California Lawmakers Forced to Kill 300 Bills in One Day, Some Climate Bills, in Budget Dilemma

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Approximately 300 bills failed to pass California’s Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees on May 18, with lawmakers potentially eyeing the state’s $31.5 billion deficit in failing to advance the legislation, following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May budget revision announced a week before.

The bills were part of what is known as a suspense hearing, with the Senate referring any proposals with a minimum $50,000 effect to the committee, while the Assembly committee considers those exceeding $150,000. Those that survive are reviewed by the other house’s appropriations committee before being sent to the floor for final consideration.

When Assembly Bill 335 targeting retail theft failed to pass, author Assemblyman Juan Alanis (R-Modesto) expressed his disappointment with the decision.

“Instead of doing the right thing, the appropriations committee turned their back on a bipartisan proposal that was negotiated in good faith, which earned bipartisan support when it passed unanimously from the Public Safety Committee, and instead they shamelessly kicked the can down the road once more,” Alanis said in a press release. “The inaction today by the appropriations committee isn’t just shameful, it’s harmful to all of California.”

Alanis questioned the rationale behind the decision to kill the legislation.

“There is absolutely no fiscal or non-political argument the appropriations committee could make as to why [the retail theft] bill should not have been sent to the floor for a full vote,” Alanis said. “Californians, and our retail businesses, deserve to know the real data behind retail theft.”

More than 1,100 bills were considered in the fast-paced sessions, with many decisions made prior to the hearing. The few that required roll call votes were often split by party line, and the Democratic party’s supermajority voted in unison in most instances, allowing contested bills to proceed.

Nearly 900 bills were passed by the committees, with the Senate approving 71 percent of those considered and the Assembly approximately 78 percent.

During a press conference announcing the May budget revision, Newsom advised caution when passing bills.

By Travis Gillmore

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