The California Legislature will get right to work when it reconvenes today after being in recess for several months. First comes the annual state budget, which Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to unveil later this week.
Shortly after that, Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Rendon will formally be elected Assembly speaker. The move is largely a formality, as the Democratic caucus selected Rendon to succeed Democrat Toni Atkins last September. In March, Rendon will be officially sworn in.
In addition to regular business, both the Senate and Assembly must address two ongoing special legislative sessions. One deals with transportation infrastructure, an issue that many lawmakers agree is a problem. But fewer agree on the solution. Various solutions to California's crumbling roads have been proposed. But any tax increase would need the support of the Republicans, something that might be hard to come by.
The other special session deals with health financing issues, including a fix to the state's managed-care organization tax, which funds Medi-Cal. The federal government says the tax does not meet its standards and must be revised. If the Legislature doesn't take action by this August, California could lose about a billion dollars from the federal government.
The tax isn't the only issue tied to the special session. In September, lawmakers took the opportunity to pass a bill allowing for physician-assisted suicide. The measure had stalled during the regular session. But because it was approved during the special session, it cannot take effect until 90 days after the session is adjourned. Right now it's unclear when that will be.