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

Looking Towards Suspense File Voting

Over 1,100 bills have been re-referred to the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committee Suspense Files

By Chris Micheli, May 11, 2023 6:27 am

Of the 2,661 bills introduced during the 2023 California Legislative Session, there are 1,770 Assembly Bills and 891 Senate Bills. Of those, just over 74% are keyed “fiscal” by the Office of Legislative Counsel. This means that if all of those nearly 2,000 bills passed one or more policy committees, they would be rereferred to the Senate or Assembly Appropriations Committee for a hearing. Naturally, not all of those measures passed out of their respective policy committees this year.

In addition, after a bill reaches the fiscal committee:

  • an author could choose not to set a bill for hearing;
  • the committee could choose not to hear the bill;
  • a bill could be passed out of either committee with a Do Pass or Do Pass as Amended vote (prior to Suspense File because of little state cost);
  • a bill could be passed out on the consent calendar;
  • the Senate fiscal committee under Senate Rule 28.8 could move a bill to the Senate Floor when there are negligible state fiscal costs; or
  • the bill could be placed on the Suspense File.

As of May 11, a week prior to the Legislature’s fiscal deadline of May 19, a total of about 1,635 bills have been re-referred to the respective houses’ fiscal committees – about 575 Senate Bills and about 1,060 Assembly Bills. Of those, there are close to 700 ABs on the Assembly Appropriations Committee Suspense File and there are about 400 SBs on the Senate Appropriations Committee Suspense File.

As a result, on Thursday, May 18, these two fiscal committees will vote on all of those measures. In order to determine the fate of just over 1,100 bills, the committee members will take one of these actions:

  • Do Pass;
  • Do Pass as Amended; or
  • Hold in committee.

If history is a guide, about 25% of the bills will be held on the suspense files.

Once the two Appropriations Committees take their actions, bills will head to the Assembly and Senate Floors for action before the house of origin deadline, which is Friday, June 2.

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