The legislature recently returned from their spring recess, which always signals a sprint of sorts until they get to their summer recess which will run for the month of July this year.
This is a particularly hectic time of year as bills must get through their policy committees, before heading for a fiscal review and then to the floor for a hearing in their house of origin.
Budget negotiations will also escalate with the upcoming release of the Governor’s May revision. The most recent projection from the State’s Department of Finance last week was that the budget surplus could exceed $60 billion this year.
What brings a wrinkle to this year’s legislative process is that – many – legislators will be up for their primary election on June 7th right in between the deadline for bills to pass their house of origin the week before and for the budget to be passed the following week.
Of course, all legislators are running in new districts this year as a result of our decennial redistricting process leading to new maps.
As a result of this and impending term limit forcing many members to retire in the next couple of years, many members – particularly in the Assembly – have chosen to resign their seats in the middle of their term or not run for re-election in November. We are seeing an historic level of legislative retirements in the modern era.
We anticipate next year’s legislature will include at least 35 new members if not more. The impending policy deadlines and election day should make the next few months particularly interesting.
Adding to the action, is that we see new proposals released each and every day. One recent example is AB 1651, an incredibly dense bill related to privacy rights and Automated Decision Systems. This bill was introduced less than 2 days before it was set to be heard in the Assembly Labor Committee and the public was given less than 24 hours to provide feedback or take a position. Nevertheless, the committee passed the bill almost unanimously. We expect to see more of these maneuvers as the legislative year continues.