Key Provisions of the Legislature’s Internal Rules – The Assembly Rules


By Chris Micheli

Beyond the relevant provisions of the California Constitution (contained primarily in Article IV), as well as applicable sections of the California Government Code, the State Senate and State Assembly are governed by their Joint Rules, the Standing Rules of the Senate and the Standing Rules of the Assembly. This article provides a summary of the Assembly Rules.

Assembly Rules

House Resolution 1 (Cooley), passed on December 5, 2016, adopted the Standing Rules of the Assembly for the 2017-18 Regular Session. The following is a summary of the Assembly Rules with the corresponding rule number at the end of the explanatory sentence. Note that some Rule numbers do not exist.

The general officers of the Assembly are the Speaker, Speaker pro Tempore, Assistant Speaker pro Tempore, Majority Leader, Republican Leader, Chief Clerk, Sergeant at Arms, and Chaplain, and are elected by a majority of all Assembly Members. (Rule 1)

The Speaker determines the time for convening session. (Rule 2)

The Speaker shall call the Assembly to order at the appointed hour. (Rule 3)

Before business is conducted, the roll of the Members shall be called and the Presiding Officer must announce the names of those Members who will be absent that day and the reason for that. (Rule 4)

The person who was the Speaker when the previous regular session adjourned sine die shall be deemed to be the senior member elect, if he or she was re-elected to the Assembly. (Rule 5)

The adoption of the Standing Rules requires a majority vote of all Assembly Members and shall remain in effect unless suspended or amended. (Rule 6)

Rules may be temporarily suspended (but not beyond adjournment). (Rule 7)

A standing rule may not be amended except by a resolution adopted by a majority of the Assembly. (Rule 8)

In cases not provided in the constitution, statutes or rules, the authority shall be the latest edition of Mason’s Manual or the custom and usage of the Assembly. (Rule 10)

Thirty-two standing committees are created. (Rule 11)

All meetings of the Assembly or a committee shall be open and public. The Assembly or a committee may hold a closed session solely for any specified purpose in this rule. Political party caucuses may meet in closed session. (Rule 11.3)

A Member may not participate in a meeting of a conference committee considering any bill that is not open to the public. (Rule 11.4)

The standing committees (except Rules Committee) are investigating committees and are authorized to conduct oversight hearings and to study any subjects or matters which the Rules Committee may assign to them. (Rule 11.5)

The Speaker shall determine the size and appoint the members, chairs, and vice chairs of all standing committees and subcommittees, and shall consider the preferences of the Members. (Rule 12)

There is a Committee on Rules that acts as the executive committee of the Assembly. No Rules Committee member may serve as a standing committee chair at the same time. (Rule 13)

Within two days after the November general election, the caucus of both parties shall meet for the purpose of selecting their officers for the next session. (Rule 13.1)

The Rules Committee has specified powers, including bill referrals, appointing employees, adopting policies, contracting, etc. Rules Committee Chair appoints a Chief Administrative Officer of the Assembly, subject to ratification by the Rules Committee. (Rule 14)

The Subcommittee on Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation Prevention and Response is created under the Rules Committee. It is composed of six members and shall review procedures for handling of complaints. (Rule 14.5)

The Rules Committee continues in existence during any recess and after final adjournment until the next regular session convenes and has the same powers as when the Assembly is in session. (Rule 15)

The Rules Committee annually prepares a report to the public of expenditures. (Rule 15.5)

The Rules Committee contracts for an independent audit of the revenues and expenditures for each fiscal year. (Rule 15.6)

The Rules Committee contracts for an audit of the administrative operations of the Assembly. All findings are made public and to the Members. (Rule 15.7)

The Rules Committee acting unanimously may extend congratulations, commendations, sympathy, or regret to any person, group or organization. (Rule 16)

The Rules Committee is the committee designated by the Government Code. The balance of monies is available to the Rules Committee for any charges or claims it may incur in carrying out its duties. (Rule 17)

A Member or committee may not incur any expense unless authorized. The Rules Committee provides for the manner of authorizing expenditures. Improvements to real or personal property shall be governed by competitive bidding. No out-of-state travel is reimbursed unless authorized. (Rule 18)

All claims for expenses by investigating committees are approved by the Rules Committee. Rules Committee decides rules governing the award of any contract by an investigating committee. (Rule 20)

Each witness summoned to appear before the Assembly or any committee shall be reimbursed at a rate set by the Rules Committee. (Rule 21)

The Assembly General Research Committee is continued as a permanent fact-finding committee pursuant to the Constitution. The committee is allocated all subjects within the scope of legislative regulation and control. The Speaker is the chair. (Rule 22)

The Assembly Legislative Ethics Committee is created. It consists of six Members appointed by the Speaker, three members from each of the two main parties. It details rules for dealing with complaints filed against a legislator. It may initiate an investigation of a Member. The complaint must be verified and in writing. A hearing can be held and evidence can be taken. Legal counsel is allowed. They can issue advisory opinions and must conduct an orientation course governing official conduct. They conduct lobbying ethics training and can impose fees on lobbyists for attending the course. (Rule 22.5)

All requests for the printing of reports of Assembly committees are referred to the Rules Committee. (Rule 23)

Every employee who works for a committee or Member or officer is an employee of the Assembly. They serve at the pleasure of the Assembly and can be terminated at will. All employees must complete the Assembly ethics course in the first six months of employment. Employees cannot engage in outside business activity that is inconsistent, incompatible or in conflict with his or her responsibilities as an employee of the Assembly. (Rule 24)

Accredited press representatives and the public shall not be excluded from any public legislative meeting or hearing and cannot be prohibited from taking photos or recording hearings. (Rule 25)

The Speaker possesses the powers and shall perform the duties set forth in this rule, such as to allocate funds, staffing and resources; appoint members of all committees; establish hearing schedules; and, have general control and direction of the official publications. (Rule 26)

The Speaker may designate any Members of the Assembly to attend funerals and other ceremonies and events. (Rule 27)

The Speaker appoints all non-elected officers of the Assembly, except the Republican Leader, who is elected by his or her caucus. (Rule 28)

The Speaker pro Tempore performs those duties assigned by the Speaker, including presiding over the Floor sessions. (Rule 29)

The Assistant Speaker pro Tempore performs those duties assigned by the Speaker or Speaker pro Tempore. (Rule 29.5)

It is the duty of the Majority Leader to make appropriate motions, points of order and other items necessary to expedite the proceedings of the Assembly. (Rule 30)

The chair of the majority and minority party caucuses perform those duties that are prescribed by their respective party caucuses. (Rule 31)

The Chief Clerk has specified duties, powers and responsibilities, such as keeping record of proceedings, supervising Assembly employees, acting as Parliamentarian, preparing all publications, assisting the Rules Committee with assignment of bills, etc. (Rule 32)

The Sergeant at Arms has specified duties, powers and responsibilities, such as preserving order, announcing messages, supervising assistant Sergeants, and executing all commands of the Speaker. (Rule 33)

In the event of any office vacancy (except Speaker) during a joint recess, the Rules Committee shall fill the office until the session reconvenes. (Rule 34)

The State Printer may not charge any printing or work to the Assembly except upon a written order from the Chief Clerk or the CAO of the Assembly. (Rule 35)

The Chief Clerk is authorized to order the printing of all measures and related documents. (Rule 36)

During session, the Chief Clerk has printed and provided to all Members a complete history showing all actions taken. Clerk also compiles a legislative manual or handbook. (Rule 37)

Whenever the Chief Clerk is directed to transmit copies of resolutions, he or she may do so in specified manners. (Rule 37.5)

The order of business of the Assembly is specified. The Speaker may modify the order. (Rule 40)

At each session, following the prayer, the Members, officers and employees shall pledge their allegiance to the US flag. Guests are invited to join in the pledge by the Speaker. (Rule 41)

The reading of the Journal of the previous day may be dispensed with by a majority of Members. All journals are corrected by the Minute Clerk. (Rule 42)

Whenever documents are presented by a Member, a brief statement of the contents may be verbally made by the author. (Rule 43)

Messages from the Governor shall be delivered to the Chief Clerk and read and printed in the Journal, unless ordered otherwise by at least 54 Members. (Rule 44)

Messages from the Senate are delivered to the Chief Clerk and read and printed in the Journal. The Rules Committee may refer all bills to committee unless 41 Members refer a bill to some other committee. A motion to refer a bill is not debatable. A bill amended in the Senate is placed on the Unfinished Business file. (Rule 45)

These rules do not prohibit the Speaker from permitting the introduction of a special guest. A request that a session adjourn in memory of a person must be made in writing. The request is read by the presiding officer prior to adjournment. (Rule 45.5)

The word “bill” includes a constitutional amendment, concurrent resolution, and joint resolution. Some resolutions are exempt from general rules applying to bills. Resolutions are not “bills” for purposes of Prop. 54’s requirement for 72 hours in print. The 72 hours in print rule applies to Assembly bills when presented on the Senate Floor for a vote upon final passage, and for a Senate bill presented on the Assembly Floor for a vote on final passage. (Rule 46)

Each bill must be signed by each Member who is an author or coauthor before it is introduced. The Chief Clerk assigns a bill a number, reads it the first time, has it printed, and referred to a standing committee, and a copy is placed on all Members’ desks before final passage. The Budget Committee may introduce any number of germane bills. Any other standing committees may introduce a total of five bills each year of the session that are germane to their committee’s jurisdiction. The committee bill must have a majority of committee members’ signatures, including the chair. (Rule 47)

Whenever the author of a bill is no longer a Member of the Legislature, upon request of a committee or current Member, the Rules Committee may authorize the committee or Member to be the author of the bill. (Rule 47.1)

A Member may introduce no more than 50 bills in the regular session, unless the Rules Committee suspends this rule. (Rule 49)

The Rules Committee may refer each bill to a committee by a majority vote, unless a majority vote of the full Assembly refers the bill to another committee. Rules Committee may re-refer a bill to another committee that shares jurisdiction of the subject matter of the bill. (Rule 51)

A bill that, upon introduction, makes no substantive change in or addition to existing law, except a bill stating legislative intent to make necessary statutory changes to implement the budget bill, may not be referred to a committee. Amendments to spot bills may be referred to committee as author’s amendments, but no vote may occur until the bill is in print for at least 15 days. (Rule 51.5)

After introduction and first reading, all bills are delivered to the State Printer. (Rule 52)

All resolutions are numbered and may be referred to the appropriate committee by the Rules Committee. Each resolution must be signed by the author and coauthors. (Rule 53)

A concurrent resolution or a house resolution may be introduced relating to a present or former elected official or a member of the immediate family. Other resolutions are prepared as Rules Committee resolutions and are presented to the committee for action. (Rule 54)

Subject to the Joint Rules, the Assembly Rules govern the conduct of all committee hearings. (Rule 55)

All standing committees meet at the hour and place provided by the Speaker, unless permission to change is granted by the Speaker. When an unscheduled meeting of a standing committee is ordered, it must convene in a readily accessible place for the public and the public should be informed of the hearing being called. No such meetings can occur in the Assembly Chamber. Committees may adopt procedures to hear bills of similar subject matter groupings. (Rule 56)

All bills referred to a standing committee must be set and heard if requested by the author. If author’s amendments make a substantial substantive change to the original bill, the committee shall either hear the bill or re-refer it to the Rules Committee. (Rule 56.1)

Each standing committee must prepare an analysis of every bill it has set for hearing and make the analysis available to the public at least one working day prior to the hearing date. For the Budget Committee and Appropriations Committee, the analysis must be available to the public at the beginning of the hearing. All analyses are provided to the Assembly Floor Analysis Unit. (Rule 56.5)

The committee consultants are responsible for monitoring bills assigned to their respective committee throughout the entire legislative process. Except for resolutions and bills on consent calendar, a consultant must prepare in a timely fashion an analysis of every bill on third reading or on the unfinished business file, as well as any amendment to a bill on third reading. The Floor Analysis Unit is responsible for the final editing. (Rule 56.6)

If the committee chair proposes to recommend any bills for consent calendar, without hearing testimony on the bills, a list of those bills must be made available to the public at the same time as the committee analysis is released. (Rule 56.7)

A majority of a standing committee constitutes a quorum for the transaction of its business, including recommendations to adopt any amendments. Any vacancy shall not reduce the votes required to take action on a bill in that committee. A Member shall advise the committee chair of any disqualification for that Member and the chair shall announce that at the beginning at the hearing. (Rule 57)

After a committee has voted on a bill, reconsideration may only be granted once. Reconsideration may be granted within 15 legislative days or prior to interim recess, whichever occurs first. A majority vote of the committee is required. (Rule 57.1)

All committees must act upon bills referred to them as soon as practicable. The chair must report bills back to the Floor in the same order as they were acted upon by the committee. (Rule 58)

The Appropriations Committee may maintain a suspense file to which bills are referred by majority vote of the committee members who are present and voting. A bill can be taken off suspense file and heard with two days’ notice and a majority vote of those present and voting. Any amendments while on suspense will return the bill to suspense file as amended. No other committee may have a suspense file. (Rule 58.2)

When a committee takes action on a bill, the vote may be by rollcall vote only. All rollcall votes are recorded by the secretary on forms provided by the Chief Clerk. The vote record must be transmitted to requisite places. The bill author can request the roll remain open until the committee meeting adjourns. A bill cannot pass out without a quorum being present, but this rule does not apply in specified instances. (Rule 58.5)

Whenever a bill fails in committee, but the subject matter of the bill is referred for study, the standing committee retains the bill in its possession and reports its recommendation to the Assembly. (Rule 59)

A committee chair may not preside at a committee hearing to consider a bill of which he or she is the sole or lead author, except the Budget Committee Chair may preside at the Budget Bill hearing. (Rule 60)

Specially prepared reports of committees are delivered to the Chief Clerk and are read and printed in the Journal, unless the Speaker orders otherwise. For reports by joint committees, the Speaker must refer the report to the standing committee for review and action. (Rule 61)

All constitutional amendments are referred to the policy committee having jurisdiction of that subject matter and, if the measure passes, then it is re-referred to the committee having constitutional amendments within its jurisdiction. (Rule 62.5)

An Assembly Daily File must be printed for each legislative day and the order of business is provided. All bills are to be called for consideration and all scheduled committee hearings along with their list of bills to be heard must be published in the Daily File. (Rule 63)

A bill may not considered or acted upon on the Floor until a copy of the bill has been distributed to each Members’ desk in hard copy or electronically. (Rule 64)

All bills must be read by title the second time in the order of their appearance on the second reading file. Bills reported out of committee must be placed on the second reading file for the next legislative day. This rule applies to bills and constitutional amendments, but not resolutions. (Rule 66)

Until the Budget Bill is enacted, the Assembly cannot send the Governor any bill appropriating funds for expenditures during the Budget Bill’s fiscal year, except emergency bills recommended by the Governor, or for appropriations for legislative salaries and expenses. (Rule 66.6)

Committee amendments are considered upon second reading and the amendments are adopted by majority vote of the Assembly Members present and voting. Assembly and Senate bills amended on second reading are reprinted and returned to the second reading file. Committee amendments must be prepared by Legislative Counsel, with five copies of the amendments delivered to the Chief Clerk. Revising a bill to only add coauthors is not considered an amendment to a bill. Any Member can be added or removed as a coauthor by written request. (Rule 67)

Upon request of a bill author, the committee chair can have the bill amended, reprinted and re-referred to his or her committee. With such amendments, the bill is not placed on the second reading file. (Rule 68)

If a proposed bill amendment on the floor is submitted, the Rules Committee chair may re-refer the bill and amendments to the Rules Committee, upon request of the bill’s author. (Rule 68.1)

A vote on passage of any bill in a committee can only be taken when the bill is in print. The only exception is to add coauthors or if the committee determines the effect can be readily understood. (Rule 68.5)

A bill or resolution cannot be considered on third reading until an analysis of the measure has been distributed by the Floor Analysis Unit and placed on the Members’ desks, unless otherwise ordered by the Speaker. (Rule 68.6)

A report of a conference committee on any bill other than the Budget Bill that recommends a substantive amendment cannot be considered until an analysis has been distributed by the Floor Analysis Unit and placed on the Members’ desks, unless otherwise ordered by the Speaker. (Rule 68.7)

A conference report may not be heard by the Assembly until it has been in print for 72 hours prior to being taken up by the Assembly. (Rule 68.8)

A conference committee on a bill, other than the Budget Bill or the trailer bills, may not approve any substantial policy change if that substantial policy change has been defeated in a policy committee of the Assembly during the current legislative session. (Rule 68.9)

Any Member may amend a bill during its second or third reading, which motion is approved by a majority of those Members who are present and voting. Amendments offered from the floor are not in order until a copy of the proposed amendments have been placed on the Members’ desks. This rule does not apply to amendments to add coauthors. Before debate, five copies of the proposed amendments must be delivered to the Chief Clerk. Substantive change amendments must be submitted by 5pm or the time of adjournment the business day before the start of session at which the amendments will be heard. An analysis must be prepared and must be distributed to each Member prior to the debate. There are specified exceptions, such as adding or deleting an urgency clause, contingent enactment amendments, Budget Bill amendments, etc. A motion to amend on the floor is not in order the last two days before the January 31 deadline or the last seven days before the interim recess or the final recess, unless this rule is suspended by 2/3 majority vote. The rule does not apply to adding or deleting an urgency clause or “chaptering” amendments. (Rule 69)

Any bill to amend the Political Reform Act may not be passed until the bill has been in its final form for 12 days prior to being considered. These bills must be provided to the Fair Political Practices Commission and must be distributed to the news media and interested persons. (Rule 69.1)

There are specified requirements for bills that amend the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act. These bills may not be passed until the bill has been in its final form for 14 days prior to being considered. Passage requires 56 votes on the Floor. (Rule 69.2)
Any requirement that bills, amendments, reports, or analyses be placed on the desks of Members is satisfied by electronic distribution via computers on Members’ desks. (Rule 69.3)

Whenever a bill that has been amended is reported out of that committee, then it is placed on the second reading file and cannot be placed on third reading until the following day. (Rule 70)

A bill may not be placed on the consent calendar unless it meets the requirements of the Joint Rules. (Rule 71)

A resolution may be amended by a majority vote of the Members present and voting. (Rule 73)

Any resolution upon which a rollcall vote is demanded requires 41 votes of Members. (Rule 74)

When any house resolution is before the Assembly, it may be printed in the Journal only if amendments have been adopted. Otherwise, they are referred to by day and page in the Journal. (Rule 75)

A Senate bill cannot be voted upon for final passage unless it has been published on the Internet in its final form for at least 72 hours prior to the Assembly vote. The only exception is when the Governor declares that the bill is necessary to address a state of emergency. This rule does not apply to resolutions or constitutional amendments. (Rule 76)

Concurrence in any Senate amendment to an Assembly bill requires the same vote as the Constitution requires for passage of the bill. A concurrence vote cannot be taken until the bill has been on the unfinished business file for at least one calendar day, except during the last two days of Session. Concurrence votes cannot occur until an analysis has been distributed by the Floor Analysis Unit and a copy is placed on Members’ desks and the bill has been published on the Internet in its final form at least 72 hours prior to the vote, except if the Governor deems the bill necessary to address a state of emergency. (Rule 77)

Whenever the Senate amends and passes an Assembly bill, the Legislative Counsel shall within one day prepare a brief digest summarizing the effect of the Senate amendment. The digest must be printed in the Daily File immediately. (Rule 77.1)

If the amendment analysis adopted on the floor states that the amendment makes a substantial substantive change to the bill as passed by the last committee, it may be referred by the Speaker to the appropriate committee. If the Senate made a substantial substantive change in a bill that first passed the Assembly, the bill may be referred to the appropriate committee. (Rule 77.2)

Whenever a bill has been passed twice on the third reading file on two successive legislative days, it is placed on the inactive file. An author can request to place a bill on the inactive file. An author can request the bill to be returned to the third reading file with notice published one day in advance. A bill can be placed on inactive that was on the second reading file or the unfinished business file. (Rule 78)

The Engrossing and Enrolling Clerk must engross and enroll bills in compliance with the Government Code. Chief Clerk reports the day and time each enrolled bill is presented to the Governor. (Rule 79)

When a question is under debate or before the Assembly, no motions can be received, except the motions set forth and in the order provided. (Rule 80)

All incidental questions of order are decided by the Speaker without debate. (Rule 81)
Any Member may appeal from a decision of the Speaker without waiting for recognition. An appeal needs a second and then the Speaker gives his or her reasons for the decision and the Member may give his or her reasons for appeal. Then the question is presented to the membership. A majority vote of the Members present and voting decide the outcome of an appeal. (Rule 82)

Speaker may explain the order of business when a motion pending is not debatable. (Rule 83)

A motion to adjourn is not debatable and may not be amended. It is always in order, except when another Member has the floor, when voting is taking place, or during a call of the Assembly. The details of the adjournment motion are entered in the Journal. A motion to adjourn requires a majority vote. Prior to adjourning, any Member may state a fact relating to the condition of the business of the Assembly, but is limited to two minutes and is not debatable. (Rule 84)

A motion to recess to a time certain is treated the same as a motion to adjourn, except that the motion is debatable and can be amended as to the time and duration. (Rule 85)

A motion to lay on the table is not debatable and may not be amended. A motion to table any measure requires 41 votes of the Assembly. A motion to lay an amendment on the table is adopted by a majority of Members present and voting. (Rule 86)

The previous question is put forth only when demanded by five Members and when sustained by a majority of those Members who are present and voting. It puts to an end all debate and requires a vote. (Rule 87)

A motion to set any matter before the Assembly as a special order of business is adopted by 54 votes. The motion is debatable only as to the propriety of setting the special order. (Rule 88)

A motion to postpone to a time certain is treated as a motion to set as a special order. (Rule 89)

The making of a motion to postpone indefinitely any measure or amendment opens the main question to debate. It requires 41 affirmative votes. (Rule 90)

A motion to amend may itself be amended. A motion to substitute is deemed a motion to amend. Any motion to amend is adopted by a majority of those present and voting. (Rule 91)

An amendment to any bill, other than a bill stating legislative intent to make statutory changes to implement the Budget Bill, is not in order when the amendment relates to a different subject or requires a title essentially different than the original bill. A motion or proposition on a subject different from that under consideration may not be admitted as an amendment. An amendment cannot change the original number of any bill. A Member cannot be added or deleted as an author or coauthor without his or her consent. (Rule 92)

A written or oral motion may not be adopted until it has been seconded and distinctly stated. (Rule 93)

Upon request of the Speaker, all motions must be in writing and read to the Assembly by the Speaker before being acted on. (Rule 94)

After a motion is stated, or a measure read by the Clerk, it is in the possession of the Assembly. (Rule 95)

A motion to withdraw a bill from committee or re-refer it to another committee may be made during the regular order of business. Such a motion may be debated and requires 41 votes to pass. A motion to withdraw a measure from committee may only occur after it has been approved by a majority vote of the Rules Committee. This does not apply to a bill in the Appropriations Committee that has been amended so that it is no longer fiscal. (Rule 96)

A motion to re-refer a measure on file to committee may be made during the regular order of business. The motion is debatable and requires 41 votes. (Rule 97)

A motion to strike a bill from the File requires 41 votes. Then the bill cannot be acted upon again during the session. (Rule 98)

Any action may be rescinded and its record expunged so long as it is done before the Journal has been approved. (Rule 99)

A motion to reconsider a vote on the next legislative day must be made on the same day the vote to be reconsidered was taken. It requires a second and 41 votes to pass. It takes precedence over all motions, except to adjourn. Motions to reconsider are not in order on the last two legislative days preceding the interim recess. A motion to reconsider can be taken up the same legislative day by another Member with 41 votes of the Assembly. (Rule 100)

Any Member may move a call of the Assembly prior to the announcement of the vote. It can be ordered by a majority of those present and voting. The Speaker will order the Sergeant at Arms to lock the doors and bringing the absent members. A recess or adjournment may not be taken during a call of the Assembly. A call can be dispensed with by a majority vote of those present and voting. (Rule 101)

Any Member may call for a division of the question and the Speaker orders the question divided. The rule does not apply to an individual measure. (Rule 102)

Every Member shall record his or her vote openly and without debate, unless the Assembly excuses the Member by a majority vote of those Members present and voting. A Member may not operate the voting switch of any other Member, except for the presiding Member. A Member may submit a written explanation for the Journal of less than 51 words in length why he or she chose not to vote. Public censure can occur for those who refuse to cast a vote. A Member may add his or her vote to any previously announced vote that has been taken so long as the outcome is not changed. This must occur prior to adjournment on the same legislative day and without objection from any other Member. The Chief Clerk handles all such requests. (Rule 104)

The ayes and noes are recorded by the electronic voting system for all measures. The names of the Members and how they voted are entered in the Journal. (Rule 105)

Voting cannot be interrupted, and any Member may move a call of the Assembly after completion of the roll. (Rule 106)

In the case of a tie vote, the measure fails passage. (Rule 107)

When a Member wants to address the Assembly, the Member rises from his or her seat and respectfully addresses the Speaker. Once recognized, he or she speaks to the question under consideration. The Speaker decides the order of Members. A Member shall not speak more than once during the debate, except that the author may speak at the open and close of debate. A maximum of five minutes is allotted to Members to speak. A Member may not yield any time to another Member. (Rule 108)

Members must conduct themselves in accordance with the rules of decorum per Mason’s Manual. The Rules Committee may adopt additional decorum rules by majority vote. (Rule 108.1)

When a Member desires to make a motion, the Member must first get recognized and then opens on the motion, but cannot speak to the merits of the motion, only to explain the motion. If the motion is in order and is seconded, then the motion can be debated. That Member cannot demand the previous question when concluding remarks. (Rule 109)

A Member may not be absent from any session of the Assembly without leave of the Assembly. 54 votes or unanimous consent are required for the absence to be excused. When on personal business, the Member waives per diem. When on legislative business, the Member must file with the Speaker a statement of the legislative business and it is printed in the Journal. If a Member is more than 30 minutes late to Session, he or she is required to stand before the Assembly and explain the reason that he or she is late. (Rule 110)

Any Member may rise to explain a matter of personal privilege, which is a matter involving the Member’s integrity, dignity or honor. Matters of personal privilege only yield to recess or adjournment motions. (Rule 111)

Any Member recognized may object to the reading of any paper before the Assembly. When that objection is made, the question is determined without debate by a majority of Members present and voting after the Speaker has made a brief statement. (Rule 112)

A Member or other persons are not allowed at the Chief Clerk’s Desk when votes are being recorded. (Rule 113)

If any Member violates the Assembly Rules, the Speaker or any Member may call the offending Member to order. The Member must take his or her seat and the Speaker makes a ruling, which is subject to an appeal to the Assembly. (Rule 114)

The Assembly may act as a Committee of the Whole at any time by majority vote of those Members present and voting. Non-Members may address the Assembly. The Speaker or a designee shall preside. (Rule 115)

The Assembly Chamber may not be used for any public or private business, other than legislative matters, except upon approval by the Speaker or the Chair of the Rules Committee. (Rule 116)

The smoking of tobacco products is prohibited within any building occupied or used by the Assembly and its employees, as well as within five feet of the building entrance or exit. (Rule 117)

While on the Assembly Floor during any session, or while serving on a committee during a hearing, Members cannot use a cell phone to make or receive calls, or to send or receive text messages from any lobbyist. (Rule 117.5)

A person, other than a peace officer, may not carry or possess a firearm on the Assembly Floor or in a committee hearing. (Rule 117.7)

With specified exceptions, persons are prohibited from the Assembly Floor during any sessions. A guest of a Member may be admitted with a guest card signed by the Speaker. They must be seated in the seats and not be in the lobby of the Chamber. No persons may engage in influencing the passage or defeat of legislation in the Chamber, other than Members. A lobbyist may not be admitted to the Chamber while the Assembly is in session. (Rule 118)

Proper attire is required of Members, officers, employees, and the press for admission to the Assembly Floor. Rules Committee may adopt policies. (Rule 118.1)

41 votes are required to determine the qualifications and election of any Member. A motion to disqualify a Member is not in order at the convening of a legislative session until the Speaker has been elected. (Rule 119)

If a Member of the Assembly is convicted of a felony, his or her right to compensation is suspended and committee memberships are suspended. The Rules Committee notifies the Controller about payments. If the conviction is reversed, then the payments are repaid to the Member. (Rule 120)

The Seal of the Assembly may be used only by or on behalf of Members of the Assembly or when authorized by the Rules Committee. (Rule 121)
Any report required or requested to be submitted by a state or local agency to Members must be submitted electronically to the Chief Clerk. (Rule 122)

Chris Micheli is an attorney and registered lobbyist with the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor at McGeorge School of Law.


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