Late last week, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) announced that the Legislature is extending its joint recess to Monday, May 4, 2020 (see “Legislature Extends Recess to May 4” in the current Fiscal Report).
However, on Thursday, April 9, the legislative leaders announced that they are planning on hosting committee hearings focused specifically on the state’s COVID-19 response before the full Legislature reconvenes for floor sessions in May.
The Senate has already announced that its newly created Senate Special Budget Subcommittee on COVID-19 Response will hold its first hearing on Thursday, April 16, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. in the state Capitol. The bipartisan committee will be led by Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), the chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee.
The hearing will include a review of the state’s COVID-19 spending, including the spending authorized by the Legislature via emergency legislation on March 16 (see “Legislature Passes Emergency Legislation Related to COVID-19” in the March 2020 Fiscal Report). The Department of Finance and the Legislative Analyst’s Office are also scheduled to testify at the hearing.
The Senate press release states that some members of the subcommittee are expected to participate remotely in order to follow social distancing guidelines. Before the Senate went on its recess they approved Senate Resolution 86, which permits senators and the public to participate in hearings remotely during the COVID-19 emergency. It is important to note that the Assembly did not approve a similar resolution before they recessed, which may create a potential roadblock in their ability to conduct hearings remotely.
It is unlikely that the Legislature will conduct any other policy or budget committee hearings, aside from COVID-19 related hearings, until they return for session in May. We will keep you posted on these hearings and provide updates on any new developments of the state’s COVID-19 response.