Welcome to a new year of California politics!
It was a busy 2015 – if you need a refresher, here’s a comprehensive list of what went down and a rundown of the new laws kicking in – and 2016 promises to be action-packed too, with political heavies already looking ahead to fresh fights on the ballot and in the building.
Today the Assembly and the Senate will reconvene to slap some backs during floor sessions (noon for the Assembly, 3 p.m. for the Senate) and start getting back to business. Bills generally have to wait 30 days for their first vote, so for a while we’ll be hearing about new proposals without seeing them acted upon. This year’s bill introduction deadline is Feb. 19.
It’s a different story with holdovers from last year. Bills that didn’t get out of their initial house face imminent deadlines: they need to be voted out of policy committees by January 15 and get off the floor by January 30.
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About 800 pieces of legislation introduced in 2015 sat in their houses of origin when lawmakers left in September, about twice as many of them in the Assembly as in the Senate. So if they want those bills to move, legislators have to get cracking.
Not all of the first-week action will be on the Capitol’s second floor.
Facing a Jan. 10 constitutional deadline, Gov. Jerry Brown will unveil his proposed spending plan for the 2016-17 fiscal year. The release will kick off months of talks between the governor’s office and lawmakers on budget priorities in an election year.
CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Manteca, who turns 52 today; and to California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who turns 54.