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Gavin Newsom vetoes bill that would let California state workers bring babies to work

Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill this week that would have let state workers bring their babies to work.

Newsom said in a veto message on Tuesday that while he recognized the value of the proposal, he had concerns over legal liabilities. He said he would instruct CalHR to develop a similar program administratively.

Assembly Bill 372, sponsored by Assemblyman Randy Voepel, R-San Diego County, would have set up a voluntary pilot program for state agencies that would have run from January 2020 through 2022.

The program would have allowed babies aged six weeks to six months in state offices. Voepel said in April that he introduced the bill to help parents save on child care costs and build bonds with their newborns.

“An Infant at Work program might be worth exploring, but the bill as written exposes the state to a high level of risk of lawsuits and should be handled administratively or through collective bargaining,” Newsom said in his veto message. “Moreover, the timeline stipulated does not provide adequate time to establish a policy and regulations for a program of this magnitude.”

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Wes Venteicher anchors The Bee’s popular State Worker coverage in the newspaper’s Capitol Bureau. He covers taxes, pensions, unions, state spending and California government. A Montana native, he reported on health care and politics in Chicago and Pittsburgh before joining The Bee in 2018.