As a bill introduced in the first year of the two-year legislative session (2011-12), AB 1208 had to be approved by its house of origin (the Assembly) by January 31, or else die by operation of the state constitution. The bill had been sitting on the Assembly Floor since last May, and had been the focus of incredibly intense lobbying by, among others, the Alliance of California Judges and organized labor in support, and the Judicial Council, California Commission on Access to Justice, California Chamber of Commerce, and the presiding judges of virtually all California's smaller counties in opposition.
Most commenters - even the strongest proponents and opponents - noted candidly that the bill was "unfinished," "imperfect," and needed further work. The question for many appeared to be whether to pass the bill along to the Senate for further consideration, and stop it and revive the dialogue with other legislation. After an extended period of the bill remaining "on call" awaiting sufficient votes, the 41-vote threshold was reached and AB 1208 lived to continue its journey in the Senate.