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California Governor Nixes Bill Offering Free Condoms To High School Students

California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently axed a bill that provides condoms to high school students for free, the Associated Press reports.

Newsom shut the legislation down, arguing that supporting the proposed law was too expensive, with a budget deficit of over $30 billion. The bill—known as Senate Bill 541—would have mandated all public schools to make free condoms available for students starting from ninth through 12th grade. An additional requirement would allow access to condoms for grades seven through 12 as part of an educational or public health program. For retailers, Senate Bill 541 would make it illegal to refuse condom sales to youth.

While the Democratic governor saw the good in the proposed law, he said the state needs to be more disciplined on what they spend as the bill would add close to $20 billion in costs to the state budget. “With our state facing continuing economic risk and revenue uncertainty, it is important to remain disciplined when considering bills with significant fiscal implications, such as this measure,” Newsom said.

“This bill would create an unfunded mandate to public schools that should be considered in the annual budget process,” Newsom explained. Lawmakers estimated the bill would have had a price tag in the low millions every year, with close to 1.9 million high school students enrolled in over 4,000 schools in 2022, according to the California Department of Education.

Newsom has been on a roll, vetoing bills that addressed numerous measures. In early October 2023, Senate Bill 58 and Senate Bill 90 were looked over. Bill 58 would have decriminalized the possession and use of certain hallucinogens, and Bill 90 was designed to limit the price of insulin, according to USA Today. But one law did get the green light as part of the Golden State’s plan to eliminate the use of fossil fuels by 2035. The new law requires any new bus purchased or contracted by school districts to be zero-emission.

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