2008 Legislative Session comes to a close

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Sept. 4, 2008 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

There were 2,829 bills introduced in 2008.  Nineteen have been vetoed and roughly 500 bills have been signed.  In it’s final days, the Legislature worked on more than 1,000 bills.  Over 870 bills are currently pending action by the Governor, although their fate remains uncertain.  Schwarzenegger has until September 30th to sign or veto them, but has threatened to veto any bills that reach his desk before a budget is passed.  That being said, it is unclear whether the Governor will immediately veto the bills or wait until closer to the September 30th deadline, giving the Legislature more time to pass a budget.  

The close of the Session marks the end of the road for a number of members who are termed out.  All in all, 33 members between both houses will finish their terms in 2008 and a number of members will move to the opposite house.  And although termed out, members' terms do not end until December providing them with the continued responsibility of addressing the 2008-2009 Budget - which is now 65 days late.  Legislative leaders noted that 2008 would be remembered not for its legislative accomplishments, but for the latest budget enacted in the State's history.

The bleak end to 2008 is in stark contrast to the beginning of the session, which was filled with ambition and hope.  Among other initiatives, the February ballot asked voters to amend term limits to allow lawmakers to stay longer in their jobs - but voters refused, signaling the beginning of a rough road ahead.  The defeat of the measure was followed quickly by new choices for leadership – Senate Minority Leader Dick Ackerman of Irvine was replaced by Dave Cogdill of Modesto; Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata of Oakland will be replaced by Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento at the end of the year; and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez of Los Angeles was replaced by Karen Bass also of Los Angeles.  In addition to leadership changes, the Legislature was distracted by the recall drive against Senator Jeff Denham (R-Atwater) and news that a soft economy would further deepen the state budget deficit.

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