Has the government gone too far? Not yet, say progressives in California. This year, Democrats in control of the state passed three of the most aggressive social policies in the country. Now, their ideas are catching on nationwide.
Laws forcing vaccinations, legalizing doctor-approved suicide, and mandating equal pay at private businesses were among dozens of new laws recently approved.
If liberals have their way, these won’t be stopping at just California’s border. These sweeping new laws in the most populous state reflects Democrats’ desires to set a national trend on progressive social and environmental issues.
Many left-leaning interest groups and politicians see California as the brass ring for setting policies — and then testing whether those policies can withstand rigorous legal challenges.
“Both the vaccine bill and the right-to-die legislation will be seriously looked at by other states,” said Sherry Bebitch-Jeffe, senior political science fellow at the University of Southern California. “If it can pass here and it is perceived to work here, I think the proponents have a big positive jolt out of the victory in California.”
She believes over the next five to 10 years, the nation will look more like California politically.
Gov. Jerry Brown, a lifelong Catholic and former Jesuit seminarian, ended months of speculation when he signed the hotly debated suicide rights law, saying he doesn’t want to fight the issue.
With the worst of the state’s budget crisis behind them, Democratic lawmakers who control both houses of the Legislature are free to resume a liberal agenda of extending protections to the most vulnerable.
Liberal advocates are already pushing for similar laws in at least two dozen states this year.
In all, lawmakers sent Brown 808 bills, and he signed 675 of them. Other major new laws include:
— The strictest rules in the nation to ban routinely giving antibiotics to livestock.
— The first law to specifically ban using the name “Redskins” for school sports teams.
— Barring most people with concealed weapons permits from taking weapons onto college campuses.
The Associated Press contributed to this article