The Great Culling: Which California Bills Did Legislators Kill?

California lawmakers won’t be creating a state Election Day holiday this year. Nor will they be providing grants to local governments to convert public golf courses into affordable housing, or forcing health insurers to cover fertility treatments.

All of these proposals were victims of the seasonal culling of bills known as the suspense file. This stately and secretive process, led by the Senate and Assembly appropriations committees, serves as a final fiscal review before any legislation expected to have a significant cost to the state is sent to the full chamber for a vote.

In fast and furious hearings on Thursday that stretched for two hours, the committees ran through the fates of nearly 1,000 bills, offering no explanations for their decisions and, in many cases, no formal announcement at all that a measure was held.

The results had already been determined in private deliberations. The suspense file, among the most opaque practices at the Capitol, allows legislative leaders to not only shelve proposals that are too expensive, but to also more quietly dispatch those that are controversial or politically inconvenient, particularly in an election year.

About 220 bills were shelved. The bills that made it through — more than 700 of them — now face another looming deadline next week to pass out of their house of origin. If successful, they will move to the other chamber for further consideration.

Here are some of the notable measures that are not advancing this session:

Election Day holiday

Five times Assemblymember Evan Low, a Campbell Democrat, has tried to create a state holiday for the November election, closing schools and giving public employees paid time off to vote. And five times the bill has been held on the Assembly suspense file, including again this year.

Assembly Bill 1872 was slightly different from several of its predecessors in that it would have swapped out Presidents’ Day with an Election Day holiday in even-numbered years, rather than simply adding another day off, thereby lowering its cost. But with every California voter now being mailed a ballot in every election, the urgency for such a plan has diminished considerably.

A separate measure to create a state holiday for Juneteenth, Assembly Bill 1655 by Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer, a Los Angeles Democrat, advanced to the floor, however.

Affordable housing

If a powerful interest group swings hard enough at a bill, they just might kill it. That’s what happened when nearly 80 local, regional and national golf groups, as well as several organizations that favor local control over housing development, coalesced against Assemblymember Cristina Garcia’s Assembly Bill 1910

The measure targeted the state’s hundreds of municipal golf courses, many of which are operating at significant financial losses, as prime locations to help the state build its way out of its housing shortage. It would have offered grants to local governments to convert their golf courses into housing, at least a quarter of which would have to be affordable to low-income families. The result wasn’t too surprising: everyone wants affordable housing, until it threatens to come to their backyard — or local golf course.

— Manuela Tobias

Fertility treatment

Assemblymember Buffy Wicks’ push to require health insurers to cover fertility treatment, including costly in-vitro fertilization, fell short for the third time in four years.

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters


  1. Whew! Now for all those other bills…

  2. Robin Itzler says

    Since California gives voters several WEEKS to vote by mail, drop the ballot in a box, go to a voting center, etc. etc., giving a day off for “Election Day” is ridiculous. If the state truly wants to minimize voting fraud, which it doesn’t, there would be an Election DAY. I agree with President Donald Trump and others who say we should have ONE DAY for voting – as it once was. What we have now is “Fraud Season.”

    • barb harden says

      Well said and Fraud Season seems to apply to all the bills before the current leadership who believe the rules they pass do not apply to them i.e. no masks, eating at French Laundry etc.

  3. Given the absolute failure of the gov to plan for storing water, adding dams and now stating the whole state will be paying (literally and figuratively) for abysmal leadership, it is no surprise that the golf courses will remain. I have no problem with that, my issue is, when we have had years of drought and limited access to water…the golf courses always remain Green. The farmers have to fallow their fields but the golf courses remain green. Plus, the gov states household water will limited in the coming years. Makes me wonder if those in office will feel the impact and limited household water allowances?

  4. Really??? says

    barb, many of the coastal golf courses use recycled water, as do cities use it in parks.

    If we could get more desal, the amount of water for Ag. uses would go up. But then again the Dem’s have scuttled yet another plant. Hummm are not these the same types that refuse to admit oil drilling has reduced hydrocarbon leaks from Pt. Conception to Long Beach (both on land and ocean) that were there before the Spanish appeared?

    Until the Socialist Command Economy is done away with the Dem’s will continue to destroy eveything in their wake.

  5. Mr_ Pickle says

    Watching the committee process, in person on many, over the years, it is VERY clear that how they vote HAS already been decided behind the scenes by the Majority party. They only go through the motions because they have to, by law and cut off public comment if a Bill is opposed to just a few Californians as they already decided the fate of the bill if committee supports or opposes. Not fair to folks in So Cal that fly or drive the 400 mile to have their 2-3 minutes for comment.. Grrrrrrr………. Worse in Conference Committee hearings……….. Californians are just plain stupid is all I can say by voting in same folks year after year for idiot Democrats, and hope the change the vote to put more balance of both parties. Interesting that the Female elected Sen/Assy members with hyphenated names are the nastiest. No clue why. To FIX Ca, we need much more balance of partisans…. PERHAPS THE FUEL COSTS RIGHT NOW WILL CHANGE THEIR MINDS. Along with all the other FEES they keep raising year after year, and NO water sources for storage, 3rd world electrical grid, and excessive UNFAIR Fair Plan homeowners insurance, raising DMV costs, and last a $2.00 increase for Lead Acid Batteries – hence over 100,000 new batteries sold in this state. You do the math for a quick 2 million more for there coffers…………. Add all of this you your NET pay check as loss, plus 8% Sales Tax and 8% inflation, it steals 16+ % or your NET pay check. Last, the huge TAX OVERPAYMENTS in reserve which SHOULD be returned to the people.

  6. john kindseth says

    FRAUD began with motor-voter. Voter fraud at the DMV is rampant. Mailing ballots to everyone who has a mailbox is putrid and highlights fraud which is now the hallmark of Kalifornia voting.

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