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By the numbers: A look at the 2017-18 Legislature

The state Capitol in Sacramento. (Photo: Rigucci, via Shutterstock)

With the recently concluded 2017-18 legislative session, it is valuable to look at some of the key data, including bill introductions, the fate of those bills, the work of the committees, the lawmakers’ legislation and the actions of the governor.

So let’s crunch some numbers: We’ll look at the Senate first.

Senate bills
In the Senate, 694 bills were introduced in 2018. Of those, 518 were passed by the Senate, while only six were defeated on the Senate floor. So, 74.6 percent of introduced bills passed out of the Senate, while just 0.8 percent of introduced bills failed passage on the floor.

At the conclusion of 2018, 52 Senate bills had been vetoed during the year—7.5 percent of introduced bills were vetoed—and 356 bills were chaptered in 2018, meaning that 51.3 percent of bills introduced in the Senate were enacted into law.

That brings the total number of Senate bills introduced in the 2017-18 Session to 1,511. Of those, 647 were signed into law (42.8 percent), and 86 were vetoed (5.5 percent).

By way of background, 817 bills were introduced in the Senate in 2017. Of those, 514 bills were passed by the Senate, while only three were refused passage on the Senate floor. So, 63 percent of introduced bills passed out of the Senate, while 0.4 percent of introduced bills failed passage on the Senate floor.

At the conclusion of 2017, 34 Senate bills were vetoed in 2017 (4 percent of introduced bills were vetoed), and 291 bills were chaptered in 2017. That means 35.6 percent of introduced bills were enacted into law.

2018 data: Committees
In terms of bills being considered by standing committees in the just-concluded 2018 session, the following five committees had the highest number of original committee references, which means they were the first stop for bills assigned by the Rules Committee:

  • Public Safety, 111
  • Budget, 108
  • Governance & Finance, 105
  • Education,  88
  • Transportation & Housing, 79

The five committees with the highest number of senate bills and assembly bills referred:

  • Education, 313 (88 + 225)
  • Public Safety, 288 (111 + 177)
  • Transportation & Housing, 237 (79 + 158)
  • Health, 226 (77 + 149)
  • Governance & Finance, 223 (105 + 118)

2017 data: Committees
In 2017, the three standing committees with the highest number of original committee references were:

  • Education, 166
  • Public Safety, 146
  • Transportation & Housing, 140

The committees with the lowest number of original committee references were:

  • Agriculture, 17
  • Insurance, 19
  • Veterans Affairs, 19

Senate bills and authorship
The most bills introduced during the 2017-18 session were 49 by Jerry Hill, followed by Ricardo Lara with 45.

Eleven senators introduced 40 bills (Cathleen Galgiani, Steve Glazer, Ed Hernandez, Bob Hertzberg, Connie Leyva, John Moorlach, Janet Nguyen, Richard Pan, Anthony Portantino, Mark Stone and Scott Wiener), while five senators introduced 39 bills (Ben Allen, Steven Bradford, Hannah-Beth Jackson, Nancy Skinner and Henry Stern). Senator Bill Dodd introduced 38.

2017 data: Authors
The most bills were introduced by Ricardo Lara with 29. Galgiani introduced 28; Jerry Hill had 26; and five senators introduced 24 bills each (Bradford, Glazer, Leyva, Nguyen and Portantino).

Assembly Bills
Some 1,531 bills were introduced in the Assembly in 2018. Of those, 942 bills were passed, and 16 were refused passage. So, 61.5 percent of introduced bills passed out of the Assembly, while just 1 percent of introduced bills failed passage on the Assembly floor.

At the conclusion of the 2018 session, 149 Assembly bills were vetoed during the year (9.7 percent of introduced bills were vetoed), and 660 were chaptered in 2018 (43 percent of introduced bills were enacted into law).

That brings the total number of Assembly bills introduced in the 2017-18 session to 3,264. Of those, 1,228 were signed into law (37.6 percent), and 233 were vetoed (7.1 percent).

As a comparison, 1,733 bills were introduced in the Assembly in 2017. Of those, 970 bills were passed, while only nine were refused passage on the Assembly floor. That left 763 bills as two-year measures which were considered in January 2018. So, 56 percent of introduced bills passed out of the Assembly, while just 0.5 percent of introduced bills failed passage.

At the conclusion of the 2017 session, 84 assembly bills were vetoed (4.8 percent of introduced bills were vetoed), and 568 were chaptered in 2017 (32.7 percent of introduced bills were enacted into law).

2018 data: Assembly policy committees and bills referred
In terms of assembly bills being considered by standing committees in the concluded 2018 session, the five committees with the highest number of original committee references were:

  • Public safety, 294
  • Health, 219
  • Education, 210
  • Transportation, 182
  • Judiciary, 181

The five committees with the total number of assembly and senate bills referred:

  • Public safety, 384 (294 + 90)
  • Health, 300 (219 + 81)
  • Education, 260 (210 + 50)
  • Judiciary, 247 (181 + 66)
  • Transportation, 233 (182 + 51)

2017 data
In terms of bills considered by standing committees in 2017, the committees with the highest number of original committee references were:

  • Public Safety, 195
  • Health, 147
  • Education, 140
  • Judiciary, 133
  • Environmental Safety

The committees with the lowest number of original committee references were: AESTIM (nine), Aging (12), Communications (13) and Banking (18).

For the just-concluded 2017-18 legislative session, in terms of authors and number of bills, the most bills introduced were by Rep. Phil Ting with 102 bills (including budget-related measures).

Seven Assembly members introduced 50 bills (Richard Bloom, Rob Bonta, Autumn Burke, Eduardo Garcia, Gonzalez Fletcher, Marc Levine and Blanca Rubio). Seven assembly members had 49 bills (Joaquin Arambula, Anna Caballero, Monique Limó, Evan Low, Bill Quirk, Miguel Santiago and Jim Wood), and three assembly members introduced 48 bills (Mike Gipson, Jacqui Irwin and Patrick O’Donnell).

In terms of authors and bills in 2017, the most bills were introduced by Ting with 78 (but that number included the budget trailer bills). Thereafter, Bloom introduced 32 bills; Rep. Sharon Quirk-Silva introduced 31; Levine introduced 30; and, four assembly members introduced 29 bills each (Caballero, Frazier, Gipson and Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher).

Actions on bills by the governor
There were 1,217 bills that reached the governor’s desk in 2018 out of 2,225 bills introduced (Senate, 694; Assembly 1,531). So, 55 percent of the bills introduced made it to the governor’s desk. Forty-five percent of the bills introduced got signed into law, while 9 nine of the bills introduced got vetoed.

Signed bills: 1,016

  • 5 percent of the bills were signed
  • 65 percent of the signed bills were assembly bills
  • 79 percent of the assembly bills were authored by Democrats
  • 14 percent of the assembly bills signed were authored by Republicans
  • 7 percent of the assembly bills were committee bills
  • 35 percent of the signed bills were senate bills
  • 77 percent of the senate bills signed were authored by Democrats
  • 13 percent of the senate bills signed were authored by Republicans
  • 10 percent of the senate bills signed were committee bills

Vetoed bills: 201

  • 5 percent of the bills were vetoed
  • 74 percent of the vetoed bills were assembly bills
  • 84 percent of those vetoed bills authored by Democrats
  • 13 percent of the assembly bills vetoed were authored by Republicans
  • 3 percent of the assembly bills vetoed were committee bills
  • 26 percent of the vetoed bills were senate bills
  • 94 percent of the senate bills vetoed were authored by Democrats
  • 6 percent of the senate bills vetoed were authored by Republicans

During the 2017 session, 1,733 total bills were introduced in the Assembly (1,687 by the Feb. 17 introduction deadline). About 37.5 percent of the introduced bills got to the governor’s desk, with 32.7 percent of the introduced bills getting signed, and 4.8 percent getting vetoed.

A total of 817 total bills were introduced in the Senate in 2017 (808 by the Feb. 17 introduction deadline), while 39.9 percent of the introduced bills got to the governor’s desk with 35.7 percent of the introduced bills getting signed and 4.2 percent getting vetoed.

In 2017, Gov. Jerry Brown acted on 977 bills that were on his desk during that session. He signed 859 bills (88 percent) and he vetoed 12 percent of those bills (118 out of 977 bills).

In 2017, of the 859 bills that the governor signed, 567 were Assembly bills and 292 were Senate bills. Of the 567 Assembly bills, 85 percent were authored by Democrats and 15 percent were authored by Republicans. Of the 292 Senate measures signed into law, 86 percent were authored by Democrats, and 14 percent were authored by Republicans.

In 2017, of the 118 bills that the governor vetoed, 84 were Assembly bills, and 34 were Senate bills. Of the 84 Assembly bills that were vetoed, 87 percent were authored by Democrats, and 13 percent were authored by Republicans. Of the 34 Senate bills, 82 percent were authored by Democrats, and 18 percent were authored by Republicans.

In 2016, Gov. Brown acted on 789 bills that were on his desk during September. He vetoed roughly 18.25 percent of those, and he allowed one bill to become law without his signature.  Including all the bills acted upon during the 2016 session, the governor vetoed 159 out of 1,059 bills, a 15 percent veto rate.

Governor’s vetoes: Historical data
To put this year’s gubernatorial bill actions in context, here are veto numbers from five prior governors.

  • Between 2011 and 2018, Brown vetoed between 10.7 percent and 16.5 percent of the bills
  • Between 2004 and 2010, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed between 22.2 percent and 35 percent of the bills
  • Between 1999 and 2003, Gov. Gray Davis vetoed between 6 percent and 25 percent of the bills
  • Between 1991 and 1998, Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed between 8.6 percent and 24.5 percent of the bills
  • Between 1983 and 1990, Gov. George Deukmejian vetoed between 9.5 percent and 20.3 percent of the bills
  • Between 1975 and 1982, Brown vetoed between 1.8 percent and 7.9 percent of the bills

Bills getting to the governor’s desk: Historical data
During the last eight years that Gov. Brown has served in office, the number of bills reaching his desk has ranged from a low of 870 bills during his first year in office to a high of 1,217, his final year in office. His veto rate has been a low of 10.7 percent (his third year in office) to a high of 16.5 percent (his last year in office).

To put Brown’s actions in context, here are actions by Brown and five prior governors.

  • Between 2004 and 2010, Schwarzenegger got between 893 and 1,265 bills on his desk
  • Between 1999 and 2003, Davis got between 967 and 1,454 bills on his desk
  • Between 1991 and 1998, Wilson got between 1,075 and 1,710 bills on his desk
  • Between 1983 and 1990, Deukmejian got between 1,455 and 2,143 bills on his desk
  • Between 1975 and 1982, Brown got between 1,221 and 1,674 bills on his desk

Total bill introductions: Historical data, year by year
2017: 2,495
2016: 1,993
2015: 2,297
2014: 1,930
2013: 2,256

Total bill introductions: Two-year sessions over two decades
2017-18: 3,624 Assembly bills, 1,511 Senate bills (4,775 total)
2015-16: 2,915 ABs and 1,481 SBs (4,396 total)
2013-14: 2,766 ABs and 1,467 SBs (4,233 total)
2011-12: 2,700 ABs and 1,580 SBs (4,280 total)
2009-10: 2,799 ABs and 1,495 SBs (4,294 total)
2007-08: 3,084 ABs and 1,781 SBs (4,865 total)
2005-06: 3,076 ABs and 1,853 SBs (4,929 total)
2003-04: 3,118 ABs and 1,918 SBs (5,036 total)
2001-02: 3,061 ABs and 2,101 SBs (5,162 total)
1999-00: 2,943 ABs and 2,206 SBs (5,149 total)
1997-98: 2,817 ABs and 2,242 SBs (5,059 total)
1995-96: 3,504 ABs and 2,178 SBs (5,682 total)
1993-94: 3,838 ABs and 2,138 SBs (5,976 total)

Editor’s Note: Chris Micheli is a principal with the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc. He may be contacted at (916) 448-3075.

 


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