How Bills Become Law in the California State Legislature

The California State Legislature is made up of two houses: the 40 member Senate and the 80 member Assembly, representing the people of the State of California.

All legislation begins as an idea or concept. Ideas and concepts can come from a variety of sources. The legislative process begins when a Senator or Assembly Member decides to author a bill.

A Legislator sends the idea for the bill to the Legislative Counsel where it is drafted into the actual bill. The draft of the bill is returned to the Legislator for introduction to the Senate or the Assembly.

A bill is introduced or read the first time when the bill number, the name of the author, and the descriptive title of the bill is read on the floor of the house. No bill may be acted upon until 30 days has passed from the date of its introduction.

The bill then goes to the Rules Committee of the house of origin where it is assigned to the appropriate policy committee for its first hearing. Bills are assigned to policy committees according to subject area of the bill. For example, a Senate bill dealing with health care facilities would first be assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee for policy review. Bills that require the expenditure of funds must also be heard in the fiscal committees: Senate Appropriations or Assembly Appropriations. Each house has a number of policy committees and a fiscal committee. Each committee is made up of a specified number of Senators or Assembly Members.

During the committee hearing the author presents the bill to the committee and testimony can be heard in support of or opposition to the bill. The committee then votes by passing the bill, passing the bill as amended, or defeating the bill. Bills can be amended several times. Letters of support or opposition are important and should be mailed to the author and committee members before the bill is scheduled to be heard in committee. It takes a majority vote of the full committee membership for a bill to be passed by the committee.

Each house maintains a schedule of legislative committee hearings. Prior to a bill's hearing, a bill analysis is prepared that explains current law, what the bill is intended to do, and some background information. Typically the analysis also lists organizations that support or oppose the bill.

Bills passed by committees are read a second time on the floor in the house of origin and then assigned to third reading. Bill analyses are also prepared prior to third reading. When a bill is read the third time it is explained by the author, discussed by the Members and voted on by a roll call vote. Bills that require an appropriation or that take effect immediately, generally require 27 votes in the Senate and 54 votes in the Assembly to be passed. Other bills generally require 21 votes in the Senate and 41 votes in the Assembly. If a bill is defeated, the Member may seek reconsideration and another vote.

Once the bill has been approved by the house of origin it proceeds to the other house, where the procedure is repeated.

If a bill is amended in the second house, it must go back to the house of origin for concurrence, which is agreement on the amendments. If agreement cannot be reached, the bill is referred to a two house conference committee to resolve differences. Three members of the committee are from the Senate and three are from the Assembly. If a compromise is reached, the bill is returned to both houses for a vote.

If both houses approve a bill, it then goes to the Governor. The Governor has three choices. The Governor can sign the bill into law, allow it to become law without his or her signature, or veto it. A governor's veto can be overridden by a two thirds vote in both houses. Most bills go into effect on the first day of January of the next year. Urgency measures take effect immediately after they are signed or allowed to become law without signature.

Bills that are passed by the Legislature and approved by the Governor are assigned a chapter number by the Secretary of State. These Chaptered Bills (also referred to as Statutes of the year they were enacted) then become part of the California Codes. The California Codes are a comprehensive collection of laws grouped by subject matter.

The Reality Behind Amgen Telling Trump That the Company Will Hire 1,600 Workers in 2017

First I saw it in Facebook posts, then in all the major newspapers. Trump's Press Secretary Tweets out that Amgen's CEO indicates Amgen will be adding 1,600 jobs. An L.A. Times story followed up with Amgen that the company plans to hire 1,600 people in the U.S. this year, including both "new skills" folks and to replace folks that have left the company through attrition. Is this really newsworthy?

Let's take a closer look.

The key word here is "attrition." Every company has attrition, also known as turnover. People quit, get laid off, terminated, etc.  What is Amgen's attrition rate? This is not publicly known information, although a State of California Employee Training Panel issued a report showing a turnover rate of 11% in September 2015.

Let's be conservative (not in the political sense) and cut that by about a third, down to a rate of 8%. Amgen has roughly 12,000 U.S. employees out of 19,000 total. At 12,000 employees and an attrition rate of 8%, Amgen would have to hire nearly 1,000 people in the U.S. in 2016 just to replace existing jobs.

That hypothetically leaves about 600 "new" positions, which is great, but not particularly significant for a company of 18,000 employees. Don't get me wrong...it's wonderful that our local pride and joy is hiring. But this is not particularly worthy of major newspaper coverage and a special "Tweet" by the White House Press Secretary.

Amgen trends in headcount compared to revenue generated per employee from 2006 to 2016. (Source: Derived from Amgen Annual Report and 10-K)

Amgen trends in headcount compared to revenue generated per employee from 2006 to 2016. (Source: Derived from Amgen Annual Report and 10-K)

As you can see in the chart above, the trend does not appear to be a friend of jobs. While revenue has grown at a compound annual growth rate south of 5% over 11 years, total headcount has dropped by 4% in the aggregate. This has made Amgen a much more efficient company, at the expense of jobs. But that is typical for a company of Amgen's size to continue delivering value to shareholders - look to cost cutting to offset stagnating revenue growth in order to drive the bottom line.

Most large public companies go through this cycle...grow, grow, grow...stagnate...restructure. In 2014, Amgen announced a restructuring plan involving 3,500 to 4,000 staff reductions and consolidation of facilities in Washington, Colorado and Thousand Oaks.

In any case, it is great to see Amgen hiring. There are currently over 500 jobs listed worldwide for our local Fortune 500 resident in the Conejo Valley. Visit careers.amgen.com to learn more.

And for links to over 300 local employers throughout the Conejo Valley, Greater Ventura County and surrounding areas, visit THIS PAGE.

And on one last marginally related note, here is a compilation of the first sentence of Amgen's annual "Letter to Shareholders" from its CEO over the last 10 years. Maybe it's time to hire a more interesting writer! :) Let's see what the 2016 letter looks like** when published this coming March at investors.amgen.com. Exceptional, landmark, extraordinary, momentous and _____________. What will it be? President Trump might use "tremendous," "incredible" or perhaps, "yuuuuuge!"

** UPDATE: Amgen changed it up a bit with "For Amgen, 2016 was a strong year..."

  • 2015 was a momentous year for Amgen.
  • 2014 was an extraordinary year for Amgen--
  • 2013 was a landmark year for Amgen.
  • 2012 was an exceptional year for Amgen.
  • We're proud of what Amgen accomplished in 2011 - a solid year
  • 2010 was a year of challenges met and promises delivered...
  • In 2009, Amgen...weathered the most challenging economic environment in our 30-year history.
  • 2008 was a good year for Amgen...
  • 2007 was not the year we expected.
  • I am pleased to report that Amgen delivered excellent performance in 2006.

A Look at Websites Owned...and Not Owned...by the 2016 U.S. Presidential Candidates

Back in the early days of the Internet when folks were using dial up connections and AOL, some said that if you were smart, you would buy website domain names associated with your name. I never did, but I'm thinking some folks running for the office of President of the United States wish they had. Let's take a look at the shenanigans.

Jeb, you blew it! JebBush.com redirects to Donald Trump's Presidential candidacy website DonaldJTrump.com. Sneaky, sneaky, Mr. Trump. Bush's election website is Jeb2016.com. JebBush.org and JebBush.net both are just ads.

So DonaldJTrump.com works fine and DonaldTrump.com and Trump2016.com redirect to it. DonaldTrump.net is not currently functioning. DonaldJTrump.org is owned by someone that espouses immigration reform.

Navigate to TedCruz.com and you'll see a large black box with the statement "Support President Obama. Immigration Reform Now!" Ted, ya blew it! Cruz's actual election website is www.tedcruz.org. TedCruz.net is just ads.

ChrisChristie.com is Christie's candidacy page; he ended his campaign on February 10th. ChrisChristie.net belongs to Chris L. Christie, a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist from what appears to be New York. ChrisChristie.org redirects to ChrisChristie.com.

CarlyFiorina.com redirects to CarlyforPresident.com, which is, or I should now say was, indeed Fiorina's candidacy website (she also withdrew on February 10th). But someone else grabbed CarlyFiorina.org, which indicates: "Carly Fiorina failed to register this domain. So I'm using it to tell you how many people she laid off at Hewlett-Packard. It was this many:" Then proceeds to display 30,000 :( frowny faces, ending with "That's 30,000 people she laid off. People with families." CarlyFiorina.net is under construction.

Former candidate (he withdrew February 3rd) RandPaul.com is indeed Paul's candidacy page, with both RandPaul2016.com and Paul2016 redirecting to it.  RandPaul.org redirects to the website of the "American Solidarity Party," the "only active Christian Democratic party in the United States."  His name is not mentioned on the site. RandPaul.net just has ads.

MarcoRubio.com is Rubio's site and he is the only candidate who owns and redirects both the .net and .org domains to his .com site. Nicely played, Marco! Someone named Amber Butler owns Rubio2016.com as a speculative play.

BenCarson.com, MikeHuckabee.com, JohnKasich.com and BernieSanders.com are the candidates' sites, whereas the .net and .org domains are not connected to them. Carson2016.com, Huckabee2016.com, Kasich2016.com and Sanders2016.com are all owned by domain squatters.

HillaryClinton.com is indeed Clinton's campaign website. In December 2015, HillaryClinton.net brought up a full screen image of Trump, Hillary, Bill and Melania, all smiles, with a text overlay of "$ Special Interest Group." As of February 2016, however, HillaryClinton.net redirects to donaldjtrump.com. HillaryClinton.org is a bunch of ads...don't click it. Hillary2016.com is a commentary website not associated with Clinton.

Only 7 States Have More Presidential Primary Delegates Than the U.S. Territories Have

Gotta love U.S. politics. Not one person I talk to understands the presidential primary process that began in January and continues through June 2012. But regardless it is fascinating to watch.

There are 57 presidential primaries. One for each state, except Louisiana, which splits its primary into two (a primary and a caucus). In addition, Washington D.C. and 5 U.S. territories, Guam, Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa, participate in the process.

In addition to the Louisiana caucus, the states of Iowa, Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota, Maine, Wyoming, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota, Kansas, Hawaii, Missouri, Nebraska and Montana, as well as Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and U.S. Virgin Islands hold caucuses.

The difference between a caucus and a primary is that a primary is a statewide process open to all registered voters by secret ballot whereas a caucus is mor

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