Gov. Gavin Newsom wasted no time in signing legislation Monday to halt a cap on student enrollment at the University of California at Berkeley.

The legislation, known as Senate Bill 118, passed unanimously through the state Senate on Monday afternoon and had been awaiting the governor’s signature.

The bill amends the state’s environmental law to allow about 2,600 more students to attend the university in person in the fall. The new law requires environmental reviews of campus growth, but for the total campus population and not just the number of students on campus.

Opponents of the bill say it will result in more litigation. Phil Bokovoy, president of Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods, said that allowing for the influx of more students will have a grave impact on housing affordability and availability, as well as environmental consequences.

“UC Berkeley does not have the capacity to handle more students,” he said, “and more than 10 percent of current Berkeley students suffer homelessness during their education.”

Newsom touted the bill as a way to embrace the “dreams” of students.

“I’m grateful to the Legislature for moving quickly on this critical issue,” he said in a statement. “It sends a clear signal that California won’t let lawsuits get in the way of education and dreams of thousands of students, our future leaders and innovators.”

Lawmakers said that the bill passed Monday will affect not just UC Berkeley but all University of California campuses, state university campuses, and community college campuses.

The state Assembly on Monday passed a separate but identical bill.

Keith Burbank, Bay City News

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.

Katy St. Clair, Bay City News

Katy St. Clair got her start in journalism by working in the classifieds department at the East Bay Express during the height of alt weeklies, then sweet talked her way into becoming staff writer, submissions editor, and music editor. She has been a columnist in the East Bay Express, SF Weekly, and the San Francisco Examiner. Starting in 2015, she begrudgingly scaled the inverted pyramid at dailies such as the Vallejo Times-Herald, The Vacaville Reporter, and the Daily Republic. She has her own independent news site and blog that covers the delightfully dysfunctional town of Vallejo, California, where she also collaborates with the investigative team at Open Vallejo. A passionate advocate for people with developmental disabilities, she serves on both the Board of the Arc of Solano and the Arc of California. She lives in Vallejo.