Pending legislation can potentially impact you, your business interests, or those of your client. Knowing how to search pending legislation to identify bills that could help or hinder your interests is important, and easy to do if you follow these steps:
Go to www.leginfo.ca.gov. This site conveniently searches both Senate bills and Assembly bills simultaneously. There is no need to duplicate your searches by going to the Senate webpage or State Assembly webpage.
Click on “bill information". If you already know a bill number you want to search, you can enter the bill number. However, if you are just starting your search you probably don’t have a particular bill number identified, or the name of the legislator who has authored the bill. Simply select “keyword" as the type of search you want to conduct, and enter the keywords you want to search in pending legislation.
As in any “keyword" search, the more specific your keywords, the narrower your search will become. For example, if you are interested in searching legislation concerning “homeowner associations", you can enter those words and get a list of all pending legislation containing those words. If your interest is “homeowner association assessments", you will get a shorter list of bills to review.
In response to your keyword search you will get a list of bill numbers. Click on a bill number to access the bill’s status, its history, the bill text in “html" or “pdf", analysis of the bill by a particular committee prior to its hearing, or Floor analysis prior to its presentation on the Floor of the Assembly or Senate. You can also click on “Votes" to get an actual roster of how Legislators voted on the bill in Committee or on the Floor, and indicating whether the bill passed or failed.
Based on your review of the bills containing your keywords, you can then decide whether you wish to “subscribe" to the bill. It costs nothing to subscribe, and you do so by clicking “subscribe" and entering your email address. Whenever the bill is amended or set for a hearing, you will be sent an email notifying you of the activity. There is no limit to the number of bills to which you can subscribe, and the website will even keep a list of your subscribed bills that you can retrieve. You can “unsubscribe" from a particular bill at any time.
Legislative Sessions are for two years, e.g 2009-2010, 2011-2012, etc. During each session you should periodically do a keyword search on your subject of interest even if you already did a keyword search previously that identified bills containing your keywords. Because a pending bill can be amended at any time, a bill that was of no concern 60 days ago could have been amended to seriously impact your issue. The only way you will know if such an amended bill poses a new threat, is to periodically perform a new keyword search, and see if there are new bill numbers presented. After you review these new bills you can then determine if you need to subscribe to them.