A nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California’s policies and politics

Laurel Rosenhall

Bitter or sweet, trailer bills let California lawmakers slip new policies into budget

“Trailer bills,” said Sen. Richard Roth—referring to pieces of legislation tied to the budget but often bearing little connection to it—“are a box of chocolates. And you never know what you’re going to get.” Surprises abound each year as lawmakers craft the annual budget that keeps the state running. While most of the budget involves big-ticket items such as how much to spend on public education ($74.5 billion) or health care for the poor ($105.6 billion), a few extra nuggets are always thrown in that don’t involve much money but make significant policy changes.

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