On April 30, 2008, Assembly Bill (AB) 2270 was heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and was placed on the Suspense File. “Suspense” is a technical term meaning the Appropriations Committee thinks the bill will cost the state more than $150,000 to implement. Testimony was not presented; the Appropriations Committee is a fiscal committee—they want to hear about the fiscal implications of the bill, not necessarily the policy.
The best definition of Suspense is the Assembly Democratic leaders get together and decide which bills will come off of Suspense. Literally hundreds of bills will “fly or die” in Appropriations on one day. All bills on Suspense will be held until about May 21, when they either “fly or die.” Most bills die on the Suspense File day, especially this year because of a projected $16 to $21 billion budget deficit. Pete Conaty, The Water Quality Association’s (WQA) and Pacific Water Quality Association’s (PWQA) lobbyist, expects AB2270 to come off of Suspense and go to the Assembly Floor because of who the author is and the Democratic leadership will believe that AB2270 will have a low cost to implement (to government).
After Appropriations, the next step will be a vote by the full Assembly on the Assembly Floor the following week. Monday, May 26, is a state holiday and all bills must be out of their House of Origin (Assembly or Senate) by close of business May 30. Since the legislators usually like to return to their districts on Friday, that means from about 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 27, until the evening of Thursday, May 29, the Assembly will be in marathon daily Floor Sessions meeting all day into the evenings.
A template for writing a letter of opposition to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is available at www.pwqa.org under the “News” section, in the “May 2, 2008” story.