After floor sessions today, legislators will leave for recess, marking the fourth year in a row lawmakers have been able to count on an uninterrupted break after enacting a state budget. The last extended battle over the budget came in 2010, a 100-day standoff that lasted until October. Voters responded with Proposition 25, which stripped the minority party of its power to block the annual spending plan.
With no budget battle looming, lawmakers can head home to their districts to spend the month with families and constituents. But for some, the break will not be without some official business. In past years, legislators have used the gap to travel to conferences, retreats and workshops for interest groups or political parties.
Several lawmakers have already penciled in trips for this July. Assembly GOP leader Connie Conway plans to travel to Colorado for theRepublican Legislative Campaign Committee's national meeting from July 17-19. Across the aisle, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, will travel to Oakland for a mid-July speech during a lunch at the California Democratic Party Executive Meeting in Oakland.
It's also possible that some July junkets have yet to be scheduled. A Pacific Policy Research Foundation trip that brought six legislators to North Dakota in August came together last year at the last minute. Roy Ashburn, an executive for the organization, which once organized a trip to Hawaii, said its booked no July trips but did not rule out the possibility that one could still be put on the calendar.
Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been visiting family in Michigan with First Lady Anne Gust Brown, will embark on an excursion of his own in July. Brown plans to leave at the end of the month for a four-day trip to Mexico where he's expected to address climate and trade.
VIDEO: The state Senate should examine its own hiring practices before turning its focus to the state workforce, Dan Walters says.
FREQUENT FLYERS:The Senate Appropriations Committee plans to meet during today's floor session to discuss an aerospace tax break that would apparently benefit Lockheed Martin and Boeing. How the subsidies would be financed and their effect on smaller contractors has become a subject of concern for some. Dan Walters has more on the controversy in a column earlier this week. The Senate will meet at 9 a.m.
47 ARRESTS LATER: As legislators leave for July, so too might the campaign finance protesters who have camped out on the corner of L and 10th Streets for more than a week. Since they arrived on June 22, activists have been arrested nearly 50 times for refusing to leave the Capitol building, according to Kai Newkirk, co-founder of 99Rise, an organization supporting the protest. The group will decide whether to fold its tent after an expected Senate vote on a ballot measure asking voters if they favor a constitutional amendment to address election spending.
Newkirk said activists met with staff from the governor's office yesterday and have received support from several lawmakers, including Senate leader Darrell Steinberg and Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance.
CELEBRATIONS: A happy birthday to Assemblyman Richard Gordon, D-Menlo Park, who turns 66 today, and to Sen. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood, who will be 62.
'HEAL OUR LAND': Religious activists plan to gather for a July 4th prayer rally protesting the federal government's overreach on moral and economic issues. The demonstration, sponsored by Operation American Spring, will begin at 2 p.m on the South Steps of the Capitol. The activists will return for a second rally on July 5th at 10 a.m.
PHOTO: Travelers check in at the United Airlines ticket counter at Terminal 1 in O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press