CSDC Legislative Update: The Suspense is Killing Me (and Bills)

Sacramento, CA - The Legislature reconvened on Monday, August 14 for the final sprint before they adjourn for the year on September 14. The fate of key school facility funding and policy bills will be decided by September 1, the deadline for bills to be approved by the appropriations committees in both the Senate and the Assembly. Starting in the 1980s, the appropriations committees have used the “suspense file” to hold bills with fiscal implications. This practice allows legislative leaders and the governor’s staff to reconcile policy proposals and budget priorities as a whole. It’s also a convenient place for expensive, controversial bills to die with dignity because it doesn’t require a “no” vote from any member: bills placed on the suspense file are in limbo until the September 1 deadline. Once that deadline passes, bills that haven’t had votes are effectively done—at least for this year. Unfortunately, some of these bills may be revived in January, when the legislature reconvenes for...

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