California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis (D) on Thursday became the first woman in state history to sign a bill into law.
With Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on vacation out of the country, Kounalakis is acting governor until his return. On Thursday morning, the state legislature voted to extend an eviction moratorium through June 30, and because the current law expires on Friday, Kounalakis had to quickly sign the emergency bill.
In its 171-year history, California has never elected a woman as governor. Signing the measure was "very humbling," Kounalakis said. "For many years women have been writing legislation ... but no woman has ever signed a bill into law. And it felt like a moment in history that we should recognize as important."
Elected in 2018, Kounalakis is the state's first female lieutenant governor. There are now four women holding statewide office and 38 women in the legislature, which are both all-time highs, The Associated Press reports. Newsom could have changed his plans so he could sign Thursday's bill into law, Kounalakis said, but he's "extremely supportive of elevating people around him, particularly those from underrepresented groups. And I am very grateful to him for helping to make this happen."