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Clock Ticks Down On The 2011-2012 Legislative Session
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August 31, 2012

TO:                 CLA Members/ Systems/ Network Contacts
FROM:           Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
                      Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist
RE:                 News From the Capitol
At midnight tonight the California Legislature will officially adjourn the 2011-12 Session after dispensing with a couple hundred final remaining pieces of legislation, some rather controversial in nature.   At the start of August, when the Senate and Assembly returned from their month-long summer recess, they had approximately 1,000 bills to process through remaining fiscal committees and then to the Floors for debate. The large majority of these bills will find their way to the Governor’s Desk at the close of session, and Governor Jerry Brown will have until September 30 to sign or veto those measures.  
Today the halls of the Capitol are packed with lobbyists, watching and waiting for their measures to be taken up, and arguing for last minute support or opposition from legislators. (We often joke that the temperature outside the Capitol may be warm, but the intersection of the hallway between the Senate and Assembly Chambers is about 15 degrees hotter, with the capitol types packed in tightly.) This year lobbyists are watching for last minute rule waivers as well as hearings being convened off the Floor to discuss issues such as Workers Compensation and a highly controversial measure relating to establishing damages for medical services. In fact, on Wednesday our report noted that on Tuesday morning close to 100 lobbyists jammed an Assembly hearing room and halls for an “informational hearing” on Workers Compensation reform. At 3:00 this afternoon, we wandered by the Assembly Insurance Committee where the actual hearing on the Workers Compensation Insurance proposal, SB 863 (DeLeon), was under way. Lobbyists representing all conceivable interests far exceeded the number that attended Tuesday’s informational hearing. Despite the intense interest, the measure is expected to pass the committee but still must also pass the Assembly and Senate fiscal committees, as well as both Floors, before midnight.   
When the legislature adjourns tonight, many Senators and Assemblymembers will return to their legislative districts to continue campaigning for their November elections. At least 35 newly elected Assembly members and 9 Senators will arrive in Sacramento the first week in December for their official swearing-in ceremony and then the 2013-14 Session will commence the first week of January. There has been rumor that the Governor will call a “special session” on enactment of the federal healthcare program, but it is anticipated that it would commence in December or January.     
CLA readers will recall last year’s AB 438 by Assemblyman Das Williams, supported by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the California Labor Federation, which imposed a series of requirements on a city or library district that intends to withdraw from a county free library system and operate libraries with a private contractor. The bill was passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Brown, and the provisions became law on January 1, 2012. 
Last Friday, August 24th, Assemblyman Williams assumed late control of AB 2592, a bill by Assemblyman Warren Furutani which previously related to the Instructional Quality Commission. The bill was completely amended to instead contain provisions which would, in effect, place “retroactive requirements on cities that have already withdrawn from a county library system with regard to entering into a public-private contract for library operations.” These last-minute changes to a bill with a previous different subject are notoriously known around the Capitol (especially during the final days of Session) as a “gut and amend.”
The bill is aimed at the City of Simi Valley where SEIU Local 721 filed a petition for a writ of mandate against the city regarding its withdrawal from the Ventura County Library System, which was denied by the court.  As of this afternoon there has been no formal action on AB 2592 subsequent to being amended on the Senate Floor. The bill history shows it has been “re-referred to the Rules Committee,” where normal procedures would require it to be referred to policy committee for hearing (likely the Senate Governance and Finance Committee). However, normal procedures are often not followed in these final hours of the Session and there is a chance the bill could be taken up on the Senate Floor directly for a vote sometime before midnight. In the meantime we have been in contact with the Rules Committee staff, the author’s office, and the policy committee consultant, in an effort to determine what action, if any, will be taken on the bill tonight. As of this writing there is no committee analysis available on AB 2592. However, the amended bill can be viewed here