Home>Articles>A Closer Look at Appropriations Bills in the California Legislature

Committee Room. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

A Closer Look at Appropriations Bills in the California Legislature

There are four places in an appropriations bill that have applicable language related to making the appropriation

By Chris Micheli, October 17, 2022 3:05 pm

In California, the main appropriations measure is the annual state budget bill. Article IV, Section 12(d) of the state Constitution provides that the budget bill is the main measure that may contain more than one item of appropriation. In addition, there are individual appropriations that can be and are made in non-budget bills.

Component Parts of an Appropriations Bill

There are four component parts of an appropriations bill. The first is the amount appropriated, which is an exact sum of money. The second is the source of the money, either the state’s General Fund or one of the myriad special funds. The third is the entity that is receiving the money. The fourth is the purpose for which the money will be spent.

Provisions of an Appropriations Bill

There are four places in an appropriations bill that have applicable language related to making the appropriation. The first is in the Title of the bill. The second is in the Legislative Counsel’s Digest. The third is in the Digest Keys. The fourth is found after an Action Line, usually near the end of the bill.

So, in terms of what a reader will see in a California Assembly Bill or Senate Bill that contains an appropriation, the reader will find the following:

Bill Title

At the end of the bill’s Title, and after the Relating Clause, a reader will see the following language:

and making an appropriation therefor.

Legislative Counsel’s Digest

In the Legislative Counsel’s Digest, a reader will see language similar to the following:

This bill would appropriate $__ from the General Fund to __ for the purpose of ___.

Digest Keys

Because such a bill obviously makes an appropriation, the Digest Key titled “appropriation” will be marked “yes.” In terms of the required vote, it depends whether the appropriation is from the General Fund (in which case a 2/3 vote is generally required) or a Special Fund (in which case a majority vote is required). And, an appropriation bill will always have the “fiscal committee” marked as “yes.” As a result, in the Digest Keys, a reader will see the following keys:

Vote: 2/3 or majority Appropriation: yes Fiscal committee: yes

Bill Text

Finally, in the actual text of the bill, a reader will see language such as the following example:

The sum of $10 million is hereby appropriated from the General Fund to the Regional Veterans Fund for the purpose of funding veteran services in specified counties.

Vote Requirements for an Appropriations Bills

As a general rule, appropriations from the General Fund of the State must be passed by a 2/3 majority vote of both houses of the Legislature. However, there are exceptions for appropriations made for the public schools and appropriations contained in the budget bill, the budget bill junior, and trailer bills that make appropriations related to the budget bill. These measures only require a simple majority vote for passage.

Appropriation bills are an important part of legislation considered by the California Legislature and these bills have to contain certain information as outlined above.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Spread the news:

 RELATED ARTICLES

One thought on “A Closer Look at Appropriations Bills in the California Legislature

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.