California lawmakers wrapped up their work for the year early Saturday morning, with sweeping new legislation to address issues from illegal immigration to the state's housing crunch — with hundreds of bills being debated and decided in the final 48 hours.
Leaders of the state Senate and Assembly praised the work of the Legislature in remarks after the final gavels fell in both houses.
"I think this has been an historic year for all of our accomplishments," said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) just after 2 a.m. Saturday. "We put our values into action."
This was the first year of the Legislature's two-year session. Lawmakers now return to their home districts and aren't scheduled to return to Sacramento until January.
Two of the year's most talked-about efforts both happened in the closing 48 hours of the legislative session.
Lawmakers gave final approval to a bill curtailing communication between local law enforcement officers and federal immigrations officials, often dubbed the "sanctuary state" measure, SB 54. And they approved a package of bills aimed at addressing California's growing affordable housing crisis, including funds generated by a new real estate transaction fee and a $4-billion bond that voters must approve next year.
The year also saw the Legislature approve a number of other notable new laws:
- A sweeping law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in July that extends the state's landmark cap-and-trade climate change program until 2030.
- A $52-billion transportation plan agreed to in April, funded by a new annual vehicle fee and an increase in the state's fuel taxes.
- A $183.2-billion state budget that boosts both several government programs and adds money to the state's cash reserves.
Several closely watched proposals passed in the Legislature's final hours of work are now headed to Brown's desk, though it's unclear whether he will sign them into law.
They include a number of efforts to push back against the policies of President Trump's administration — from guidelines on campus sexual assault enshrined in federal law by former President Obama to bills designed to allow California to step in and embrace environmental and land-use policies that Democrats fear could be discarded by Republicans in Washington.
"We're wrapping up what may be the most progressive legislative session in memory," Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) said in his closing floor remarks early Saturday morning.
Lawmakers ultimately rejected a number of other closely watched proposals, from a hotly debated effort to push back school start times for high schoolers to new rules regarding the release of police body camera video to the public.
The final day of the legislative calendar for 2017 crept beyond the traditional midnight deadline and included a small bit of controversy in the Senate. There, Republicans claimed that Democrats had failed to follow the proper procedure to continue beyond midnight — a charge that stalled the proceedings for more than half an hour. Democrats later said the rules allowed debate on the final bills to continue.
Brown now has until Oct. 15 to sign or veto bills sent to his desk. While he rarely endorses bills during their debate in the Legislature, the governor has historically signed most of the bills sent to him by lawmakers.