Dan Walters, Cal Matters | Drug bill veto: Is Newsome running for president? – Sentinel of Santa Cruz

Gov. Gavin Newsom hinted he may be considering a presidential bid on Monday when he vetoed a bill that would have allowed cities to create sites where addicts could ingest drugs.

National political media awaited Newsom’s action, believing that if he rejected a bill backed by progressives in his Democratic party, it would signal he feared his signature would alienate moderate voters in other states. .

Newsom has always denied having presidential ambitions, but has drawn national media attention with his virulent attacks on red state governors and his pleas for Democrats to mount a stronger defense against conservative political and judicial gains.

Ahead of Monday’s rejection, The New York Times quoted Jessica Levinson, a Loyola University Law School professor and policy analyst, as setting the bill’s policy:

“I feel like Gavin Newsom is the most and least likely US governor to sign this bill – most likely in the sense that he likes to be ahead of the curve. But if he signs this, the advertisements are written in a way: He becomes ‘Governor Heroin’.

The legislation Newsom rejected, Senate Bill 57, was passed by Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco, and cleared both houses of the legislature, albeit narrowly, with only Democratic support. .

Newsom’s predecessor, Jerry Brown, had vetoed a similar bill, saying it sent the wrong message about drug addiction, but during his 2018 campaign for governor, Newsom indicated that he was open to the idea. On Monday, he did not denounce it as strongly as Brown had, but expressed concerns about its feasibility and “unintended consequences”.

“I have long supported cutting edge harm reduction strategies,” Newsom said in his veto message. “However, I am extremely concerned about the operation of safe injection sites without strong and committed local leadership and well-documented, verified and thought-out operational and sustainability plans.”

“The unlimited number of safe injection sites this bill would authorize – facilities that could exist until the end of this decade – could lead to a world of unintended consequences. It is possible that these sites will help improve the safety and health of our urban areas, but if done without a solid plan, they could defeat that purpose. These unintended consequences in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland cannot be taken lightly. Worsening drug abuse problems in these areas is not a risk we can take.

Newsom said his administration would convene meetings with local officials to discuss “minimum standards and best practices for safe and sustainable overdose prevention programs” and “a really limited pilot program.”

Wiener, in a statement, said Newsom’s veto “sends a powerful negative message that California is not committed to harm reduction” and added, “We don’t need studies or groups of Further work to determine if safe consumption sites are effective.We know from decades of experience and numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies that they work.

Despite Newsom’s denials of presidential ambition, his name has appeared with increasing frequency on media lists of potential candidates should President Joe Biden decide not to pursue a second term in 2024. Polls have indicated that most of Democrats would rather Biden, who is suffering high disapproval in voter polls, not happen again.

Just last week, a new poll was released by the UC-Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, reporting that 61% of California voters do not want Biden to run again, including 46% Democrats. The same poll also indicated that Newsom ranks first as a replacement candidate.

When Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would have allowed safe injection sites for drug addicts, he may have signaled that despite his denials, he may be positioning himself for a presidential campaign.

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