Monday, May 4, 2009

California Assembly - What is the "suspense file"?

This post has been one of the most read of any in my blog, so I have updated it for my readers.

Update --- May, 2013

With all of the anti-gun bills wending their way through the legislature, many people winder what the status "placed in suspense file" meant. I did a little searching and found this from the rules of the California State Senate:


Suspense File

The committee, by a majority of the members present and voting, shall refer to the Suspense File all bills that would have a fiscal impact in any single fiscal year from the General Fund or from private funds of $50,000 or more.  Bills that establish a pilot project or program shall be referred to the Suspense File if the statewide implementation of the project or program would result in a fiscal impact of $50,000 or more in any single fiscal year from the General Fund or private funds.
 The committee, by a majority of the members present and voting, shall refer to the Suspense File all bills that would have a fiscal impact in any single fiscal year from any account(s) or fund(s) of $150,000 or more.  Bills that establish a pilot project or program shall be referred to the Suspense File if the statewide implementation of the project or program would result in a fiscal impact of $150,000 or more in any single fiscal year from any account(s) or fund(s).
 For purposes of the above paragraphs, “fiscal impact” shall include cost increases, cost pressures, revenue decreases, increases in appropriations subject to limitation that are restricted in their use and result from increases in tax proceeds, and reductions in the State’s appropriations limit.
 This provision shall not apply to deficiency or supplemental appropriations bills authored by the chair of the Senate or the Assembly Budget Committee or claims or judgments and settlements bills authored by the chair of the Senate or the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Upon two days’ notice in the Senate File, the chair may place before the committee a bill on the Suspense File.
A bill placed on the Suspense File may only be moved to Second Reading by an action of the committee.

The California State Assembly also has a suspense file, for which the rules in the Appropriations Committee are similar:


SUSPENSE FILE

All bills with a fiscal impact in any fiscal year of $150,000 or more will, by a majority of members present and voting, a quorum being present, move to the Suspense File. "Fiscal impact" includes all fund sources.
Authors should present all witnesses and testimony at the time of the bill’s first hearing, even if the bill’s provisions indicate a likely referral to Suspense. Authors may waive their right to presentation.
Suspense bills will be heard at a hearing that normally follows passage of the budget bill. When the bills are placed on the committee’s agenda as "From Suspense File – For Vote Only," no testimony will be taken and the authors need not be present.

In each house the suspense file as a collection of bills that would cost the state more than $50,000 from the General Fund, or $150,000 from any source. At a future meeting of the Appropriation Committee, all bills in the suspense file are then voted on by the committee member one after another, quickly going through the possibly hundreds of bills in the file.  typically, the suspense file is revisited after the budget is passed, so the Senate can know which funds are available to implement new programs.

So the status "suspense file" is real, and it does not mean that the bill is suspended or dead.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Link fail.

Anonymous said...

Please repair LINK

Johnathan Thurman said...

California politicians are a bunch of knotheaded idiots, but what else can one expect from a democrat.