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

When Does the 12-Day Period Begin for Possible Gubernatorial Action?

Once the Governor receives the bill, then the clock begins running

By Chris Micheli, August 13, 2022 7:12 am

When a bill is passed by the Legislature and sent to the Governor, there are three actions that can occur: (1) sign the bill into law; (2) veto the bill; or (3) allow the bill to become law without a signature (“pocket signature”). The options available to the Governor can be found in Section 10 of Article IV of the California Constitution.

Section 10(a) provides in part: “Each bill passed by the Legislature shall be presented to the Governor. It becomes a statute if it is signed by the Governor.” In general, the Governor has 12 days in which to act on a bill sent to him or her from the Legislature. That 12-day period begins once the bill has been “presented” to the Governor.

The 12-day period does not begin on the day that the bill passed the Senate or Assembly. Nor does the 12-day period begin when the bill is ordered to engrossing and enrolling. So, if a reader reviews the latest bill actions and sees the information in the chart below, the 12-day period has NOT begun because, while the bill passed, it is headed to engrossing and enrolling, but the bill has not been sent to the Governor yet.

Last 5 History Actions
Date Action
08/11/22 In Senate. Ordered to engrossing and enrolling.
08/11/22 Read third time. Passed. Ordered to the Senate.

The 12-day “signing” period is applicable to all bills that are presented to the Governor twelve or more days prior to the date the Legislature adjourns for a joint recess in the first year of the two-year session, and on or before August 20th of the second year of the Session.

Section 10(b)(2) provides: “Any bill passed by the Legislature before September 1 of the second calendar year of the biennium of the legislative session and in the possession of the Governor on or after September 1 that is not returned on or before September 30 of that year becomes a statute.”

The recess date (which is August 31) in the second year of the 2-year Session is fixed by the State Constitution. Bills that are passed before September 1 in the second year of the Session and which are in the Governor’s possession on or after September 1 must be signed or vetoed by September 30th of that year or they become a statute without his or her signature.

The 12-day period begins when the bill has been delivered to the Governor, not when the Legislature passes the bill. After passage by the Legislature, a bill must still go through the engrossing and enrolling processes before the bill is actually sent to the Governor. Once the Governor receives the bill (i.e., it has been delivered), then the clock begins running.

So, if a reader reviews the latest bill actions and sees the information in the chart below, the 12-day period has begun because the bill was “presented to the Governor” on that date, which is before August 20.

Last 5 History Actions
Date Action
08/10/22 Enrolled and presented to the Governor at 2 p.m.
08/01/22 Assembly amendments concurred in. (Ayes 21. Noes 11.) Ordered to engrossing and enrolling.
06/30/22 In Senate. Concurrence in Assembly amendments pending.

Remember to check either the “History” or “Status” of a bill at the Legislative Counsel’s website found at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/ in order to properly determine when a bill’s 12-day clock has begun.

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4 thoughts on “When Does the 12-Day Period Begin for Possible Gubernatorial Action?

  1. Please consider contacting Gov Newsom’s office (call or write, using the “comment box”) to strongly urge a VETO of SB 57, the so-called “Controlled Subtances: Overdose Prevention Program,” (also known as the “California Urban Injection Sites that Enable Heroin and Meth Addicts Who Will Stumble Out Onto the Street and Likely Overdose Anyway Program”):
    https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/
    According to Chris Micheli’s helpful article, it looks like Gov Newsom has until Aug 22 to sign or veto this bill, because the bill was “enrolled and presented to the Governor at 2 p.m. on 8/10/22.”

    1. Also hope those of you on social media will share the Gov contact link and information!
      And keep the Gov contact handy —- if the worst of the worst from this past year’s legislative session are passed we need to contact the Gov in big numbers to urge a VETO. Because Newsom has presidential ambitions the blowback might very well have an effect on the controversial high-profile ones.

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