketed to minors or others who are prohibited from owning firearms.

The law is expected to be challenged in court. A challenge has already been filed to AB 2571, a measure Newsom signed on June 30th that bars gun marketing aimed at minors.

Newsom followed that up last Thursday by signing eight more gun control measures, including AB 2239, which creates a 10-year ban on gun possession for anyone convicted of child or elder abuse, and SB 906, which requires local educational agencies to annually provide information to parents about California’s child access prevention laws and laws relating to the safe storage of firearms and requires school officials to report to law enforcement any threat or perceived threat of a homicidal act.


MI Gov Signs 2023 Budget, Vetoes Millions in Abortion Alternative Funds

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed a $75.5 billion state budget for 2023 but also issued line-item vetoes to more than $21 million the Republican-controlled legislature sought to funnel to anti-abortion causes. 

The cuts include $10 million for marketing programs promoting adoption as an alternative to abortion, $2 million in tax credits for parents who adopt a child and $4 million for a maternity home program. 

Whitmer also vetoed $1.5 million Republicans sought for “pregnancy resource centers” that promote childbirth. Whitmer spokesperson Bobby Leddy accused those operations of using “deceptive advertising that target young women and women with low incomes who are seeking abortion care, painting themselves as comprehensive, licensed health care clinics that provide all options, and then lie to women about medical facts.”

Earlier in the week, Whitmer issued Executive Order No. 2022-4 that bars her office from extraditing people to or from Michigan if they are facing criminal charges for obtaining, providing or assisting an abortion. (MICHIGAN GOVERNOR’S OFFICE, BRIDGE MICHIGAN, CENTER SQUARE, CNN, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

MI Gov. Signs Tobacco Age Bills

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed several tobacco-related bills, including HB 6108, a bill that raises the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. Penalties for selling tobacco products to those under the age minimum remain up to $100 for the first offense; up to $500 for the second offense; and up to $2,500 for the following offenses. The governor also signed HB 6109, which prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from entering a tobacco retail specialty store, and SB 576, which requires agents who distribute tobacco through the mail to verify that the recipient is 21 years of age. (WXYZ [DETROIT], MICHIGAN GOVERNOR’S OFFICE)

NY Gov Signs Human Trafficking Package, Bill on Overdraft Fees

Saying “We must do everything in our power to end the scourge of human trafficking and protect thousands of individuals who fall victim to this abhorrent practice,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed a package of bills offering support and services for victims of human trafficking in the Empire State.

The eight measures Hochul signed include SB 244b, which requires workers at lodging facilities to be trained to recognize signs of someone being trafficked, and AB 9821, which requires human trafficking-related curriculum to be included in alcohol training awareness.

Earlier in the week Hochul signed SB 9348, which requires the state Department of Financial Services to conduct a study on overdraft fees in New York and the impact on consumers, especially low-income people. The report is expected to review not only the total amount of overdraft fees paid in the state but also their geographical distribution and whether specific communities have high rates of overdraft charges. It will also calculate the percentage of fees that are reduced through negotiations and assess how banks disclose to consumers their rights during those talks. (NEW YORK GOVERNOR’S OFFICE, SPECTRUM NEWS)

WV Gov Calls for Special Session on Tax Cuts

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) called for a special legislative session to address his proposal to cut personal income taxes in the Mountain State by 10 percent retroactively to January 1, 2022. If adopted, Justice says the tax restructure will return $254 million to state taxpayers. (METRO NEWS, WEST VIRGINIA GOVERNOR’S OFFICE)

CA Gov Signs Bill to Require Suicide Screenings

California Gov. Gavin Newsom inked his name to AB 1394, a bill that requires general acute care hospitals, and health care facilities that provide 24-hour inpatient care, to adopt universal suicide screening policies for patients twelve years of age or older by January 1, 2025. (CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR’S OFFICE, LOS ANGELES BLADE)

PA Gov Issues Abortion Rights Protection Order

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) issued Executive Order 2022-01, which prohibits state agencies from aiding investigations launched by other states over abortion services provided in Pennsylvania. The order further allows state officials to decline requests to issue arrest warrants for out-of-state residents who had an abortion in Pennsylvania and protects providers from losing their licenses as a result of assisting with abortions. (PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR’S OFFICE, PHILLYVOICE)

MA Gov Ponders Tardy $52B Budget Bill

Massachusetts lawmakers sent Gov. Charlie Baker (R) HB 5050, a $52.7 billion budget bill filled with increased spending on early education, health care, workforce development, transportation and housing. Lawmakers wrapped up the negotiations on Monday July 25th, more than two weeks after the July 1 deadline for having a budget in place. Baker will have 10 days from it landing on his desk to sign or veto the measure, or to send back portions with requests for changes. (ANDOVER TOWNSMAN)

NJ Gov Signs Police Licensing Bill

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed SB 2742, a bill that will require all law enforcement officers to hold a valid, active license issued by the Police Training Commission (PTC) in order to be employed as officers in the Garden State. The law further allows the PTC to take action against an officer who “acts outside the bounds of professional standards or engages in illegal or improper conduct. (NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR’S OFFICE)

--Compiled by RICH EHISEN


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