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So long, recess: Legislative session enters frenzied final month

August 12, 2013|By Melanie Mason
  • State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) pumps his fist in celebration after the Senate completed voting on the remaining pieces of the state budget plan in June.
State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) pumps… (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated…)

SACRAMENTO -- The Capitol's end-of-session dash has begun in earnest, with the state Senate reconvening Monday from its summer recess.

The Assembly has been in session since last Monday. Both houses have one month of work ahead of them before they adjourn for the year, and there are roughly 1,100 bills that require action in that time in order to become law Jan. 1.

Among the hot-button issues in the Senate: a measure to raise the minimum hourly wage from $8 to $9.25 over three years and a proposal to make more undocumented immigrants eligible for California driver's licenses. Both bills have already passed the Assembly.

The Assembly will act on a Senate package of gun control bills written in the wake of last year's mass school shooting in Newtown, Conn. It will also consider a Senate-approved proposal to regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking -- a controversial method of extracting oil and natural gas.

And then there are the last-minute bills that tend to crop up in the frenzied closing weeks of the session.

One priority for Gov. Jerry Brown, changing the state's unemployment insurance plan, has not been crafted in bill form. His administration has been floating a proposal that would raise payroll taxes on employers, but business groups oppose the plan.

To read more about the month's upcoming legislative battles, check out our story previewing the session's final weeks.


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