July 27, 2020 | Written By: An-Chi Tsou, PhD

With multiple legislators contracting COVID-19, the Legislature recently confirmed that some voting will be done remotely in the next month. The new rule was crafted to make sure some legislation is passed before the constitutional deadline of August 31 for the 2019-20 two-year legislative session. If bills are not passed by both houses by that date, they die and will need to be introduced again in the 2021 legislative session. As of the time of writing this article, the Assembly is allowing four legislative leaders to cast proxy votes for absent lawmakers during floor sessions. The Senate will allow legislators to vote remotely during committee hearings but will require them to vote in person for floor sessions.

The Legislature has a lot of work to accomplish in a short timeframe. The pandemic delayed committee hearings for weeks, and despite requests by leadership to limit their legislative packages, assemblymembers and senators still pushed for hundreds of bills to stay alive. For certain committees there may be only time for one hearing, meaning some bills may die simply because there was no time to hear them. Below are some of the cannabis-related ones that have made it through thus far and hope to get through to the governor’s desk:

As always, these bills are subject to change, and change seems likely as legislators continue to grapple with remote work and strict deadlines in the middle of the pandemic. By the time this article is published, the Legislature’s rules and the status of these bills may have changed. The best way to stay informed about bills you are interested in is to maintain contact with the bill author or follow the bill’s progress on www.leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Stay safe!

Disclaimer: This article has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice.

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