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Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger left this past Thursday for a week-long trade mission to Asia, leaving behind an unfinished budget and almost 800 bills on his desk awaiting his action.
The Governor met with legislative leaders on Tuesday and emerged hopeful. He indicated that things were moving toward a resolution and barriers have been broken down. Democrats, who introduced a revised plan last week, have even backed down their criticism of the Governor’s departure.
The approximately 800 bills sitting on the Governor’s desk have until September 30th to be signed. If not signed by that date, the measures automatically go into effect; however, this has never occurred under Governor Schwarzenegger’s time in office. Technically, under state law, Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado could step in and begin acting on bills in the Governor’s absence. The Governor’s senior staff stated they are still in the process of filing, distributing and analyzing the hundreds of measures but are optimistic they will get all the work done before the end of September. Fortunately for the Governor and his staff, the bill load is significantly lighter than in previous years.His staff estimates there are likely 1,200 bills fewer than in recent years. Nonetheless, the Governor will have a lot on his plate when he returns.
IBA West's legislative advocate Norwood & Associates will continue to monitor and report on the Governor’s legislative action and the ongoing budget fight.