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

More Bills Pulled Due To Limited Summer Session

Legislature Focusing On COVID-19 Related Bills, Other Emergency Measures

By Evan Symon, July 31, 2020 5:57 pm

On Friday, several more bills in the Assembly and Senate were dropped for the January 2021 session due to an increasingly compressed schedule to finish out the current session by the end of August.

A shortened session, less time for a high number of bills

The session, which restarted Monday, has been compressed due the extended recess period due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the State Capitol Building, necessitating a few weeks of delay in July to sanitize the building for legislative return. Dozens of new bills have also been brought up since March, most pertaining to emergency COVID-19, economic, and law enforcement issues due to the respective pandemic, economic downturn, and the aftermath of the George Floyd incident and protests, adding even more strain to the already packed session.

Assemblyman Jim Wood. (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Assembly Bill 1387, authored by Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa), was among the several moved to next year on Friday. AB 1387, if passed, was to have streamlined the California Department of Fish and Wildlife fishing license program by making licenses good for 365 days rather than the current short term system. Many had argued that a better license would have helped bring the fishing industry, as well as other periphery businesses, out of economic decline. An increase of state revenue through longer-term licenses was also anticipated.

And while the bill is now currently out for the session, it will be one of many carry-over bills moved to next session expected to bring back revenue to state.

“I have every intention of reintroducing a 365-day fishing license bill next year that aims to introduce many more Californians to the great outdoors,” explained Assemblyman Wood on Friday. “I look forward to working with the California anglers and the recreational boating industry, and many others, to bring about meaningful reform and soon.”

Other bills it will be joining include the SB 1373 State Route 241 extension ban bill, which was moved to the next session on July 22nd, and several Assembly bills that fell into non-emergency areas earlier this week. Other legislative matters, such as an EDD audit hearing, were taken a step further and permanently ended.

Delays and a possible special session on the horizon

“There are always at least some bills every session that are moved to the next one,” State Capitol employee “Dana” told the Globe. “It’s usually because of bill language issues, or something big in November that they need to wait on, or a forced delay or something. But never as many as there are right now.”

“If you look at the docket, almost every bill has to do with something around current events. There’s a lot of coronavirus related stuff. People are worried about schools reopening, so there’s bills for that. People want police reform, so there’s bills for that. There’s been calls for racial justice and equality, and a lot of bills were added to that. People are worried about housing and jobs in the climate, as well as getting enough relief, so there’s bills for that.”

“There are some non-related bills in there, but largely this session is all about now and things that will be affecting California and its citizens in the near future.”

While Governor Gavin Newsom may call for a special session post-August to finish up the bills this semester, many non-emergency bills would likely not be heard as well. This is due in part to many controversial bills, such as the slavery reparation proposal bill AB 3121, being expected to produce much debate and delay over their respective issues. AB 3121 has already been moved to other committees despite the shortened session, showing the large divide over such controversial bills.

As most Committees in the Assembly and Senate will be limited to only one hearing in the current August timeframe, many more bills are expected to be delayed until next year due to time constraints.

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