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

Rule Waivers Heard on the California Assembly Floor

In both houses of the California Legislature, legislators can vote to suspend rules governing their procedures

By Chris Micheli, April 23, 2022 6:32 am

In both houses of the California Legislature, legislators can vote to suspend rules governing their procedures. Those watching State Assembly Floor Sessions may hear the Majority Floor Leader rise and seek unanimous consent to suspend particular Assembly Rules (AR). AR 7 describes the process of “suspension of rules” and provides that any of the standing rules of the Assembly may be “suspended temporarily by a vote of a majority of the Members of the Assembly.” Also, a “temporary suspension applies only to the matter under immediate consideration, and in no case may it extend beyond an adjournment.”

The following are some of the more common Assembly Rules that the public may hear being suspended on the Assembly Floor:

Assembly Rule 45.5

AR 45.5 provides: “Presentation of Guests or Memorials in the Assembly. 45.5. These rules do not prohibit the Speaker or Speaker pro Tempore from permitting the introduction of a special guest or guests. A request that a session of the Assembly adjourn in memory of a person shall be made in writing. The request shall be read by the presiding officer immediately prior to adjournment.”

A suspension of this rule is usually requested in order to allow a guest in the Assembly Gallery to be introduced to the body, or to speak on an adjournment in memory of a deceased individual.

Assembly Rule 56

AR 56 provides: “Meetings of Standing Committees and Subcommittees. 56. All standing committees and subcommittees shall meet at the hour and place provided by the schedule established by the Speaker, unless permission for a different hearing time is granted by the Speaker. A committee or subcommittee may not meet during any session of the Assembly, nor may any Member of the Assembly attend a conference committee meeting on any bill during any session of the Assembly without first obtaining permission from the Assembly. The Speaker may grant permission for a committee to meet for the purpose of holding an informational hearing, or to hear and report resolutions, at times when no committee may meet for any purpose.

A suspension of this rule is usually requested in order to allow a policy committee of the Assembly to meet at a different day or time than the committee normally meets.

Assembly Rule 96

AR 96 provides: “Motion to Withdraw or Re-refer Bills. 96. (a) A motion to withdraw a bill or resolution from committee, or to re-refer a bill or resolution from one committee to another committee, may be made during the regular order of business. A motion to re-refer may be debated only as to the propriety of the reference, and shall require an affirmative recorded vote of 41 or more Members.

“(b) A bill or resolution may not be withdrawn from committee and placed upon the file, unless a motion to withdraw has been heard by, and has been approved by a majority vote of, the Committee on Rules. This subdivision does not apply to a bill in a fiscal committee that has been amended so as not to require its reference to a fiscal committee, as indicated by the Legislative Counsel’s Digest.”

A suspension of this rule is usually requested in order to withdraw a bill from one policy committee and re-refer that bill to another committee.

Assembly Rule 118

AR 118 provides: “Persons Admitted to Floor of the Assembly. 118. (a) A person other than Members of the Legislature, officers, employees of the Legislature, accredited members of the press, and guests may not be admitted to the floor of the Assembly during any session of the Assembly. A guest of any Member may be admitted only upon presentation of a guest card of the Member countersigned by the Speaker. A guest card is valid only on the legislative day for which it is issued.

“(b) A lobbyist, as defined by Section 82039 of the Government Code, may not, under any circumstances, be admitted to the Assembly Chamber while the Assembly is in session.”

A suspension of this rule is usually requested in order to allow a guest (most often a family member) to be on the Floor of the Assembly, often to sit with the legislator at his or her desk.

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