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What Is a Special Order of Business in the CA Legislature?

A request for a Special Order of Business may be made during a Floor Session

By Chris Micheli, September 16, 2022 6:48 am

Almost always used in committee, a special order of business is used when a bill or similarly related bills are set to be heard at a specified time and specified order (for multiple bills) at the hearing. The Office of Legislative Counsel defines “special order of business” as when, occasionally, a bill is of such importance that advanced notice is given about when it will be considered in the full Assembly, Senate, or committee.

A request for a Special Order of Business may be made during a Floor Session by requesting unanimous consent to set the bill as a special order on a specific date and time. When a bill will be heard as a Special Order of Business in committee, it is noticed in the Assembly Daily File or the Senate Daily File.

This notice also allows the public and other legislators to know when to expect a particular bill or set of measures will be considered and can plan accordingly. It could allow individuals to prepare for the measure’s hearing or consideration. It can also relieve a hearing room, for example, of overcrowding when interested persons are not forced to wait for a particular measure’s hearing because they know the measure will be heard at the time certain.

Senate Rule 30, “Special Order,” provides: “Any measure or subject may, by vote of a majority of those voting, be made a special order and, when the time fixed for its consideration arrives, the Presiding Officer shall lay it before the Senate.”

Assembly Rule 88. “Motion to Set Special Order,” provides: “A motion to set any matter before the Assembly as a special order of business is adopted by an affirmative recorded vote of 54 lor more Members. The motion is debatable only as to the propriety of setting the main question as a special order of business, and may be amended only as to the time.”

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