Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee has a characteristically smart column today about the end of California's legislative session, which looks like the usual mad last-minute rush and juggling act. Many big issues -- water, redistricting -- remain unresolved, but the big enchilada is a comprehensive health coverage bill.
The Democratic legislature is going to pass a bill, which Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger is going to veto. Now, you may recall that Schwarzenegger has gotten a fair amount of press this year for being one of the GOP governors who wants to move forward with universal health coverage.
Schwarzenegger's plan is to veto the Dem bill, then immediately call everybody back into special session, perhaps starting as early as next week, to work out a compromise. I want to be the first to go on record as saying this won't happen.
Why? First of all, we know what a tough deal universal health bills are. The Bush administration's tightening of the rules on SCHIP aren't going to help states any in this regard. More importantly, however, is the fact that if they don't have a deal this week, they surely won't get one next week.
It's true that all kinds of deals that didn't happen for months suddenly come about rather easily in the hectic closing days of a session. But deals almost never happen during special sessions. The only successful special sessions seem to be ones that ratify deals that have already been brokered before they start. That's clearly not the case here.