California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoes free condoms for high school teens, allows retailers to refuse to sell them

California Gov. Gavin Newsom today vetoed a law that would make condoms available free-of-charge to high school students, and which prohibited retailers from denying sales to same, claiming the law would be too expensive. It's the latest in a run of Newsom vetoes to bills recently passed by California lawmakers, including a ban on caste-based discrimination, a law that would limit the price of insulin and one that decriminalized possession and use of some hallucinogens.

The bill would have required all public schools that have grades nine through 12 to make condoms available for free to all students. It would have required public schools with grades seven through 12 to allow condoms to be made available as part of educational or public health programs.

And it would have made it illegal for retailers to refuse to sell condoms to youth.

State Sen. Caroline Menjivar, a Democrat from Los Angeles and the author of the bill, had argued the bill would have helped "youth who decide to become sexually active to protect themselves and their partners from (sexually transmitted infections), while also removing barriers that potentially shame them and lead to unsafe sex."

Newsom said programs increasing access to condoms are "important to supporting improved adolescent sexual health." But he said this bill was one of several measures lawmakers passed this year that, when added together, would add $19 billion in costs to the state budget.

There's a lot of discussion over whether his budgetary excuses are reasonable—it was far from the only discretionary spending bill—or whether he's lurching right in advance of a presidential run. In any case, pleased to rule by veto.