January 6, 2022 California lawmakers returned to the State Capitol this week to begin the second of the two-year legislative cycle. Being an election year, and coupled with the recently redrawn legislative district lines, there is likely to be unpredictable shifting and political gesturing from all levels of government. Many lawmakers now find themselves living in the same districts as their colleagues, forcing them to evaluate their political futures. The first shakeup of the session came when State Assemblymember Lorena Gonzales (D – San Diego), chair of the powerful Assembly Appropriations Committee, resigned from her seat to lead the California Labor Federation. State Senator Connie Leyva (D – Chino), who has played an integral role in expanding abortion services in recent years, also announced she will not seek re-election. Next week, Governor Newsom will be presenting his 2022-2023 State Budget proposal to lawmakers, his fourth while in office. Most are keeping watch to see how Newsom proposes to allocate the State's estimated $31 billion surplus (resources in excess of current law commitments). He and the legislature will then work toward passing a final budget by June 15. The California Catholic Conference will be tracking issues and bills arising in the Legislature impacting reverence for life, family and marriage, human dignity, education, restorative justice, environment, and the practice of faith in the public square. Visit www.cacatholic.org for more.