Senate, Assembly Form Separate COVID-19 Expenditure Oversight Committees

Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon on Thursday released a joint statement indicating they are organizing committee hearings prior to the Legislature’s return to Sacramento to increase oversight on how funds are being spent during the COVID-19 pandemic. In their statement, Atkins and Rendon noted, “We strongly believe the Governor and his team are working diligently on the behalf of Californians, but we promised the people of California we would provide this oversight when we passed emergency COVID-19 funding in March.”

Senate President pro Tempore Atkins announced the formation of the Senate Special Budget Subcommittee on COVID-19 Response to be led by Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Committee Chair Senator Holly Mitchell. Full membership of the subcommittee has not yet been made available. The bipartisan subcommittee will hold its first hearing on Thursday, April 16 at 2:00 pm and will include a review of the state’s COVID-19 spending, including spending authorized by the Legislature in March. The Department of Finance (DOF) and the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) will also participate in the hearing.

On Friday, Assembly Speaker Rendon announced the formation of the Assembly’s COVID-19 budget oversight subcommittee. Its first hearing will be held on Monday, April 20 at 10:00 am. Few details regarding the subcommittee and its upcoming hearing were available at the time of this publication.

Given the need for continued social distancing, several members of each subcommittee will be expected to participate remotely. The public, including media, is also encouraged to watch the hearings online and submit public testimony prior to the hearings.