On January 11th, 80 Assemblymembers and 40 Senators will return to Sacramento for the new 2021-2022 legislative session, which convened Dec 7th. Hundreds of bills will be introduced over the coming weeks. Most won’t be controversial, and many will probably never become law.
Most bills must be submitted to the Office of Legislative Counsel by January 22, and February 19 is the final bill introduction deadline for this year. Bills will be referred to their respective committees for hearings in March or April, and many will be amended significantly. Legislative deadlines throughout the year must be met, and bills that don’t pass these deadlines can be held over as two year bills. Legislation with a fiscal impact greater than $50,000 for Senate bills or $150,000 for Assembly bills will be referred to the Senate or Assembly Appropriations Committee’s “Suspense Files, where bills with significant fiscal impacts receive greater scrutiny before heading to the floor for a final vote.
All bills must pass through their assigned committees and house of origin by June 4; final passage by both houses is required by the time we adjourn September 10th. This final floor vote is often the only time members not assigned to a bill’s specific committees actually see the bill. The Governor will then have until October 10 to sign or veto legislation submitted to him by the Legislature. Bills that fail to pass may be held for reconsideration in 2022.
Even though the partisan makeup in Sacramento is lopsided, with 60 Democrats, 19 Republicans and 1 independent in the Assembly, and 31 Democrats and 9 Republicans in the Senate there is potential for solid bipartisan work on impactful legislation. The major problems facing our state, like EDD reform, wildfire prevention, economic revitalization and many more, impact everyone, regardless of party.