Misconception Monday – Floor Actions

In today’s penultimate episode of Misconception Monday, we will be exploring common misconceptions about the California legislative process related to floor actions. As always, you can find my other Misconception Monday podcasts here.

The first misconception is that legislators in either house of the California Legislature can change their vote on bills that have already been considered. The Assembly allows its members to add or change their votes after the final vote has been announced, so long as that final outcome in the Assembly is not impacted. Pursuant to Senate Rule 44, the State Senate has a slimmed down version of this. Only the President Pro Tem of the State Senate and the Republican leader are allowed to change their votes, but again, only so long as the final outcome of the bill is not affected.

Another misconception is that all bills without opposition are placed on the Consent Calendar. The two houses of the California Legislature have different rules handling bills on the Consent Calendar. Under Senate Rule 28.3(a), if a Senate bill or Assembly bill is amended in the Senate to either create a new bill or to rewrite the bill, then a standing committee may not place the bill on its Consent Calendar.

A third misconception, and the last one that I will cover here – you’ll need to listen to the brief podcast for the rest of the misconceptions – is that parliamentary inquiries and points of personal privilege are the same. This is not the case. A parliamentary inquiry is a procedural question posed by a legislator during a committee hearing or a floor session. On the other hand, a point of personal privilege is an assertion by a member of the California Legislature that his or her rights, reputation, or conduct has been impugned, thereby entitling the member to repudiate these claims.

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