This year over 2,800 bills, an excessive number in my view, were introduced in Sacramento. Many have a fiscal impact, which means they must be referred to the Appropriations Committee, the last stop for fiscal bills before they are presented to the full Assembly or Senate for a final floor vote.
With so many bills to consider, the Appropriations Committee Chair and Vice Chair often agree to refer noncontroversial bills costing under $150,000 to the consent calendar so that passage can be expedited. All others will be placed on the Appropriations Suspense File, so that they can be reviewed more thoroughly by the committee.
Even bills with overwhelming bipartisan support sometimes fail to pass Appropriations, which has become known as a place good bills go to die. May 26, the final day for Appropriations to report a bill to the floor is rapidly approaching, which means there is a lot of nail biting going on right now in Sacramento.
Other looming deadlines include June 2, the date bills must pass their house of origin in order to be considered by the alternate house, June 15, the deadline for passage of a balanced budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, and Sept. 15, the day we finally adjourn for the year and the last day to approve all legislation. Bills that aren’t finalized this year may become two-year bills, which can be considered early next year.
Once we adjourn, Governor Brown will have a month to sign or veto all bills. In the end, the fate of legislation approved by the combined votes of 80 Assemblymembers and 40 Senators will depend on one man and his veto pen, Governor Jerry Brown.