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

What Happens to Bills Authored by a Former Member of the California Legislature?

What if that legislator still has active pieces of legislation pending in either or both houses of the Legislature?

By Chris Micheli, January 6, 2022 2:10 pm

On occasion, a Member of the California State Assembly or the State Senate resigns his or her elected office in order to take a new position either in or out of government. What if that legislator still has active pieces of legislation pending in either or both houses of the Legislature? Both the Assembly and Senate have dealt with this issue before and so each has adopted a rule governing the topic.

Assembly Rule 47.1 is titled “Bills Authored by a Former Member.” It reads as follows: “Whenever the author of a bill in the Assembly is no longer a Member of the Legislature, upon a request of a committee or current Member of the house in which the bill was introduced, the Assembly Committee on Rules may authorize that committee or Member to be the author of that bill. Absent that authorization, an action may not be taken by a committee or the Assembly with respect to a bill authored by a former Member.”

Senate Rule 26 is also titled “Bills Authored by a Former Member.” In reads as follows: “Whenever a bill in the Senate is authored by an individual who is no longer a Member of the Legislature, upon a request of a committee or current Member of the house in which the bill was introduced, the Senate Committee on Rules may authorize that committee or Member to be the author of that bill. Absent that authorization, action may not be taken by a committee or the Senate with respect to a bill authored by a former Member.

As a result, for an Assembly Bill, another Assembly Member or Assembly committee must get authorization from the Assembly Rules Committee to take over the former Member’s bill. Otherwise, the former Member’s bill will not move forward in the legislative process. Likewise, for a Senate bill, another Senator or Senate committee must get authorization from the Senate Rules Committee to take over the former Senator’s bill.

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