Legislature Returns to Sacramento in One Month

The California Legislature is set to return to Sacramento to resume the second year of the 2021-22 Legislative Session in one month on January 3, 2022. Lawmakers are anticipated to face a number of significant issues upon their return to the Capitol, including issues related to health and human services implementation (e.g., CalAIM, Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative), COVID-19 pandemic response, education, and drought response and emergency preparedness.

Of note, officials and offices occupying the current Capitol Annex have been in the process of moving to a new state office building (termed the “swing space”) about one block from the Capitol in preparation of annex’s demolition and reconstruction. The project is anticipated to take multiple years to complete, with lawmakers expected in the swing space for the next four years. The swing space will house all lawmaker offices, as well as the Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s offices.

Amid the physical move to a new building, California’s nonpartisan Citizens Redistricting Commission continues its work in redrawing congressional and legislative district maps. The commission is anticipated to finalize maps this month, leaving many current officeholders and those seeking political office up in the air.

Numerous lawmakers over the past several weeks have been appointed to new roles or announced new endeavors, at least in part due to vacancies of other offices and redistricting efforts occurring at the state level.

Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Kevin Mullin, representing San Mateo County, recently announced he will be running in 2022 for the congressional seat to be vacated by his mentor Congresswoman Jackie Speier. Assembly Member Rudy Salas, representing Kern and Kings counties, announced he would challenge Congressman David Valadao, and Senator Sydney Kamlager of Los Angeles County recently filed paperwork for the Congressional seat to be vacated by Congresswoman Karen Bass who is running to be the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles.

Governor Gavin Newsom this week appointed Assembly Member Ed Chau of Los Angeles County to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Chau’s appointment follows the departure of Assembly Member David Chiu of San Francisco after San Francisco Mayor London Breed appointed Chiu as the new city attorney. Also, this week, Assembly Member Jim Frazier, representing Contra Costa, Sacramento, and Solano counties, announced he will resign his Assembly seat on December 31 to seek a job in the transportation sector.

With just a handful of weeks remaining before the Legislature returns to Sacramento, 2022 is already shaping up to be a dynamic and eventful year in California government and politics.