McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli

Generally, the committees deal with legislation before passing measures to the floor of either the Senate or the Assembly. However, there are rare instances where legislators choose to return a bill to committee when that measure is pending on either floor. There are times when legislators desire to pull or withdraw a bill out of committee and place it on the floor of the Senate or Assembly. As you would expect, there are rules governing these processes in each house.

In the Assembly, pursuant to Assembly Rule 96(a), a legislator can make a motion to withdraw a bill or resolution from committee or to re‑refer a bill or resolution from one committee to another committee, during the regular order of business on the floor. The motion to re‑refer a bill from the floor to a committee may be debated only as to the propriety of the reference of the bill to that particular committee. Now, Assembly Rule 96(b) provides that a bill or resolution may not be withdrawn from committee and placed upon the daily file unless a motion to withdraw has been heard and approved by a majority vote of the Rules Committee. This subdivision does not apply to a bill in a fiscal committee, that’s been amended so as not to require its reference any further to that fiscal committee.

Under Assembly Rule 97, a motion to re‑refer a bill or resolution that’s on the daily file to committee may also be made during the regular order of business on the floor. There are analogous rules in the Senate.

These procedural motions are necessary, in order to properly conduct business in an orderly fashion on the floors of the Assembly or Senate. They’re sometimes used by minority party legislators to try and force a public vote on a bill, perhaps that was defeated in a policy committee, and that they would ideally like to see debated on the floor of the Senate or Assembly. However, these motions are rarely successful.

You can find the full transcript of today’s podcast here.

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