December is mostly a peaceful month, the hubbub around Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanza notwithstanding. For citizens of California, December is particularly peaceful because the General Assembly and the State Senate are not in session.
There are a couple of needless grandstanding committee hearings this month (Select Committee On Sea Level Rise And The California Economy and Joint Hearing Assembly And Senate Select Committees On 2020 United States Census), but all is quiet under the Capitol dome.
The problem, of course, is January. Since 2020 is the second year of this legislative session, there will be a lot more action early. To make our case, here are the highlights of the legislative calendar just for next month:
Jan. 1 Non-emergency Statutes passed last year take effect.
Jan. 6 Legislature reconvenes.
Jan. 10 Budget must be submitted by Governor.
Jan. 17 Last day for policy committees to hear and report to fiscal committees fiscal bills introduced in their house in the odd-numbered year.
Jan. 24 The last day for any committee to hear and report to the floor bills introduced in that house in the oddnumbered year. Last day to submit bill requests to the Office of Legislative Counsel.
Jan. 31 Last day for each house to pass bills introduced in that house in the odd-numbered year.
Expect More Action in Sacramento
2020 is an election year (March 3 Super Tuesday primary, November 3 general) for all the General Assembly and a half of the State Senate, so there will be an extra effort for incumbents to get their names on legislation this year. California’s legislature averages between 2,000-to-3,000 proposed laws every year, and more than 1,000 usually pass.
That said, nobody knows how many carry-over bills will spill into the hopper by January 17 or how many new pieces of legislation will be introduced by February 21, 2020, the deadline for new proposals. Other key dates include June 15 for budget approval and August 31 for the final day of the session. We do know that the Democrats still control the legislature with “supermajorities (+2/3rd)” in both houses and thus have control of all committees, so only a few token bills from Republicans will see the light of day.
ECA is very non-partisan when it comes to the distribution of our Political Action Committee funds to state and local candidates. We care a great deal more about a candidate’s position on issues of the heavy civil construction industry than under what banner they sit.
By Dave Sorem, P.E. ECA Government Affairs Chairman email: [email protected]