Why Tomorrow Is An Important Day For The California Legislature

Tomorrow is an important day for the California legislature because it is the last for bills to be introduced (Joint Rule 61(a)(1) and Joint Rule 54(a)).  After a bill has been introduced, it may not be heard by any committee or acted upon by either house until 30 calendar days have elapsed following the date the bill was introduced. This provision, however, may be dispensed with by a vote of three-fourths of the members of the house which is considering the measure.  This provision does not apply to a  Budget Bill, or a bill introduced in an Extraordinary Session, or a resolution.  Cal. Const. Art. IV, Section 8(a).  

Based on these rules, it would seem that there will be no surprises after February 19.  However, bills are frequently amended in quite dramatic ways, even in the waning days of a legislative session.  This makes it very difficult, if not impossible, for average citizens to keep abreast of significant legislation, much less provide meaningful input.