Prop 54 and the 72-hour in print rule

Hello. In today’s podcast I’m exploring how the California State Assembly complies with the 72-hour in print rule that was put in place by Prop 54. Prop 54 was a constitutional amendment that was passed by the California voters in November 2016. It did two things, but only one of those things is germane to today’s discussion.

The 72-hour in print rule became a hot topic of discussion in 2017 – the first year Prop 54’s rules affected the California Legislature – during the House of Origin deadline on June 2nd. Before we get in to that, what exactly is the 72-hour in print rule? The rule is, essentially, that before a bill can be voted on to become a statute, it must be in print and published on the internet for at least 72 hours. Colloquially, this has been referred to as the 3-day in print rule, but that is incorrect. The language in the constitutional amendment refers specifically to hours, not days. There is an exception made for bills necessary to address a State of Emergency that has been declared by the Governor.

That leads us to the question at hand. During the House of Origin deadline week, the Assembly passed 95 bills that had been amended but had not been in print for 72 hours since being amended. The author of Prop 54 publicly claimed that this action violated the new rules. So what happened to those 95 bills after they left the Assembly?

Of the 95 bills, only three were not amended in the Senate. The other 92 bills were amended in the Senate, which means that when they left the Assembly they were not in their final form. What of the three that were not amended? Those bills returned to the Assembly for what they called a final form vote and that is how the Assembly complied the Prop 54’s 72-hour in print rule.