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California State Senate. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Can the Legislature Be Recalled from Recess?

One way is for the Governor to call a special session

By Chris Micheli, October 8, 2022 8:37 am

With talk of a possible special session beginning on December 5, 2022 when the California Legislature convenes its 2023-24 Regular Session, another question that has been posed is whether the Legislature can be recalled from its current joint recess?

The answer is yes. Pursuant to Joint Rule 52, the Legislature could return to the State Capitol and reconvene its current 2021-22 Regular Session, which does not adjourn sine die until November 30. Joint Rule (JR) 52 concerns “recall from recess” and it established three methods for recalling the Legislature from its recess. The fourth way, of course, is for the Governor to call a special session, which would require the Legislature to be recalled from its current recess.

JR 52 provides that the Legislature may be recalled from joint recess and reconvene in regular session by any of three specified means. The first is by joint proclamation.

A joint proclamation is issued by the Senate President pro Tempore and the Assembly Speaker, and that joint proclamation must be entered in the Senate Daily Journal and the Assembly Daily Journal. The proclamation would specify when the Legislature is to reconvene and for what purpose the two houses are doing so.

The second method is when ten (10) or more Members of the Legislature present a request for recall from joint recess. The request is presented to the Assembly Chief Clerk and the Senate Secretary. Thereafter, the request is “immediately” printed in the Assembly Daily Journal and the Senate Daily Journal. Within ten days of the request being printed, the Assembly Speaker and Senate President pro Tempore are required to act upon the request.

If the two legislative leaders agree to recall the Legislature from joint recess, then the two legislative leaders must issue a joint proclamation and enter it in the Assembly Daily Journal and Senate Daily Journal no later than 20 days after publication of the original request.

The third, and final, method is when either or both of the two legislative leaders do not agree to recall the Legislature from joint recess. In that case, ten or more Members of the Legislature may request the Assembly Chief Clerk and the Senate Secretary to petition the Members of their respective houses.

That petition is required to be entered in the Assembly Daily Journal and Senate Daily Journal and the petition must contain a specified reconvening date commencing no later than 20 days after the date of the petition. If two-thirds of the Members of each of the two houses concur, then the Legislature is required to reconvene on the date specified. The necessary concurrences must be received at least 10 days prior to the date specified in the petition for reconvening.

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