Focus to Shift to Over 900 Bills Passed In August By Legislature That Will Be Sent To Governor Schwarzenegger For Final Action Once Budget Is Passed5 min read

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Dozens of Bills Have Major Impact To Children and Adults With Disabilities, Mental Health Needs, Seniors

September 30th Deadline Approaching for Signing or Vetoing Bills

If the State Senate and Assembly, as expected, finally passes the long delayed State Budget – now 76 days late Monday afternoon or possibly Tuesday, the focus will almost immediately shift to nearly 900 bills that the Legislature passed in August but have not sent to the Governor yet.

In early August Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger warned the Legislature that he would veto any bill sent to him until a State budget was passed and sent to him first.

Since then, the Governor only made one exception on August 26, for AB 3034 by Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani (Democrat – Stockton), dealing with making some revisions to the high speed rail bond act on the November 2008 ballot. Never before, at least in recent modern California history, has this happened before.

Many Bills Have Major Impact to People With Disabilities, Mental Health Needs, Seniors

Among the hundreds of bills that will be sent to the Governor include dozens that have direct impact on children and adults with disabilities – including developmental disabilities (including autism spectrum disorders, down syndrome, etc), people with mental health needs, seniors, low income children, their families, community organizations and workers who provide services and supports, special education, and more.

CDCAN will send out a full report covering these bills to help people focus on these bills that include major health care reform (SB 840, the single payer health reform bill), several bills impacting people with autism spectrum disorder, bills dealing with changes to Medi-Cal eligibility as required by the 2005 federal deficit reduction act (DRA), bills impacting high school exit exam, health care (including bill dealing with durable medical equipment), access rights and enforcement, bills on elder abuse, housing, bills regarding veterans with mental health needs and disabilities, and more.

Budget Deal Reached by Legislative Leaders – Vote Likely Later in Afternoon

As previously reported legislative leaders from both parties have reached a budget deal and barring a surprise, both the State Senate and Assembly should vote on a State budget as early as late Monday afternoon – and no later than Tuesday.

Leaders from both parties need to discuss the details with members of their parties before bringing the State budget up for a vote. Action on the budget would then mean that the Legislature can finally deliver to Governor Schwarzenegger’s desk over 900 bills it has been holding since August.

No details are yet available on the budget agreement, though the general outlines are known.

NEXT STEPS

LEGISLATURE:

• If the Legislature passes the State budget Monday or Tuesday this week as expected, soon after that both houses will begin sending the over 900 bills it has held since August to the Governor.

• After the Legislature passes the budget, there will be no further meetings of either the Assembly or Senate until the first week of December, when the new Legislators elected or re-elected in November 2008 are sworn in. Note: both houses could be called back into session in the event of an emergency or other urgent need.

GOVERNOR

• Budget bill and related bills – Governor will focus first on the main budget bill and the package of other budget related bills (called trailer bills because they follow or trail the main budget bill). The budget related bills are important because those bills contain details and policy changes to implement what is in the main budget bill. If the Legislature passes the long delayed budget on Monday (September 15th), the Governor will likely sign the budget bill the next day or so.

• Over 900 Bills – though the Legislature has been holding over 900 bills it passed in August, that doesn’t mean the Governor’s Legislative Office has not been reviewing and gathering information on some or most of those bills. People and organizations have been sending in letters both for and against bills in the past several weeks on at least the high profile pieces of legislation, such as the single payer health care reform bill (SB 840 by Sen. Sheila Kuehl). Now hundreds of other bills will likely be the focus of more Californians as the budget issue leaves center stage and the focus goes back to those measures – and the approaching September 30th deadline.

• Bill Deadline for Governor: The State Constitution gives the deadline of September 30th for the Governor to sign or veto any bill passed by the Legislature in August and that he has on his desk on or after September 1st. Bills still on his desk after September 30th that he has not signed or vetoed become law without his signature – something that has virtually has not happened in recent history.

• Bills that are emergency bills (called “urgency” statutes) will take effect immediately upon approval of the Governor. All other regular bills signed by the Governor take effect January 1, 2009.

• Bills that the Governor vetoes can be overridden by the Legislature – something that rarely happens to any Governor. A veto override takes 2/3rds vote in both houses – and in would have to happen on or before November 30th this year, which is not likely.

The California Disability Community Action Network, is a non-partisan link to thousands of Californians with developmental and other disabilities, people with traumatic brain injuries, the Blind, the Deaf, their families, community organizations and providers, direct care, homecare and other workers, and other advocates to provide information on state (and eventually federal), local public policy issues.

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