SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California could become the first state with its own prescription drug label.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that he wants the state to contract with generic drug companies to make prescription medications on its behalf to sell to the public. The Democratic governor said the goal is to lower prices by increasing competition in the generic market. Lawmakers must approve the plan before it can take effect. 

The idea is part of Newsom's upcoming budget proposal, which he must present to lawmakers by Friday. The governor's office did not say how much the proposal would cost.

The California budget is also looking into more protections firefighters.

Newsom wants to hire more state firefighters and make low-income communities safer from devastating wildfires in the budget he will send to state lawmakers on Friday. It's part of what Newsom is touting as a $2 billion program to fight catastrophic wildfires and other disasters. 

His office told The Associated Press the 555 additional firefighters would be hired over five years. That would augment more than 3,800 current permanent firefighters. California also hires seasonal firefighters during peak danger periods when devastating winds have driven fires into urban areas. Wildfire threats prompted power companies to impose widespread debilitating blackouts last year. 



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