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California Legislature

'Sine die' arrives in Sacramento, the official end to the 2014-16 session of the California Legislature

 (Los Angeles Times)
(Los Angeles Times)

The last day of November in an even-numbered year is almost always quiet in the Capitol, but it's a big day according to state law: The end of a two-year legislative session.

Midnight marks what the California Constitution calls sine die, the final official day of the session that began on Dec. 1, 2014. For all 80 members of the Assembly and half of the 40-member Senate, this is the last day of their term in office.

Twenty members are leaving due to term limits. Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) tweeted a goodbye to his constituents.

More than 5,000 pieces of legislation were introduced over the last two years, but slightly less than half became law with the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown.

While the end of session is generally considered to be in late August or early September, depending on the year, Nov. 30 is the official changing of the guard. Rarely have lawmakers returned to Sacramento after election day in a lame-duck session. Last week, the brief speculation of last-minute work on a transportation funding plan came to an official end.

Alex Vassar, a historian of the California Legislature, has calculated that the concluding session had the least collective experience in office since 1927 — a function, Vassar said, of the large freshman class elected under relaxed term limits in 2012. But because those lawmakers can serve up to 12 years in the same office, the average time on the job will steadily rise in the next few years.

New and returning lawmakers will take the oath of office on Monday morning.

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