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Crunch Time Begins For California Lawmakers

Aired 9/3/13 on KPBS News.

The California Legislature enters its home stretch Tuesday. Lawmakers have just two weeks left to tackle hundreds of bills before they adjourn for the year – including some that are quite controversial.

It’s finally the time of year when committee hearings come to an end, and all-day floor sessions begin — day after day, until lawmakers adjourn at the end of next week. But they’ve got some big issues to tackle first — none bigger than prisons. Two competing plans propose different ways of responding to a federal court order requiring the state to reduce overcrowding in its prisons.

Other bills the fates of which are still up in the air include fracking regulations, a minimum wage increase, several gun and ammunition control measures, and changes to the California Environmental Quality Act.

And there’s always the chance that brand-new bills will emerge out of thin air at the eleventh hour through the process known as “gut-and-amend.”

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