3,000 bills translate into what?

John Taylor: February 22, 20070 Comments

What's in a number? Friday (Feb. 23) is the last day for California lawmakers to introduce legislation for the current session.  At the start of the week, the California Hospital Association estimated nearly 780 bills had been introduced, with the expectation that the total number at week's end would reach 3,000.

For a glimpse of legislation, you can go to individual lawmaker websites -- they often post bills when their names are attached -- or you can visit the California legislative information site at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/

A few cautions. Much legislative language has yet to be written -- in some cases, the lawmaker has no clue on what he wants even on topics. So, he or she will propose amending an existing law -- adding a comma or quotation mark or "Jr." to someone's name -- just to hold a place in line. These are the so-called "spot" bills.

Things get hairy in the coming weeks as real language is crafted, debated, redrafted and cost-analyzed. In the hurlyburly toward the scheduled July 20 recess (depending on whether a budget has been approved), some bills are gutted and amended.  That's when a bill originally introduced to name a baseball field in Reedley after some Yankees slugger can be morphed into a measure quadrupling taxes on leisure suits made in Taipei.

I'll post a final tally in a future blog.