Forty years ago, when Jerry Brown was in his first term as California’s governor and I was a cub reporter covering the capitol, he had a reputation for agonising over his legislative decisions right up to the last minute. As he went on to a second term, and then a third and fourth, he and his office became more disciplined and efficient, and usually finished working through the stack of bills sent by the legislature with time to spare.
Not so this year. I can only speculate, but it doesn’t take much of a crystal ball to see that a week of the worst fires in California’s history would throw even the most meticulous work plan out the window.
So, we’re still waiting to learn what will become of assembly bill 1665 and senate bill 649, two major broadband bills written by lobbyists representing deep pocked telephone and cable companies, and passed with varying degrees of enthusiasm by the California legislature.
Brown’s office issued a legislative update late this afternoon, listing which bills had been signed into law and which were vetoed. Neither AB 1665 or SB 649 were on it. But as the deadline nears, the proportion of vetoed bills tends to go up, and this year is no different: 31% of the bills on this afternoon’s list were vetoed, versus 26% yesterday and 25% the day before. It’s very possible Brown could veto both.
Or he could do nothing and let them become law automatically at the stroke of midnight, two hours from now.
His office might or might not put out another update tonight. Even though the decision will be made, by action or default, we might not get positive confirmation until sometime tomorrow.
It’s still a waiting game.