California lawmakers returned to work today after an extended summer recess. Officials were originally scheduled to resume the session on July 13 but postponed their return due to the pandemic.
This was the second time that the current legislative session was interrupted by COVID-19. Legislators return to Sacramento with a lot of contentious issues on their plates.
They are working on the state’s pandemic response with proposals that address a variety of coronavirus related concerns. Lawmakers are also considering bills to ban police from using controversial measures like tear gas and chokeholds. And, they are looking to amend the state budget so they can help school districts pay for distance learning programs in the fall. One proposal would shield districts from liability for students or staff who get infected after a school follows safety guidelines.
All of this comes after the legislature already cut nearly 9% out of the new state budget to account for pandemic-related losses.
The current session is scheduled to end on August 31. That gives elected officials only five weeks to work on new bills. The tight calendar also means that most standing committees will only meet once. Some lawmakers hope to rectify this by asking Governor Gavin Newsom to call them back for a special session.