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California State Assembly in Session. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

California’s Special Rules for Bills Amending Ballot Measures

The ballot measures that allow legislative amendments often specify a heightened vote threshold and waiting periods

By Chris Micheli, April 26, 2022 6:14 am

When ballot measures approved by the voters allow amendments to their provisions by the Legislature, there are specific rules that must be followed. Generally, the ballot measures that allow legislative amendments often specify a heightened vote threshold and even waiting periods before action can be taken on bills. In order to reflect these specified procedures, the rules of the California Legislature provide guidance to legislators, staff, and the general public.

For example, in the Joint Rules of the Senate and Assembly, there are procedures for bills proposing to amend four previously-enacted ballot measures, as set forth below:

Joint Rule 8.8 – Bills Amending Title 9 of the Government Code

A Member who is the first-named author of a bill that would amend, add, or repeal any provision of Title 9 (commencing with Section 81000) of the Government Code, upon introduction or amendment of the bill in either house, shall notify the Chief Clerk of the Assembly or the Secretary of the Senate, as the case may be, of the nature of the bill. Thereafter, the Chief Clerk of the Assembly or the Secretary of the Senate shall deliver a copy of the bill as introduced or amended to the Fair Political Practices Commission pursuant to Section 81012 of the Government Code.

Joint Rule 8.9 – Bills Amending the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act

A Member who is the first-named author of a bill that would amend, add, or repeal any statutory provision of the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act, other than the bond provisions thereof, upon introduction or amendment of the bill in either house, shall notify the Chief Clerk of the Assembly or the Secretary of the Senate, as the case may be, of the nature of the bill. At least 14 days prior to passage in the Assembly or Senate, respectively, the Chief Clerk of the Assembly or the Secretary of the Senate shall make copies of the bill as introduced or amended available in the Bill Room for access by the public and news media.

Joint Rule 8.95 – Bills Amending Section 6 of the Smaller Classes, Safer Schools and Financial Accountability Act

A Member who is the first-named author of a bill that would amend, add, or repeal Section 47614 of the Education Code, upon introduction or amendment of the bill in either house, shall notify the Chief Clerk of the Assembly or the Secretary of the Senate, as the case may be, of the nature of the bill. At least 14 days prior to passage in the Assembly or Senate, respectively, the Chief Clerk of the Assembly or the Secretary of the Senate shall make copies of the bill as introduced or amended available in the Bill Room for access by the public and news media.

Joint Rule – 8.96 – Bills Amending the Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Act

A Member who is the first-named author of a bill that would amend, add, or repeal any statutory provision of the Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Act (Chapter 10.5 (commencing with Section 7448) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code), upon introduction or amendment of the bill in either house, shall notify the Chief Clerk of the Assembly or the Secretary of the Senate, as the case may be, of the nature of the bill. At least 12 business days prior to passage in the Assembly or Senate, respectively, the Chief Clerk of the Assembly or the Secretary of the Senate shall print, publish on the internet, and distribute to the Members the bill in its final form.

In addition, there are several similar rules for bills considered in the State Assembly, as set forth below:

Assembly Rule 69.1 – Consideration of Political Reform Act Bills

Pursuant to Section 81012 of the Government Code, any bill that would amend the Political Reform Act of 1974 (Title 9 (commencing with Section 81000) of the Government Code) may not be passed until, 12 days prior to being considered for passage, the bill in its final form has been delivered by the Chief Clerk to the Fair Political Practices Commission for distribution to the news media and to every person who has requested the commission to send a copy of any such bill to the person.

Assembly Rule 69.2 – Consideration of Bills Amending the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act

Pursuant to Section 8 of the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act (Proposition 71 of the November 2, 2004, statewide general election), the following requirements apply to a bill that would amend the provisions of that act: (a) The bill may not be passed until, 14 days prior to the date of passage, copies of the bill in its final form are made available by the Chief Clerk to the public and the news media. (b) Passage of the bill requires the affirmative votes of 56 Members.

As a result of these provisions of the Joint Rules and the Assembly Rules, legislators who propose legislation to amend any of these four previously-approved voter initiatives need to keep these rules in mind and obviously comply with their provisions.

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