When the legislature initially followed the governor’s home shelter order and passed two budget-related bills on March 16, 2020, it demanded the waiver of two constitutional requirements. The first was the three compulsory readings of a bill before it was voted on the ground. The second was the required 72-hour printing rule for bills in their final form before a house vote.
On that day, two Senate bills (SB 89 and SB 117) were amended and dealt with appropriations to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Two provisions of the California constitution presented hurdles that needed to be removed before the legislature could pass these two supply bills and send them to the governor for signature.
The first provision is contained in Article IV, Section 8 (b) (1) which reads, in part, “No bill may be adopted unless it is read by title in three days in each chamber, except that the chamber may dispense with this requirement by a roll-call vote recorded in the newspaper, two-thirds of the members agreeing. This requires a bill to be read three separate days before it can be passed.
The second provision is contained in Article IV, Section 8 (b) (2) which reads: “(2) No bill may be passed or ultimately become law unless the bill with of the amendments has been printed, distributed to members, and published on the Internet, in its final form, at least 72 hours before the vote, except that this deadline may be waived if the Governor has given Parliament a written declaration that the waiver of this time limit for this bill is necessary to address a state of emergency, as defined in paragraph (2) of subsection (c) of section 3 of Article XIII B, which was declared by the governor, and the chamber which considers the bill subsequently waives the notice period for that bill by a separate roll-call vote entered in the newspaper, two-thirds of the members concurring, before the vote on the bill. This requires a bill to be in final form for 72 hours before either house of the Legislature can pass it, with one exception.
On March 16, the first constitutional provision was lifted. A resolution was adopted by the Assembly and then by the Senate. It was titled “Resolution to waive a constitutional provision. It read as follows: “Resolved, That Senate Bills 89 and 117 present a case of urgency, as this term is used in Article IV, section 8 (b) (1) of the Constitution , and the provision of this section requiring that the it is hereby waived to read the Bills on three separate days in each house, and it is ordered that the Bills be placed as they pass and considered as drafted. A similar resolution was passed by both chambers.
A letter from Governor Newsom was subsequently read on both floors. This letter said, in part, “The California Constitution generally provides – in Article IV, section 8, subdivision (b), subsection (2) – that” no bill may be passed or ultimately become a law “unless it has been” in print “, distributed to members and posted on the Internet, in final form, at least 72 hours before the vote. ‘ The Constitution further provides, however, that this 72-hour notice period “may be waived” if the governor submits to the legislature “a written declaration that the waiver of this notice period for this bill is necessary to do so. faced with a state of emergencyâ¦ which has been declared by the Governor âwithin the meaning of Article XIII B, section 3, subsection (c), paragraph (2). Today, I am writing to you to affirm a obvious: we must meet the challenge of our State with all the tools at our disposal and without a second delay. We cannot hesitate to meet this moment. Accordingly, I submit to you this written declaration that, to face up to state of emergency that I have declared, it is necessary to waive the 72 hour notice period provided for in Article IV, section 8, subdivision (b), subsection (2) of the California Constitution , with regard to the following legislation: AB 89 AB 117 SB 89 SB 117 “
During the delivery of the Governor’s letter, the Assembly and the Senate acknowledged receipt, “on March 16, 2020, at 2:19 p.m., of a statement by the Governor, concerning the waiver of the notice period to deal with the ‘state of emergency, delivered to me personally.
Following the letter from the Governor, the Assembly and the Senate adopted a resolution which reads as follows: “Resolved that Senate Bills 89 and 117 present a case of urgency, as that term is defined. is used in Article IV, section 8 (b) (2) of the Constitution, and the provisions of this article requiring that bills with all amendments have been printed, distributed to members and published on the Internet, under their final form, for at least 72 hours before the dispensation of the vote, and it is ordered that the bills be considered for adoption. Subsequently, the two houses passed SB 89 and SB 117.
It is interesting to note that there is only one other constitutional provision that can be lifted by a vote. Article IV, section 8 (a) reads as follows: “During ordinary sessions, no bill other than the finance bill may be heard or dealt with in committee or in one or other of the chambers until the 31st day following the tabling of the bill, at unless the chamber waives this requirement by a roll-call vote recorded in the journal, three-quarters of the members agreeing. This requires an invoice to be printed for 30 days before it can be processed in any way.