Home>Articles>Key Provisions of the Legislature’s Internal Rules – The Assembly Rules – Part III
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California State Assembly. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Key Provisions of the Legislature’s Internal Rules – The Assembly Rules – Part III

Any Member may amend a bill during its second or third reading

By Chris Micheli, April 3, 2020 6:30 am

This is Part lll of Key Provisions of the Legislature’s Internal Rules – The Assembly Rules. Part l is here. Part ll is here.

All constitutional amendments are referred to the policy committee having jurisdiction of that subject matter and, if the measure passes, then it is re-referred to the committee having constitutional amendments within its jurisdiction. (Rule 62.5)

An Assembly Daily File must be printed for each legislative day and the order of business is provided. All bills are to be called for consideration and all scheduled committee hearings along with their list of bills to be heard must be published in the Daily File. (Rule 63)

A bill may not considered or acted upon on the Floor until a copy of the bill has been distributed to each Members’ desk in hard copy or electronically. (Rule 64)

All bills must be read by title the second time in the order of their appearance on the second reading file. Bills reported out of committee must be placed on the second reading file for the next legislative day. This rule applies to bills and constitutional amendments, but not resolutions. (Rule 66)

Until the Budget Bill is enacted, the Assembly cannot send the Governor any bill appropriating funds for expenditures during the Budget Bill’s fiscal year, except emergency bills recommended by the Governor, or for appropriations for legislative salaries and expenses. (Rule 66.6)

Committee amendments are considered upon second reading and the amendments are adopted by majority vote of the Assembly Members present and voting. Assembly and Senate bills amended on second reading are reprinted and returned to the second reading file. Committee amendments must be prepared by Legislative Counsel, with five copies of the amendments delivered to the Chief Clerk. Revising a bill to only add coauthors is not considered an amendment to a bill. Any Member can be added or removed as a coauthor by written request. (Rule 67)

Upon request of a bill author, the committee chair can have the bill amended, reprinted and re-referred to his or her committee. With such amendments, the bill is not placed on the second reading file. (Rule 68)

If a proposed bill amendment on the floor is submitted, the Rules Committee chair may re-refer the bill and amendments to the Rules Committee, upon request of the bill’s author. (Rule 68.1)

A vote on passage of any bill in a committee can only be taken when the bill is in print. The only exception is to add coauthors or if the committee determines the effect can be readily understood.  (Rule 68.5)

A bill or resolution cannot be considered on third reading until an analysis of the measure has been distributed by the Floor Analysis Unit and placed on the Members’ desks, unless otherwise ordered by the Speaker. (Rule 68.6)

A report of a conference committee on any bill other than the Budget Bill that recommends a substantive amendment cannot be considered until an analysis has been distributed by the Floor Analysis Unit and placed on the Members’ desks, unless otherwise ordered by the Speaker. (Rule 68.7)

A conference report may not be heard by the Assembly until it has been in print for 72 hours prior to being taken up by the Assembly. (Rule 68.8)

A conference committee on a bill, other than the Budget Bill or the trailer bills, may not approve any substantial policy change if that substantial policy change has been defeated in a policy committee of the Assembly during the current legislative session. (Rule 68.9)

Any Member may amend a bill during its second or third reading, which motion is approved by a majority of those Members who are present and voting. Amendments offered from the floor are not in order until a copy of the proposed amendments have been placed on the Members’ desks. This rule does not apply to amendments to add coauthors. Before debate, five copies of the proposed amendments must be delivered to the Chief Clerk. Substantive change amendments must be submitted by 5pm or the time of adjournment the business day before the start of session at which the amendments will be heard. An analysis must be prepared and must be distributed to each Member prior to the debate. There are specified exceptions, such as adding or deleting an urgency clause, contingent enactment amendments, Budget Bill amendments, etc. A motion to amend on the floor is not in order the last two days before the January 31 deadline or the last seven days before the interim recess or the final recess, unless this rule is suspended by 2/3 majority vote. The rule does not apply to adding or deleting an urgency clause or “chaptering” amendments. (Rule 69)

Any bill to amend the Political Reform Act may not be passed until the bill has been in its final form for 12 days prior to being considered. These bills must be provided to the Fair Political Practices Commission and must be distributed to the news media and interested persons. (Rule 69.1)

There are specified requirements for bills that amend the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act. These bills may not be passed until the bill has been in its final form for 14 days prior to being considered. Passage requires 56 votes on the Floor. (Rule 69.2)

Any requirement that bills, amendments, reports, or analyses be placed on the desks of Members is satisfied by electronic distribution via computers on Members’ desks. (Rule 69.3)

Whenever a bill that has been amended is reported out of that committee, then it is placed on the second reading file and cannot be placed on third reading until the following day. (Rule 70)

A bill may not be placed on the consent calendar unless it meets the requirements of the Joint Rules. (Rule 71)

A resolution may be amended by a majority vote of the Members present and voting. (Rule 73)

Any resolution upon which a rollcall vote is demanded requires 41 votes of Members. (Rule 74)

When any house resolution is before the Assembly, it may be printed in the Journal only if amendments have been adopted. Otherwise, they are referred to by day and page in the Journal. (Rule 75)

A Senate bill cannot be voted upon for final passage unless it has been published on the Internet in its final form for at least 72 hours prior to the Assembly vote. The only exception is when the Governor declares that the bill is necessary to address a state of emergency. This rule does not apply to resolutions or constitutional amendments. (Rule 76)

Concurrence in any Senate amendment to an Assembly bill requires the same vote as the Constitution requires for passage of the bill. A concurrence vote cannot be taken until the bill has been on the unfinished business file for at least one calendar day, except during the last two days of Session. Concurrence votes cannot occur until an analysis has been distributed by the Floor Analysis Unit and a copy is placed on Members’ desks and the bill has been published on the Internet in its final form at least 72 hours prior to the vote, except if the Governor deems the bill necessary to address a state of emergency. (Rule 77)

Whenever the Senate amends and passes an Assembly bill, the Legislative Counsel shall within one day prepare a brief digest summarizing the effect of the Senate amendment. The digest must be printed in the Daily File immediately. (Rule 77.1)

If the amendment analysis adopted on the floor states that the amendment makes a substantial substantive change to the bill as passed by the last committee, it may be referred by the Speaker to the appropriate committee. If the Senate made a substantial substantive change in a bill that first passed the Assembly, the bill may be referred to the appropriate committee. (Rule 77.2)

Whenever a bill has been passed twice on the third reading file on two successive legislative days, it is placed on the inactive file. An author can request to place a bill on the inactive file. An author can request the bill to be returned to the third reading file with notice published one day in advance. A bill can be placed on inactive that was on the second reading file or the unfinished business file. (Rule 78)

The Engrossing and Enrolling Clerk must engross and enroll bills in compliance with the Government Code. Chief Clerk reports the day and time each enrolled bill is presented to the Governor. (Rule 79)

When a question is under debate or before the Assembly, no motions can be received, except the motions set forth and in the order provided. (Rule 80)

All incidental questions of order are decided by the Speaker without debate. (Rule 81)

Any Member may appeal from a decision of the Speaker without waiting for recognition. An appeal needs a second and then the Speaker gives his or her reasons for the decision and the Member may give his or her reasons for appeal. Then the question is presented to the membership. A majority vote of the Members present and voting decide the outcome of an appeal. (Rule 82)

Speaker may explain the order of business when a motion pending is not debatable. (Rule 83)

A motion to adjourn is not debatable and may not be amended. It is always in order, except when another Member has the floor, when voting is taking place, or during a call of the Assembly. The details of the adjournment motion are entered in the Journal. A motion to adjourn requires a majority vote. Prior to adjourning, any Member may state a fact relating to the condition of the business of the Assembly, but is limited to two minutes and is not debatable. (Rule 84)

A motion to recess to a time certain is treated the same as a motion to adjourn, except that the motion is debatable and can be amended as to the time and duration. (Rule 85)

A motion to lay on the table is not debatable and may not be amended. A motion to table any measure requires 41 votes of the Assembly. A motion to lay an amendment on the table is adopted by a majority of Members present and voting. (Rule 86)

Chris Micheli is an attorney and registered lobbyist with the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor at McGeorge School of Law.

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