By: Chris Micheli
With 2017 drawing to a close, it seems fitting to do a recap of the 2017 Legislative Session by the numbers. Specifically, I’ll be looking at the numbers in terms of bill introductions, end of session statistics, and the Governor’s actions.
On the topic of bill introductions, we saw 2,495 bills introduced before the February 17th bill introduction deadline. That is up from previous years, even taking into account that there are more bills introduced in the first year of the Legislature’s two-year session. The Legislature introduced about 200 more bills in the 2017 session than they did in 2015 or 2013 – 2,297 bills and 2,256 bills, respectively. It’s worth noting that the Assembly did increase its cap on bill introductions from 40 bills in the two-year session to 50 bills.
Let’s now turn to the end of session statistics, which I’m breaking out into the two houses of the Legislature. 817 bills were introduced in the Senate. Of those, 514 were passed by the Senate. Only three of those bills were refused passage on the Senate floor. That leaves about 300 Senate bills as two-year measures, which can be considered again in January of 2018, but must be passed out of the Senate – their house of origin – by January 31, 2018. That same deadline applies to Assembly bills from 2017 that became two-year measures.
1,733 bills were introduced in the Assembly, 970 of which passed out of the Assembly. Only 9 were refused passage on the floor, leaving 763 as two-year measures that may be considered by January 31st, 2018. That comes out to 56% of the Assembly bills introduced being passed out of the Assembly, with only 0.5% failing passage. That compares to 63% of Senate bills passing out of their house of origin, and only 0.4% failing to do so. You can listen to my podcast to learn about the most, and least, prolific bill authors in each house as well as which standing committees had the largest and smallest number of bills that were originally referred to them.
That leaves us with the Governor’s actions on bills. 37.5% of the bills introduced in the Assembly reached the Governor’s desk, and 32.7% of the total Assembly bills were signed into law. Only 4.8% of Assembly bills were vetoed. On the Senate side, 39.9% of bills reached the Governor’s desk, 35.7% were signed, and 4.2% were vetoed. So, based on the numbers, you had better odds of having a Senate bill passed in 2017 than an Assembly bill.