Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
Published: Monday, Mar. 24, 2014 – 12:00 am

The Legislature reconvened for its election-year session nearly three months ago but so far has been operating in slow motion.

The session has been marked by desultory floor sessions devoted mostly to feel-good rituals and “informational hearings” by committees, many clearly staged to butter up interest groups and/or enhance legislators’ campaigns for re-election or other offices.

Some time was consumed by machinations over two Democratic senators facing criminal charges and their decisions to take indefinite leaves of absence, which erased, for the time being, the Democrats’ Senate supermajority.

The Capitol shifts into a higher, and perhaps more relevant, gear this week as the first of hundreds of bills introduced this year get initial committee airings.

They will be, most likely, the least controversial of this year’s crop of bills, but at least they’ll finally get the ball rolling.

Only a few are being carried by the tiny band of Republicans, because they know from past experience that if they introduce anything substantial, it will either be killed or be hijacked by the majority.

The year’s real action, therefore, will be on bills carried by Democrats, particularly the many measures on the agendas of such Democratic interest groups as unions, environmentalists, consumer activists and personal injury attorneys.

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