It's a good thing they didn't need to take the high school graduation test in civics today, because members of the Assembly would have flunked.
Last week the Senate passed a series of midyear budget actions, designed to shave about $5 billion off the state's projected $20 billion budget shortfall. All the Senate votes were taken on bills that had originated in the Assembly and were amended in the Senate. If you took an American government class in high school, you probably know what needed to happen next: To send the bills to the governor, the Assembly needed to agree with the Senate amendments.
Instead, inexplicably, Assembly Budget Chairwoman Noreen Evans began taking up a series of Senate bills, amending in the same language that had been passed by the Senate. There was some debate about the bills, including customary complaints by some members that they hadn't had sufficient time to review what they were voting on. Assemblyman Charles Calderon, a veteran lawmaker, chided the critics, saying the language had been in print since Friday and they should be fully briefed by now. "This is the big leagues," he said.
Meantime, Senate Budget Chairwoman Denise Ducheny wandered up to the presiding officer and had an animated conversation. Thereafter, Majority Leader Alberto Torrico announced that the Assembly had been voting on the wrong bills. They expunged those actions and then took up the Assembly-originated bills they were supposed to have been voting on from the start.
Asked Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries: "Is this what the big leaguers do?"