With the final days of Session upon us, there is some confusion about several procedural items that regularly occur on the Floors of the California Legislature. These items include “reconsideration” of bills, as well as placing measures “on call.”
How many times can a bill be reconsidered?
Regarding the reconsideration of bills, the same rule applies whether a bill is in committee or on the floor of the Assembly or Senate. Only one reconsideration is in order. The first time a bill fails, it can be granted reconsideration. However, if it fails a second time, that is it. There is not a second reconsideration and the bill has failed passage.
So, either in committee or on the floor, a bill can be reconsidered once. However, if the bill has been reconsidered and then amended, and the amended version fails passage, that amended version could be reconsidered because the amended version of the bill is considered a new question for purposes of reconsideration. See, for example, Assembly Rule 100(d).
How many times can a bill be placed on call?
There is no rule on this. In other words, the Joint Rules, Senate Rules, and Assembly Rules do not cover the number of times a bill can be placed “on call” whether it is in committee or on the floor. It is also not in Mason’s Manual. However, even though there is not a rule regarding the number of times a bill can be placed “on call,” a majority vote on the floor or in committee will dictate the outcome.
In other words, the “custom and practice” of the house is used. Neither house has a formal custom or practice that sets forth a maximum number of times a measure can be placed “on call.” Again, the rules of the two houses state that “the call is continued by a majority vote of the Members present.” See, for example, Assembly Rule 101.
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