Buckle Up Folks: It’s Gonna Be a Bumpy Ride

It’s off to the races as last week the California Legislature released its 2021 Tentative Schedule. In some respects, it’s business as usual. The Legislature is set to convene on January 4, with the Governor’s Budget submission by January 10 (a Constitutional Deadline).

Other major legislative deadlines include the following:

  • January 22: Last day to submit bill requests to the Office of Legislative Counsel.
  • February 19: Last day for bills to be introduced.
  • March 25-April 5: Spring Recess.
  • May 14: Last day for policy committees until after house of origin deadline.
  • May 21: Last day for fiscal committees until after house of origin deadline.
  • June 4: House of origin deadline (last day for each house to pass bills introduced in that house).
  • June 15: Budget bill deadline (another constitutional deadline).

In many other respects, the process, procedures, and timing of the California Legislature is changing on a daily basis, causing advocates and the public to be on constant alert to be able to represent their interests before their elected officials. Some questions legislators will have to grapple with as they make their way back to Sacramento:

  • Will legislators continue to participate in legislative committees remotely?
  • How will committees be conducted? Will telephonic testimony be allowed, or will the Legislature require witnesses to come to the building or a remote location in person?
  • Will the Legislature recess again if COVID-19 numbers rise?
  • Will bills be focused on COVID-19, homelessness, and wildfires, or is everything fair game?
  • Will bill numbers be limited, or should we expect more and more evening and weekend marathon committee hearings?
  • How will the different house and caucus leadership be involved in the day to day details of the Governor’s COVID-19 response efforts?

As legislators chart a course for 2021, there will be huge challenges brought by COVID-19 and the need to get California’s economy back on track.  Stay tuned…

Leah Silverthorn, Policy Advocate