Typically, April is a busy month for policy advocates in the legislature, and particularly for CalChamber advocates since we cover almost all policy areas. We are facing deadlines for bills to be heard in policy committees and, as is the way of this world, all bills are heard in a small window of time. April 27 is the deadline for any bill that has a fiscal impact on the State’s budget to be heard in a policy committee and referred to the fiscal committee for review. May 11 is the last day for any bill that does not have a fiscal impact to be heard in policy committee. If they are not heard by these deadlines, then the bill is “dead” for this year. Very few bills are scheduled for hearings during February and March, which means agendas are packed in April and all the action is squeezed into a short timeframe. Keeps things interesting!
All members of our CalChamber policy team are running in and out of multiple committees, sometimes two or three committees at the same time. It’s a good thing we have friends so that when one of our bills is on deck, someone will let us know and we can run up or down stairs to the next hearing room, often just in time to provide testimony and run back to another hearing.
Being a lobbyist for CalChamber can be fast-paced and busy, but it is never dull. Every year is different, and brings new challenges and learning opportunities. Legislative priorities change from year to year, as well as the pace and environment in the Building (what we call the Capitol). In my wanderings in and out of legislators’ offices to chat about the bills, legislative staff, members and other lobbyists have made the following comments that sum up the mood in the Capitol in April:
“Hectic with meeting deadlines and prepping for committee!”
“We could use a little levity during this crazy season in this crazy place.”
“People need to laugh a little more during April…and August.”
“The mood? The mood is busy, fast-busy and people are dragging since they are on the go all the time.”
Moving approximately 3,000 bills through the policy committees and onto the floor of each legislative house within two months makes things crazy, fast-paced and a busy April.