California lawmakers return from their month-long summer recess Monday and they’ve got a lot of heavy lifting to do in the next four weeks.
The list of big-ticket items starts with two special legislative sessions called by Gov. Jerry Brown when he announced a budget deal in June. One would raise money for highway and other infrastructure projects. The other would fund California’s program that provides health care for the poor.
Then, there’s the debate over how to spend a big chunk of revenue from the state’s cap-and-trade greenhouse gas emissions program.
"It’s a heavy agenda," says Michael Cohen, the governor’s top budget aide. "But we have a month to get it all done, and people have been having good conversations, and all of these issues are very important, so we’re hopeful that we can get it all done."
There are also hundreds of bills making their way through the Legislature – including measures that would regulate medical marijuana and set new greenhouse gas reduction mandates.