Sacramento Legislators Prepare for Busy Weeks Ahead

California Capitol
Edelstein Gilbert Robson & Smith

The Legislature will return from its summer recess on August 16. Upon its return, it will have only three and a half weeks to complete its work before adjournment on September 10.

The end of session is always a busy time in Sacramento. Legislators will spend much of the remaining time in session on the floor of their respective houses. Bills must be passed by the Assembly and Senate before September 10, otherwise they cannot be acted on until 2022. For noncontroversial bills, this is more of a procedural hurdle than anything else. In some cases, however, unresolved issues in controversial bills manifest in dramatic floor fights with authors and proponents of legislation attempting to marshal enough support to pass the bill and opponents trying to keep them from doing so.

Controversial or not, it takes time for the Legislature to take up and pass each of the hundreds of bills that are still pending. As bills fail to pass, tensions will amp up between the Assembly and Senate which, in turn, leads to retaliation and holding bills “hostage.” Last year all of this added up to the Legislature running out of time and leaving several high-priority bills on the table when they adjourned the session. It remains to be seen how 2021 will play out.


We had hoped not to report on the recall this week, but it’s too hard to resist.

The San Diego Union Tribune reported on polling conducted between August 2 and 4 which showed that 51% of voters support recalling Newsom. This is a sharp turn from the 36% the Tribune found in their May poll.

However, polling in August isn’t the same as an election in September. The polling results also aren’t the only relevant numbers. The Governor has raised $51 million to fight the recall and has only spent about $10 million so far. He has more than twice as much cash as all the major Republican candidates and pro-recall committees combined. When local election offices begin sending out mail-in ballots later this month, it’s logical to expect the Governor will begin spending that money and it could have a significant impact on the election.

While all of this was hitting the news, several recall candidates participated in a debate Wednesday night. Specifically, businessman John Cox, former Mayor of San Diego Kevin Faulconer, Republican Assemblymember Kevin Kiley, and former Congressman Doug Ose participated in the debate at the Nixon Presidential Library in Orange County.

By all accounts, the debate was more of an opportunity for these candidates to hurl abuse at Governor Newsom than anything else. Moderators posed questions on the role of drug cartels in the nation’s opioid crisis, immigration policy, and the actions of the Chinese Communist Party. These are not issues that California governors deal with at all, or at least not regularly.

It is hard not to conclude that the most relevant thing about Wednesday’s debate was which candidates were not there. As noted above, Governor Newsom, who we continue to believe has a good chance of retaining his office, did not participate. Neither did the top polling Republican candidate and conservative radio host, Larry Elder. Lastly, Caitlyn Jenner, who has the most name ID of all the Republican candidates, has paused her campaign to focus on the important work of filming “Big Brother VIP” in Australia.

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