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It’s a Sprint to the Finish

By Melanie Cuevas, VP, Government Relations

With about one month until the final legislative deadline, the finish line to this year’s California legislative session is in sight. What will this remaining month hold?

To know where you’re going, it’s essential to know where you’ve been. This legislative year commenced on January 4, 2023, when the legislature officially convened. Up until this point, we’ve passed a bevy of legislative deadlines, including:

  • The January 20 bill request deadline, when policy ideas must be drafted by the legislative council into official bill format;
  • The February 17 bill introduction deadline, when measures must be introduced by an Assembly Member or Senator and a bill number is assigned;
  • And the June 2 house of origin deadline, when the Senate must finish all business on Senate bills and the Assembly must finish all business on Assembly bills.

The legislature recently returned from its summer recess, a time when committee hearings and voting in Sacramento take a brief pause so that elected officials may reconnect with constituents in their districts or even take family vacation time. Official legislative work in the Capitol resumed on August 14 with a five-week sprint to the end of the session on September 14. The Governor will have until mid-October to decide the fate – sign, veto, or let pass without signature – the measures that are sent to him by the legislature. This year alone the Governor will likely review anywhere from 1,000 to 2,500 measures.

When the legislature reconvened on August 14, measures that have a fiscal impact on the state – like SB 253 (Wiener) – were heard by an Appropriations Committee so that elected officials could assess not only the policy but the monetary cost of the proposal. This is a measure that mandates reporting of greenhouse gas emissions by the business community to the California Air Resources Board. That state agency must aggregate, organize, make public, and report on the data that it receives, which, according to the Department of Finance, will likely cost millions of dollars annually from the state’s General Fund.

Measures that have little to no fiscal impact on the state – like AB 1414 (Kalra) – will bypass the Appropriations Committee step and instead go immediately to the Senate or Assembly Floor for a vote by the entire body. This is a measure that eliminates the use of a common count claim, forcing lenders, collectors, and debt buyers to instead sue on breach of contract, producing the original contract in addition to “records of all debits and credits forming each and every transaction used to determine the amount alleged to be due.”

Inactive measures, or measures that have been set aside earlier in the deadline process – like SB 278 (Dodd) – likely will not move for the remainder of the legislative year. It is important to note, however, that California conducts legislative business in two-year sessions. Because we are in the first year of a two-year session, measures like SB 278 will be eligible to be heard again as early as January 2024 when the Legislature reconvenes to begin the bill-making process all over again.

In November, CBA will host the Annual Legislative Forum to discuss the legislative session and plan for the 2024 legislation session.