The Legislature Has Recessed But Can It Still Pass Bills?

Because this is the second year of California's current legislative biennium, the legislature went into final recess on August 31.  J.R. 51(b)(3).  This does not mean, however, that the legislature has adjourned.  A recess is a temporary suspension of legislative proceedings while an adjournment sine die (without a day) ends the proceedings.  See Motions To Adjourn - Do They End Or Continue A Meeting?  In even-numbered years, the legislature adjourns sine die on November 30.   Cal. Const. Art. IV, § 3(a).  

If the legislature is in recess but has not yet adjourned, can reconvene and continue to pass bills?  The California Constitution prohibits either the Senate or the Assembly from passing bills after September 1 of even numbered years.  Cal. Const. Art. IV, § 10(c) & J.R. 61(b)(17).   The Constitution does allow for the following exceptions, however:

  • Statutes calling for elections;
  • Statutes providing for tax levies or appropriations for the usual and current expenses of the state;
  • Urgency statutes; and
  • Bills passed after being vetoed by the Governor.

However, the Constitution prohibits the legislature from presenting any bill to the Governor after November 15.   Cal. Const. Art. IV, § 10(d).