State lawmakers alter votes on budget, gun bills

SACRAMENTO — While the state Legislature remains in session most of the year, action on the most high-profile bills tends to be clustered in the days leading up to several deadlines.

Unsurprisingly, it's during those periods of fast-paced votes to approve state budget legislation and to keep bills alive by sending them to the opposite chamber that lawmakers most often want a do-over on their votes.

Through the first half of this year's legislative session, budget-related bills dealing with corrections, the court system, mental health programs and dental care for low-income adults were among the measures that generated a significant number of altered or added votes after a bill's fate had been decided.

Gun-control measures also saw a handful of vote flips, as did various bills at the end of May when the chambers considered dozens of bills during all-day sessions.

The vote-switching practice, called to attention last year after an Associated Press investigation, has a long history in the Assembly and gives lawmakers political cover: They can vote one way on a bill or avoid voting altogether when it matters, only to add or change their vote after the fact. That allows them to present an official record to their constituents that may be at odds with how they acted at the time the bill passed or failed.

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