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Are Companion Bills Used in the California Legislature?

A ‘companion bill’ is an identical bill introduced in the other House

By Chris Micheli, September 17, 2022 4:36 pm

In the United States Congress, a common approach to take is to have two identical measures, one in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate, introduced and run at the same time. These two measures are referred to as “companion bills.”

According to the Office of Legislative Counsel, a “companion bill” is an identical bill introduced in the other House. This procedure is less common in the California Legislature than in Congress. This is an important distinction. While common at the federal level, companion bills are rarely used in the California Legislature.

At the federal level, companion bills or measures contain identical or similar language to another bill introduced in both chambers. House and Senate members who share a similar desire to enact legislation may coordinate efforts to introduced companion measures in order to ensure there is consideration of the measures at similar times. This is usually done in an effort to increase the chance of passage.

One of the more recent exceptions to that rule was during the 2019-20 Legislative Session, there were AB 1080 (Gonzalez) and SB 54 (Allen), related to recycling, that were companion bills.

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