Influences Shaping California Legislation (transcript)

Today’s topic is influences shaping legislation in California.

Influencing legislation is a pretty complicated business, and there isn’t any particular model to basically predict whether a bill that is introduced in the California legislature will become law, and if so, what sort of form it would actually take. What we do know is that there are a number of different influences that impact and shape legislation in the state of California.

Our discussion today is looking at some of those factors that are worthy of our consideration, especially in light of developing any sort of legislative advocacy strategies.

When capital observers look at whether legislation will make it through the process, they look at a couple of initial questions. What is current law? That is obviously a legal question. What should be the law? That could be both a policy and/or a fiscal question. And then naturally, what are the politics of that situation that will impact the legislation? That’s naturally a political question.

All of these will have an influence on the shape of the legislation but there are a half a dozen or so particular factors that could impact and form legislation.

Those factors include:

  • The legislator’s political party affiliation
  • The needs and interests of the legislator’s district and constituents
  • The position of Leadership – the Assembly Speaker and the Senate Pro Tem
  • The position of interest groups that are either particularly friendly or unfriendly with the legislator
  • The legislator’s personal philosophy
  • How that legislator’s colleagues might vote on a bill
  • What ties does the legislator have with the bill’s author? Are they from the same party? Geographic regions? Etc.
  • The rules affecting the bill – rules in the house of origin, both houses, and certainly constitutional or statutory rules.
  • The Governor’s position on the bill

I go into more detail about how each of these influences can factor in to whether or not a bill becomes law in the podcast. I hope you enjoy.