In a surprise move, California Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) signed a bill to repeal a law that had been enacted during the Chinese Coronavirus pandemic, which led to widespread censorship of dissenting opinions on the virus and its vaccines.
As reported by the Daily Caller, Assembly Bill 2098, signed into law by Newsom in September of 2022, allowed for doctors and other medical professionals to face repercussions if they questioned the effectiveness of the vaccines, promoted alternative treatments such as ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine, or downplayed the effects of the virus itself.
The law had been facing a lawsuit from the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), which argued that the law violated First Amendment rights to freedom of expression.
The law cited the “contemporary scientific consensus” as the dominant authority on information surrounding COVID, and mandated “action against” any medical professionals who are “charged with unprofessional conduct,” with the law specifically describing such conduct as the spread of “misinformation or disinformation.”
At the time, Newsom justified the law by declaring that it has been “narrowly tailored to apply only to those egregious instances in which a licensee is acting with malicious intent or clearly deviating from the required standard of care while interacting directly with a patient under their care.”
In January, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction halting any further enforcement of the law.
Newsom’s repeal follows another shock move from the governor, who vetoed a controversial bill that would have given child custody court judges the authority to weigh whether or not a parent was willing to “affirm” a child’s “gender identity” as a deciding factor. The veto of Assembly Bill 957, introduced by the far-left State Senator Scott Wiener (D-Calif.), was a deviation from Newsom’s usual behavior of largely signing into law every bill that came across his desk.
This, and several other surprisingly moderate actions from the liberal governor, has stoked speculation that Newsom is planning a run for President by shifting away from his more far-left stances, presumably in order to have a broader appeal to a national audience. Such speculation has been further fueled by increasing concerns about Joe Biden’s physical and mental fitness for office, as well as the general unpopularity of Vice President Kamala Harris.