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lobby.jpgA handful of lobbyists sat before a television in a Capitol hallway as the Legislature convened this morning for final budget debates, where 10 times as many might have minded the goings-on in previous, more contentious years.

One casualty of a frictionless budget, it would seem, is any drama on the constitutional deadline to pass a spending plan.

Lawmakers approved the state's main, $96.3 billion budget bill on Friday, four days after Democratic leaders reached agreement with Gov. Jerry Brown. Lawmakers were casting final votes today on trailer bills required to implement the plan.

With a lack of remaining controversy about the budget - only Republicans, a super-minority, raised significant objections - lawmakers were trying to move quickly to start their abbreviated weekends.

Among the lobbyists in the hallway was Vanessa Cajina, of the Western Center on Law and Poverty. She said she likes to be present when votes happen, and the number of lobbyists around her increased to about a dozen by the time the Senate convened.

Still, a budget debate just isn't the same when it occurs at 11 a.m. on a Saturday.

For one thing, "Chops isn't open," Cajina said, referring to the popular restaurant/watering hole across from the Capitol.

PHOTO: Lobbyists watch Assembly proceedings on a television in a Capitol hallway on Saturday, June 15, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders



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