Please use this document to answer questions before you contact the committee staff. Thank you!

When does the Senate Appropriations Committee meet?

The Senate Appropriations Committee meets every Monday at 10 a.m.  Our regular “hearing season” is typically early April through the May fiscal deadline, and late June through the August fiscal deadline.

What bills are referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee?

Pursuant to Joint Rule 10.5 all bills with a fiscal impact, as determined by Legislative Counsel, are referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee after they have been heard in their respective policy committees.  This can include bills that appropriate money, result in substantial expenditure of state money, or result in a substantial loss of revenue to the state.  The committee may also request other bills for fiscal reasons despite a determination by Legislative Counsel that a bill is “non-fiscal.”  Examples include bills related to property taxes, worker’s compensation, trial courts, and local employee retirement.

What is Suspense?

The Suspense File process has been a part of the Committee Rules since the mid-1980s as a way to consider the fiscal impacts to the state of legislation as a whole.  The committee analysis indicates whether a bill’s fiscal impacts meet the criteria for referral to the Suspense File.

Bills that meet the Committee’s Suspense threshold will be placed on the Suspense File after testimony is taken at a regular-order hearing.  A vote-only Suspense Hearing will be held prior to the deadlines for fiscal committees to hear and report bills to the Senate Floor.  Bills will either move on to the Senate Floor for further consideration or be in held in committee and under submission.

At the Suspense File hearing bills are taken up alphabetically by author.  There is no public testimony.

What is the fiscal threshold for Suspense?

Generally, if the cost of a bill is determined to be $50,000 or more to the General Fund or $150,000 or more to a special fund, the bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File.  The fiscal thresholds for suspense apply to the impact on any fund in any fiscal year.

What does 28.8 mean?

Under the provisions of Senate Rule 28.8, if the Chair determines that any state costs of a bill are not significant, the measure will be sent directly to the Senate Floor for Second Reading without a hearing in the committee. There is no public analysis prepared for bills that are approved by the Chair pursuant to Senate Rule 28.8, because there is no public hearing.

Does the Appropriations Committee have a Consent Calendar?

No, not in the traditional sense.  A consent calendar is used by many legislative committees to dispense with one or more non-controversial measures that are scheduled for hearing (those with no previous “no” votes and no opposition).  Typically, the Chair and Vice-Chair determine which bills to propose for consent, and the committee votes on all of those measures in one batch, without member presentation or public testimony.  The Senate Rules (S.R. 28.8, as discussed above), provide the Chair of the Appropriations Committee with unique authority to send bills with low cost and revenue impacts directly to the Senate Floor without a hearing.  This is widely viewed as being a substitute for a consent calendar, which we do not have, but there are distinctions.

In what order will the bills be heard during a regular order hearing?

We hear bills in file order.  Bills will be heard in numerical order by author as listed in the Senate Daily File.  Once an author is called upon to present a bill, that author may take up any other bills they may have on file for that hearing.  There will be no sign-up sheet.  As is customary, any members of the committee that have bills on the agenda go at the end of other authors' presentations, or if no other authors are present.   

What is “Waive Presentation” and how does it work?

If a bill meets the requirements for Suspense authors may request that their bill(s) be referred to the Suspense File without presentation.  The request by the author’s office to waive presentation must be submitted in writing to the committee by 5:00 p.m. the Thursday prior to the hearing, and shall note each bill to be waived and the relating clause. (Sample Waive Presentation Letter)  The Sergeants will have an agenda with all of the authors waiving presentation posted at the hearing.

Please note that if an author chooses to waive presentation there will still be an opportunity for testimony by all interested parties, including members of the public and the Department of Finance, prior to any committee action.  Testimony may occur in the absence of the author.

How does public testimony work at a regular order bill hearing?

Anyone desiring to convey support or opposition to a bill on our agenda is welcome to testify before the committee.  Testimony shall focus on the fiscal impact of a bill before the committee.  When appropriate, the chair may limit individual witness testimony and limit the number of witnesses speaking substantively for or against a bill.  The limit will apply equally to both proponents and opponents.  There will also be an opportunity for additional witnesses to simply register their support or opposition on a bill for the record.

When is the deadline for submitting support or opposition letters?

The fiscal analyses prepared by the Appropriations Committee staff do not list support and opposition, so we do not have a deadline to receive position letters.  Any letters submitted to the committee will be retained as part of the committee’s legislative record.

Please see Position Letters for more information.

What is the deadline for author’s amendments?

Amendments are due to the committee the Tuesday prior to a Monday hearing by 12:00 p.m. and should be emailed to the committee assistants (Jennifer.Douglas@sen.ca.gov and Briana.Diaz@sen.ca.gov) and the consultant working on the bill.  Please send one complete secure PDF from Legislative Counsel (amendments, digest and in-context).  Please also send one scanned copy of the amendments with the author’s signature in the upper right hand corner of the first page, there is no need to provide a hard copy of the amendments to the committee.

How can I get a video copy of a committee hearing?

All committee hearings are televised.  If you would like to request a video copy of a hearing, please contact Senate TV directly at (916) 651-1531.  There is a small fee. 

Archived video recordings of our hearings can also be viewed at http://senate.ca.gov/video-on-demand.

When are the analyses available to the public?

Analyses are available outside the hearing room (1021 O Street, Room 2200).  The analyses may also be found at www.leginfo.ca.gov the day of the hearing.

How can I make an appointment to meet with one of the committee consultants?

Please call the committee’s direct line at (916) 651-4101 and ask to speak with the specific consultant.  You may also email the consultant directly.  Each consultant schedules their own meetings.  Please see the Committee Staff Assignments.

Who are the members of your committee and how can I contact them?

A complete list of the committee members and their contact information can be found under the Member Roster on the home page of our committee website.

Who is your Republican Consultant?

Please contact the Republican Caucus at (916) 651-1501 to find out who in their office is working on a particular bill.