Several times per year, Assembly and Senate committees will hold a “joint hearing.” Even though there are 32 Assembly standing committees and 22 Senate standing committees, many have the same or similar jurisdictions. And, on occasion, they hold hearings, which are usually informational hearings, but they can also be held to consider legislation.
These types of meetings are permitted under the Joint Rules of the Senate and Assembly. Joint Rule 3, titled “Joint Meeting of Committees,” provides as follows:
3. Whenever any bill has been referred by the Senate to one of its committees, and the same or a like bill has been referred by the Assembly to one of its committees, the chairpersons of the respective committees, when in their judgment the interests of legislation or the expedition of business will be better served thereby, may arrange for a joint meeting of their committees for the consideration of the bill.
Joint hearings are not often held on the same or a like bill by the Senate and Assembly. This is due to the fact that the process is not often used in the California Legislature, as opposed to the United States Congress, because the same or like bills are not usually introduced in both houses in the same legislative session.
Nonetheless, joint Assembly and Senate hearings are held more often for oversight or informational hearing purposes instead.
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