California Legislature going back to work next week to pass state budget

Legislative committees are returning the state capitol next week to begin the work of passing a state budget by June 15, as mandated by law.
Eyewitness Newsmakers checked in with Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who was in Sacramento. Legislative committees are returning the state capitol next week to begin the work of passing a state budget by June 15, as mandated by law. The California Constitution does not allow absentee or remote voting. Plans are in place for physical distancing for the legislative session.

You may be sheltering in place, but by May 4, the California Legislature is going back to work to pass the state budget by the June 15 deadline. Rendon explained our Constitution was confident a budget will be passed on time.

"We're going to pass the budget on time," Rendon said. "We're not only mandated to do so, but it's something that we feel we need to do. We need make sure we have our priorities in order ... we need to make sure schools know the extent to which they're going to be funded. Social service programs know they're going to be funded as well. So we're going to hit the June 15th deadline and getting back into session as early as possible is a way of doing that."

Rendon would not speculate how they'll account for the expected drop in revenue.

"We're going to take a realistic look at our budget, pass the budget by June 15 based on our revenue projections, which we know are going to be lower. But those conversations are what we're just starting to have right now."

Rendon acknowledged the tremendous pressure to ease stay-at-home orders. Expansion of coronavirus testing is key to making that decision.

On testing, the speaker said, "We expect to be up to about 25,000 tests per day on May 1st. The goal is to get as close to 100,000 by summer. The protocol is who gets tested, where and all those types of things are still working out."

Rendon said, "There is a tremendous, tremendous economic decline throughout the state; throughout the country. We know that cities are suffering. We know that school districts are suffering. Ultimately what we want to do is to make sure that we, get our society up and running again. Businesses open so that people can go back to work. Schools open, so that children can can start learning again. We think that those pieces are essential. But at the same time we don't want to make matters worse, by rushing into things so we're going to make sure that the virus is to a certain extent, under control and that we have the means to keep it under control before, before moving in that direction."
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