By Alan P. Kyle
California Bill Tracking For Privacy Professionals
Privacy professionals have a limited timeline to reach compliance with the broad new regulations under the California Consumer Privacy Act. With over a dozen new CCPA statutes and amendments proposed, there is keen interest in CCPA lawmaking developments. Knowing the momentum and likelihood of what proposed regulations will become law provides a valuable advantage for any organization as it determines how to become compliant. This guide is meant to help privacy professionals keep track of the large volume of privacy laws headed their way.
The first part of this article describes the context and status of where bills are currently in California’s legislative process. The second part of this article is a practical guide for tracking bills and keeping current with developments throughout the lawmaking process.
The Legislative Process, June-January
The Legislative Calendar has reached the halfway point and has crossed the May 31st “house of origin” deadline, the last day for each house to pass bills introduced in that house. After passing their house of origin, bills move on to the next house where they will undergo the same committee process as before. For example, bills passed by the Assembly have now been ordered to the Senate and will be discussed across different committees, potentially amended, and finally voted on by the Senate during a floor session.
If an Assembly Bill passes the Senate without amendments, it will be sent to the Governor, who has until October 13th to sign it into law, not sign it and allow the measure to become law, or to veto the bill. January 1st, 2020, is the first day those bills become enforceable.
If the Senate chooses to amend an Assembly Bill with substantive changes it will be returned to the Assembly for concurrence. The Speaker will send the amendments to the appropriate committee to recommend concurrence or nonconcurrence, or hold the bill in committee. If the Assembly committee does not concur, a “committee on conference” consisting of three members of each house will be held to negotiate the measure. A similar process is applied to Senate Bills amended by the Assembly. Committees on conference follow a detailed procedure and are outlined in Joint Rules 28.1–30.7.
Creating a Bill Tracker
Leginfo is a state operated website that serves as a repository for California statutory law. It also provides status information of bills undergoing the legislative process. The following steps will show how to use Leginfo to fill in the bill tracking grid shown below. It takes the most relevant bill tracking information on Leginfo and displays it at a glance.
There are three steps to creating a bill tracker:
1) Create a Leginfo account at leginfo.legislature.ca.gov and log in.
2) From the homepage, click on My Subscriptions. Where it says ADD A NEW BILL TO TRACK: put in the bill measure number and click Submit. On the next menu click Select All to receive an email notification every time an action is taken on the bill. This information is used to keep the tracker grid updated as bills progress through the legislature. Privacy professionals will want to add the bills found on this FPF list and/or this IAPP list. Note that these lists do not include the CCPA-related bill, AB-1665.
3) Add relevant tracking information to the grid by copying information in the Status tab of each bill’s information page and pasting it into the appropriate cells of the tracker grid. See the screenshot below.
These bullet points connect each column on the example grid to their corresponding location on Leginfo:
- Information for Bill and Author can be found in box 1.
- Information for Status is found in boxes 2 and 3.
- Committee Hearing, if a date is set, will appear in the History Action in box 4. Full History Action details can be found in the History tab of a bill’s information page.
- Description information can be adopted from the aforementioned FPF and IAPP lists or interpreted from the bill text, found in the Text tab.
The History Action may show unfamiliar phrases like “second reading” and “third reading.” Bills on second reading are waiting to be re-referred to another committee or ordered to third reading. Bills on third reading have passed the committee process and are eligible for floor action by a roll call vote. In other words, they can be voted on by the house as a whole during a floor session. Floor sessions are generally on Mondays and Thursdays.
Unfortunately, Leginfo often updates many hours after lawmakers take action on a bill. The only way to get updates in the moment is to either attend a committee hearing or floor session, or to live stream those meetings. Live streams can be found on the Senate and Assembly websites the day of a hearing or session. If attending a committee hearing in person, the room number and time of the meeting can be found in the Daily File of the Senate or Assembly, depending on which house the bill is in. The Daily File also contains other valuable information such as the legislative calendar, bills on third reading, and committee membership.
The Analysis tab on Leginfo gives an excellent review of the potential impact a bill has, covering arguments for and against the measure. A new analysis is required every time a bill gets amended.
By calling a lawmaker’s office, a friendly staffer can answer questions about an Assembly Member or Senator’s bill. Office phone numbers can be found in the Daily File.
Past hearings and sessions can be streamed from the Media Archive: https://www.assembly.ca.gov/media-archive
Legislative Calendar, 2019:
Legislative process walkthrough:
Alan P. Kyle currently works as a legislative intern at the California Capitol. A graduate of UC Merced 2018, he studied Economics and Sociology. He is motivated by the goal of making the internet safer and more trustworthy, and by understanding the new legal challenges brought about by technology on a global scale. With the internship program finishing at the end of September 2019, he is looking for his next opportunity to work in privacy and internet law.