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Legislature Reconvenes Jan. 4, New Year Begins with Speaker Election and Budget Proposal

December 11, 2015
Sacramento has been relatively quiet since the Legislature adjourned on Sept. 11, with the Gov. Jerry Brown making his final decisions on legislation on Oct. 11.
 
That all changes in four weeks when legislators return to the Capitol on Jan. 4 to begin the start of the second year of the 2015-16 legislative session.

The few first weeks of January will set the pace and priorities for the session. Most 2015 statues signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown will take effect Jan. 1. The Legislature reconvenes Jan. 4 and will adjourn on Aug. 31. Governor Brown must submit his proposed FY 2016-17 budget during the first week of January to meet the Jan. 10 constitutional deadline. The Governor will also deliver his annual state-of-the state address in early January, though no details have been released yet.
 
Bills held over from 2015, known as two-year bills, are under pressure to make the Jan. 31 deadline to pass out of their house of origin. Fiscal committee bills from 2015 must be heard in policy committees by Jan. 15 and a week later, Jan. 22, is the deadline for policy committees to hear and report on floor bills introduced in their house last year.
 
In response to these deadlines, cities should expect a flurry of amendments offered on bills that did not move last year.  The League will publish new bill lists shortly after Jan. 4, but for now is closely tracking the following two-year bills that may be set for hearing early in the year:
  • AB 45 (Mullin) Household hazardous waste. League position: Oppose.
  • AB 1159 (Gordon) Product stewardship: pilot program: household batteries and home-generated sharps waste. League position: Support.
  • AB 1315 (Alejo). Public contracts: water pollution prevention plans.  League position: Oppose.
  • SB 47 (Hill) Environmental health: synthetic turf. League position: Oppose.
  • SB 608 (Liu) Homelessness. League position: Oppose. 
In addition, the League expects clean-up legislation to be quickly introduced to delete the preemption of local marijuana cultivation ordinances.

The full text of these bills and committee hearing schedules, as well as the League’s position letters, can be found at www.cacities.org/billsearch. Plug the bill number into the search function to access information.
 
Capitol watchers can also expect a flood of bills to be introduced early in the year with Feb. 19 being the last day that legislators can introduce bills for the regular session.
 
Transportation remains a top priority for cities and the Special Session on Transportation will continue into 2016. The joint conference committee held several hearings early in the fall and then public negotiations slowed down with a shift to conversations behind the scenes. Cities can expect new announcements related to how to fund the state and local transportation system in early January.
 
League’s 2016 Strategic Goals to Drive Legislative Engagement
 
The League set its course for 2016 in November when the organization’s officers, board of directors and leaders of policy committees and divisions met in Sacramento to set the 2016 Strategic Priorities.  
 
The 2016 Strategic Priorities are:
  • Increase Funding for Critical Transportation and Water Infrastructure;
  • Improve Housing Affordability; and
  • Update the Local Government Tax Structure to Respond to the New Economy and Stimulate Economic Growth. 
Leadership Changes in Both Houses
 
Changes in term limits are beginning to have a significant effect on the leaders of both houses with members elected after 2012 having the ability to serve up to 12 years in one house or two.
 
The Legislature’s most recent leadership shakeup began this fall and will culminate in Spring 2016. Speaker Toni Atkins on Dec. 7 announced that the Assembly will hold its speakership election for Assembly Member Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles) on Jan. 11. The swearing-in ceremony will be held on March 7. Elected in 2012, Assembly Member Rendon terms out in 2024.
 
Assembly Member Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) will take over the mantle of Assembly Republican leader on Jan. 4 from Assembly Member Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto), who terms out at the end of 2016. Assembly Member Mayes won’t term out until 2026, giving him the opportunity for a long leadership tenure.
 
And while the Senate’s leaders are not currently changing, Sen. Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield), who terms out in 2018, transitioned into the role of Senate Minority Leader just before session adjourned in September. Sen. Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles), who terms out in 2018, remains President pro Tempore.  
 
New Mayors and Council Members to Head to Sacramento for League Training in Late January
 
The League’s annual training for newly elected mayors and council members will be held Jan. 20-22 in Sacramento. Cities still have a few weeks to sign up their newly elected members before the Jan. 6 registration deadline.
 
The event will bring together more than 200 mayors and council members for education on the nuts and bolts of effectively serving on a California city council. The three days will feature sessions on a range of topics such as advocacy, the legal powers and obligations of office, land use, city finance and strategies to run effective city council meetings. Attendees can also take the AB 1234 ethics training. 


 
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