All through my presidency at the Engineering Contractors Association, I have tried to find positive things to report to you in this monthly message. Some months are better than others.

But this day, as I write, I am positive is a good day—the California Legislature 2019-2020 went into “final recess” August 31. That doesn’t mean they can’t be called back into a “special session” by the Governor, usually because some catastrophe has befallen our state, but I dread to think about what would be that catastrophic after the year we have all gone through. 

The Covid-19 outbreak had its effect on the legislature which shut down for nearly two months in the middle of the session. As a consequence, legislative leadership spent a great deal of their time deciding which bills would be let through the committee system. You can expect several of the measures that were throttled will be reintroduced in the next full session.


What’s Coming Next

While we are waiting, there are a few dates to keep in mind regarding the Sacramento legislative circus. 

Other essential actions are occurring during “final recess” 2020:

  • September 30—Last day for Governor to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature before September 1 and in the Governor’s possession on or after September 1 (Art. IV, Sec. 10(b)(2)). 
  • November 3—General Election
  • November 30—Adjournment Sine Die (Latin for “That’s All Folks!”) at midnight (Art. IV, Sec. 3(a)). 
  • December 7, 12 noon, Convening of 2021-22 Regular Session (Art. IV, Sec. 3(a)).
  • January 1—Statutes (new laws) take effect (Art. IV, Sec. 8(c)). 
  • January 4—Legislature reconvenes (JR 51(a)(1)), and the merry-go-round starts up all again. Our newly-elected legislative leaders and propose at least 2,000+ new laws, and 800 to 1,000 will end up on the Governor’s desk. 


A Day of Remembrance 

In any event, we enjoyed a happy day August 31. Well, the legislature didn’t adjourn until 1:30 a.m. on September first, but let us not be pedantic.

Instead, let us remember that glorious phrase: 

“No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.”

Most people try to credit Mark Twain for the witticism, but, in fact, it came from the pen of Gideon John Tucker (February 10, 1826 – July 1899) an American lawyer, newspaper editor and politician. In 1866, as Surrogate (rather like a probate judge here) of New York County, he wrote the line in a decision of a trial involving a complex will.

See you in Sacramento next year.

By Brendan Slagle, ECA President Email: [email protected]