Senate Bill 828 (Wiener), a high-density housing bill, was heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 14th and the committee referred the bill to the Suspense File.
Senate Bill 828 (Wiener), a bill that would dramatically raise the number of housing units that jurisdictions must plan for, was heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 14th. The committee referred the bill to the Suspense File. Any bills that have a fiscal impact of more than $50,000 or more than $150,000, depending on the source of the funds, end up in the Suspense File. SB-828 is scheduled to be heard again in the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 25th for a vote only without testimony.
On May 25th, each Suspense File bill will be either passed as is, passed with amendments, or held in the committee. The Chair of the Appropriations Committee will only announce a vote on the bills that are recommended to pass off the Suspense File, either “as is” or “with amendments”. The bills that are held in committee are never announced publicly and so there is actually no vote to hold a bill on the Suspense File. In other words, bills that are "held", rather than "passed", are essentially killed without a recorded vote.
Hence, on May 25th, it will be known whether or not SB-828 passed through to the Senate Floor or died in the Suspense file. In the mean time, opponents can attempt to sway the small group of decision-makers, described below, to hold SB-828 on the Suspense File.
The Decision Makers:
Final decisions regarding the bills coming off or staying on the Suspense File are generally determined by the Appropriations Committee Chair and leadership team of the respective house with input from a number of sources, such as the members of the committee, the Vice Chair and minority leadership, committee staff, authors with bills pending before the Committee, and other interested parties.
To better understand the Suspense File process, please read the following two articles:
"Where bills go to die: Today lawmakers will clear 'suspense file' for hundreds of measures in limbo" by John Myers, LA Times
"The Suspense File Process Used in Considering Fiscal Legislation" by Chris Micheli, Cal News