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

What Are Two-Year Bills?

The California Legislature convenes in two-year sessions and bills are introduced in both of those years

By Chris Micheli, December 9, 2021 7:14 am

The California Legislature convenes in two-year sessions and bills are introduced in both of those two years. Under the state Constitution, bills introduced in the first year of Session (the odd-numbered year) can be carried over to the second year of the Session (the even-numbered year).

Article IV, Section 10(c) provides as follows: “Any bill introduced during the first year of the biennium of the legislative session that has not been passed by the house of origin by January 31 of the second calendar year of the biennium may no longer be acted on by the house.” As a result, any 2-year bill, even those that contain an urgency clause or are deemed to be a tax levy, must pass their house of origin by January 31 of the second year.

For the 2021-22 Legislative Session, this obviously means that any 2-year bill must pass its house of origin by January 31, 2022. This deadline applies to all bills and all resolutions, but it does not apply to constitutional amendments.

Bills introduced in the first year that have already passed over to the second house are not subject to the January 31 deadline for further movement because those bills already passed their house of origin by the constitutional deadline. That means that an Assembly Bill in a Senate policy committee from the 2021 Session will usually wait to be heard in that committee until June when the rest of the 2022 Session Assembly Bills make it over to Senate policy committees. In a similar manner, an Assembly Bill in the Senate Appropriations Committee from the 2021 Session does not have to clear the fiscal committee until the August deadline for all of the bills pending in that committee.

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