Capitol Crunch-Time

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(Sacramento, CA)
Sunday, June 3, 2007

For Assembly Republican Leader Mike Villines, it’s a throwback to his University days:

"It's just like, you know, finals week in college.  Everybody is running around preparing, and everybody’s trying to get their bills out.”

Friday is the deadline for bills to be passed out of the house they originated in.  Usually those that don’t make it are dead for the year.  

“It’ll be a busy week – we’re going to have to work, you know, 100 bills a day.”

Those will be long days.  Just ask veteran Republican Assemblyman Roger Niello:

“I remember one session last year I arrived home and I was walking up to my door and the newspaper boy handed me the newspaper as I walked into the house.”

No surprise, things can get a little testy.  Democratic Assemblyman Kevin De Leon has the tough job of managing the flow of bills on the floor:

“Long hours, no food, no rest, and a lot of polarizing issues I think that’s a recipe right for crankiness.”

It may be a lot like finals week – but Republican Assemblyman Rick Keene says sometimes he feels like one of the few who’s done the homework:

“You know, it would be nice if people did their work a little bit ahead of time, instead of waiting for 500 bills all in one week. That obviously cuts down on people’s ability to debate and deliberate on the issues.”

He says two or three weeks would make more sense when such weighty policy matters ranging from taxes to healthcare to same sex marriage are being decided.  But despite the challenges, Assembly Republican leader Villines says the week will also present lawmakers with an opportunity to show they can do their jobs:

“This gives us a chance to show that we can be adults, work together – we have strong disagreements, but Democrats and republicans can get together and do the people’s business.”

After Friday’s deadline, bills that make it though will start the process all over again in the other house.