The number of bills introduced by members of the California Senate by Friday’s deadline was the lowest number in the first year of a biennial session going back to 1989.
Senators introduced 793 bills by Friday, compared with 813 filed in 2013. The Assembly had 1,504 bills filed, an increase from the 1,430 introduced in the lower house in 2013.
Capitol insiders are citing a few possible explanations for the decline in the Senate, including the fact that there are currently three vacancies caused when members were elected to Congress.
In addition, voters in 2012 changed the term limits law to allow new lawmakers to serve longer in one house, up to 12 years, so legislators may not feel the same urgency to push through all their priorities as quickly.
Previously, senators could serve eight years and Assembly members six.
In addition, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D- Los Angeles) has called on colleagues in the upper house to devote more time this year to oversight on the effectiveness of existing laws, which could take up time previously spent pushing through new laws.
In the flood of bills this year, some themes have emerged. Four bills have been introduced on the subject of legalizing Internet poker in California, a possible sign that this is the year something will happen.
Lawmakers are also writing many bills to help the poor. Among them is a measure by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) that would eliminate the state sales tax on diapers, which she estimated would save families as much as $100 annually.
Privacy in the world of expanding technology is also an emerging theme.
Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) introduced a bill this week that requires that consumers who buy applications on their smartphone and tablet with GPS functions be given clear notice of how their location information will be used and requires that they give their express consent before their geolocation data can be collected and shared.