The California Senate held two hearings Thursday as part of special legislative sessions ordered by Governor Jerry Brown. The sessions will deal with infrastructure and health financing. But some lawmakers wonder what they will accomplish.
Both special legislative sessions will likely deal with taxes or fees in some form. But the discussions will take place outside of the regular budget process. That leaves some lawmakers wondering whether there’s a point to the special sessions. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins says it’s useful to have a specific focus.
"Everybody has a proposal or idea for how something should be done, much like when we were doing the water bond," she says. "I hope we’re successful, I hope we can try. I think it’s really important for the state."
The Assembly Republican caucus has introduced a plan to pay for infrastructure improvements without raising taxes. And caucus leader Kristin Olsen says Republicans will take the same approach with health financing.
"We will be prepared to engage in committee during the special session on health care," she says. "But I will tell you there is no interest among Republicans to raise taxes in order to fund priorities that should have been taken care of the state budget."
Republican votes would be needed to pass any bill that includes a tax increase.