CFRW: Carl Demaio:  Reform California

CFRW: Carl Demaio: Reform California

October 23, 2023

Each year Carl Demaio, the Chairman of Reform California, picks some of the worst bills passed by our State legislature. Here are his top 10 picks for 2023.


1.   Giving Free Lawyers for Illegal Immigrants (State Budget): Gavin Newsom and California Democrats are continuing to divert billions of dollars in state taxpayer funds to provide a wide range of free services and benefits to illegal immigrants – including completely free healthcare. To add insult to injury, California Democrats are using $60 million in state taxpayer funds to hire free lawyers that illegal immigrants can use to sue our own government as well as fight deportation.

2.  Taking Children Away from Parents (AB 665):Newsom and state Democrats passed AB 665 which makes it easier for children as young as 12 to be taken away from their parents. Existing state law required that a child could only be removed and “emancipated” if a licensed therapist or health professional determined that abuse or neglect was occurring that posed a threat to the child in the parents’ home and the child was mature enough to govern their own affairs. AB 665 removes any need to show abuse, neglect, or a threat – and allows even an “intern” or “trainee” to make the decision! One of the most reckless and anti-parent bills ever conceived is now law.

3.   Advancing Government-Run HealthCare (SB-770):California state government intrusion into its healthcare system has already resulted in a massive price spike for care, but that is about to get much worse as the state initiates a complete government takeover of all healthcare with SB 770 approved by Newsom and California Democrats. SB 770 instructs state officials to begin negotiations on obtaining a federal waiver to redirect all federal health care funds (including from Medicare and other federal health programs) to support an untested government-run healthcare system costing $500 billion annually! Next step: a ban on private health insurance and a massive tax hike!

4.  Creating a More Toxic Workplace (SB 497): California labor regulations already have made our state the worst place to create jobs in by imposing high costs and high risks, but Newsom and California Democrats approved SB 497 to exponentially increase the risk to all businesses by changing the burden of proof on worker retaliation cases. Under SB 497 any disgruntled employee will be assumed to be a victim of retaliation and the employer has very little chance of protecting itself from false retaliation claims. In addition, Newsom and California Democrats made it harder for businesses to justify creating jobs in our state by passing SB 363 to limit the use of arbitration to resolve disputes and AB 594 which weaponizes local city attorneys to use their taxpayer-funded lawyers as free legal attack funds for local labor unions targeting small businesses.

5.  Stripping School Boards of Curriculum Powers (AB-1078):Newsom and California Democrats approved AB-1078 they say is designed to stop book banning in California schools. Yet this bill will only serve as an infringement of local control over curriculum decisions and limit the ability of parents and communities to have a say in what is taught in schools.

6.  Eliminating Discipline in Schools (SB 274): Newsom and California Democrats are fostering a culture of lawlessness by banning any suspensions of students who engage in “willful defiance.” California Democrats say it is “racist” to punish unruly students who disrupt the classroom with a simple suspension but are always looking for ways to charge parents with crimes if they speak out too forcefully at school board meetings.  Expect the teacher shortage in California to get much, much worse as good teachers leave the profession because they cannot control unruly disruptors in the classroom.

7.  Making it Easier to Release Criminals (SB-81): With property and violent crimes continuing to spike across the state, Newsom and California Democrats approved SB-81 to allow early parole for prison inmates regardless of their behavior in prison, chances of reoffending, or its impact on victims.

8.  Infringing on Your Right to Self-Defense (SB 2 and AB-28): Newsom and California Democrats have created a crime wave with their other negligent policies, but now they want to make it harder for you to defend yourself by imposing a massive excise tax on guns and ammunition – as well as severely restricting your right to concealed carry. Both laws are unconstitutional on their face, but state politicians have shown zero regard for following well-established civil rights rulings.

9.  Setting the Stage for a Carbon Tax and an SUV Tax (SB253 and AB251): Expect two new big taxes to come to California soon under two new laws approved by Gavin Newsom and state Democrats. SB 253 establishes a carbon emission reporting requirement on all businesses and sets the stage to then tax companies based on their carbon footprint – a key element of the Green New Deal.  AB 251 initiates a state examination on SUV impacts to justify the imposition of a new SUV tax – but it will be called a “fee” for the so-called “impacts” that AB 251 will document.

10. Repealing Prop 13 and Raising Taxes (ACA-1 and ACA-13): Newsom and California Democrats are supporting two laws (now being presented to voters) to gut Prop 13 and make it easier to raise your taxes. ACA-1 reduces the voter approval threshold from a two-thirds supermajority to just 55% for local general obligation bonds and special taxes. ACA-13 is designed to block the California Taxpayer Protection Initiative which itself would protect and strengthen Prop 13.


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From the Desk of Mary Ervin, CFRW President
Submitted by Jeanne Solnordal, Legislative Analyst