On January 4, 80 Assemblymembers and 40 Senators returned to Sacramento for the 2023-2024 legislative session. 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 20, and February 17 is the final bill introduction deadline. Bills will be referred to their respective committees for hearings in March or April, where many will be amended significantly. Legislative deadlines throughout the year must be met -- bills that don’t meet 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 Committees’ “Suspense Files,” where bills with significant fiscal impacts receive more scrutiny before a final floor vote.
All bills must pass through their assigned committees and house of origin by June 2; final passage by both houses is required by the time we adjourn on September 14. 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 14 to sign or veto legislation submitted to him by the Legislature.
This session we have 24 new Assemblymembers and 10 new Senators. Even though the partisan makeup in Sacramento is lopsided, with 62 Democrats and 18 Republicans in the Assembly, and 32 Democrats and 8 Republicans in the Senate, bipartisan legislation is common. There is always potential for solid bipartisan work on important legislation. The major problems facing our state, including homelessness, public safety, wildfire prevention, inadequate water storage capacity, economic revitalization and many more, impact everyone, regardless of party.