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The California Legislature’s final act for 2020



The California Constitution requires that most legislative business in the second year of a two-year session be concluded before the first day of September. Which means the final act of the Legislature for 2020 has arrived.Newsletter

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And what a remarkable, chaotic and uncertain year this has been for the Golden State and those who govern it.

The year of governing dangerously

This was, after all, a legislative session that was cut short — twice — by lawmakers either concerned by the spread of COVID-19 or when individuals in the two houses tested positive for the virus.

When the final gavel falls in the state Capitol before midnight, hundreds of bills will have been sent to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom for action by the end of September. Both houses of the Legislature churned through the weekend and into the night on Sunday to consider bills on a variety of topics.

Bills moving through the state Senate did so with 10 of the upper house’s members debating and voting on bills from their homes. The lawmakers, all Republicans, were quarantined after attending an in-person gathering with Sen. Brian Jones (R-Santee), who tested positive for the coronavirus. And of all members to be sidelined, it was Jones — the most vocal critic in the spring of efforts to allow remote voting, who sought out a legal opinion that the practice could be illegal.

Here are a few of the bills that had cleared both houses by the time lawmakers adjourned late Sunday night

Meanwhile, lawmakers appear to have struck a deal on one of the year’s most closely watched issues, a reprieve on evictions for renters who have run short on moneyduring the pandemic. That proposal will be voted on Monday.

But not all last-minute efforts came up successful. Lawmakers had to abandon a $3-billion bond proposal to fund wildfire, climate and economic recovery needs after significant opposition from utility companies whose customers would have to underwrite the effort with monthly fees.