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Gov. Gavin Newsom during a September news conference in Oakland, California. Photo: Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images

California is removing the word "alien" from its state laws and replacing it with words such as "noncitizen" and "immigrant," Gov. Gavin Newsom announced.

Why it matters: The word "alien" began to be used in the 1990s "as a political dog whistle to express bigotry and hatred without using traditionally racist language," per a statement from Newsom's office.

  • The term was officially replaced with "noncitizen" in 2015, but "alien" has still been widely used in many aspects of California law.

What they're saying: Newsom noted in a statement that the word "alien" is "not only an offensive term for a human being, but for far too long has fueled a divisive and hurtful narrative."

  • "By changing this term, we are ensuring California’s laws reflect our state’s values," he added.

The big picture: The term "alien" has been used to identify people born outside the U.S. by the federal government since 1798 and in California since 1937. There's been a nationwide push in recent years to remove the word from legal texts and government documents because of its derogatory connotations.

  • President Biden ordered federal immigration agencies in April to stop using terms including "alien," "illegal alien" and "assimilation."
  • Newsom signed the bill, authored by California Assemblymember Luz Rivas (D), into law on Friday.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

Oct 9, 2021 - Health

California public schools to provide free menstrual products by 2022

Photo: Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Friday to require public schools to stock their restrooms with free menstrual products.

Why it matters: The legislation comes after many women's rights advocates have pushed nationwide for affordable access to pads, tampons and other women's hygiene products.

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages and flooding.

Why it matters: The strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood.

“You blew it”: GOP activist turns on corporations over vaccine mandates

The chairman of the American Conservative Union said on "Axios on HBO" he accepts "Joe Biden is my president, and I want him to succeed," but predicted Republicans retake the House and Senate in 2022 — with greater than 50% odds Donald Trump runs in 2024.

The big picture: In a joint interview with his wife, Mercedes, Matt Schlapp also refused to share their vaccination status. And he told corporate America "you blew it" by embracing vaccine mandates and liberal social stances that have alienated GOP voters and politicians.