Bills on the Governor’s Desk – 2020 Session

Chris Micheli
Chris Micheli is a Principal with the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc.

Now that the 2020 California Legislative Session has adjourned, it is time to look at the forthcoming gubernatorial actions. Pursuant to Article IV, Section 10(b)(2), “Any bill passed by the Legislature before September 1 of the second calendar year of the biennium of the legislative session and in the possession of the Governor on or after September 1 that is not returned on or before September 30 of that year becomes a statute.” As a result, Governor Newsom has until midnight on September 30 to act on the measures sent to his Desk by the Legislature.

Historically, between 900 and 1,200 measures are sent each year to the Governor’s Desk. In his first year in office, Governor Newsom acted upon 1,042 bills. Historically, the veto rate is 12 – 15%. With the pandemic-induced reduction in legislators’ bill loads, we knew this year there would be fewer bills sent to the Governor’s Desk. So, how many bills are headed to Governor Newsom?

Back in June, I speculated that between 400 – 500 bills would make it to the Governor’s Desk at the end of this abbreviated legislative session, after the Legislature had reduced its bill load by 75%. Of course, there were bills left over from the 2019 Session that were added to this reduced figure.

The number of bills that Governor Newsom will act upon this year is 428. The Governor has already acted on 37 measures. Currently, 35 measures are pending before him and the Governor’s Office is awaiting just over 350 measures that are in the engrossing and enrolling processes. Of the total number of bills pending action, about 1/3 of them are Senate measures.

In terms of the 37 chaptered bills so far, Governor Newsom has signed all of them. There have been 24 ABs and 13 SBs signed so far. I’ll provide a final wrap-up of gubernatorial actions from the 2020 Session after September 30.

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