January 4 marked the start of the 2016 legislative session with legislators returning to Sacramento after a three month hiatus to finish out the second year of the 2015-16 session. Both Houses met briefly in the first week, mostly for procedural items, and many legislators introduced new bills on their first day back.
Since 2016 is the second year of the two-year session, bills carried over from 2015 are eligible to continue moving. Additionally, many legislators opted to amend and move two-year bills that were introduced in the previous session. These two-year bills must be moved quickly because of early deadlines that require all two-year bills to be out of their house of origin by the end of the month.
Over the next several weeks, legislators will begin introducing new bills to be considered in the 2016 session. The deadline for all legislation to be introduced for the year is February 19, and in the week prior, hundreds of bills will be introduced in both Houses.
The CASA Legislative Committee will be meeting in early March to review all legislation of interest this year and determine where we will focus our advocacy efforts in 2016. We’ve been very busy during the Interim, addressing legislation that could significantly impact ocean dischargers. Along with the major state budget items to consider, and the anticipation of new legislation that has the potential to impact wastewater agencies now and in the future, 2016 will be another active year in Sacramento.