During California’s last legislative session, the 2018 legislative session, the Legislature and Governor enacted 1,016 new laws – most of which took effect on January 1, 2019. This particular statistic raises the age old question – Is the California Legislature too much of a bill factory?

I will leave the answer to that question, and whether the answer is good or bad, to another day. In this post, I’ll compare that piece of data to those of other states and let you decide on an answer to the question.

More than 15,000 bills were enacted in the fifty states in 2018. Just a few states were not in session and did not enact any bills. Now, according to news media reports and other sources, I put together a sampling of states that enacted new laws in 2018, and the total number of new laws. Note that no state was close to California’s total.

It is obvious from this data that California has enacted many more new laws than other states. However, 2018 was a high water mark for Governor Brown’s administration. California has averaged 700-800 enactments pretty consistently.

One other interesting data point is the percentage of bills that become law in California. In very broad terms, the California Legislature introduces about 2,200 bills a year, and roughly 40% of those bills become law each year. 

That’s a pretty high percentage of bills getting enacted in comparison to the number of bills actually introduced. At the federal level, for example, roughly 2-3% of the introduced bills actually become law. So not only does the California Legislature introduce a lot of bills, but they also get a very high percentage of those bills becoming law each year.

You can a full transcript of my podcast here.

Originally published at Cap Impact https://www.capimpactca.com/2019/08/is-the-california-legislature-a-bill-factory/