California state lawmakers approved a measure early Saturday that would move the state's presidential primary up several months to the beginning of March, potentially granting California significantly more sway in the nominating process.
The legislation now goes to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, for consideration. It was unclear if Brown would sign the bill into law, according to The Los Angeles Times.
If Brown signs the measure, California would likely hold its presidential primaries before spring on Super Tuesday, when several other states hold their votes. That would force candidates to compete in the nation's most populous state early on in the nominating contest.
California's current primary schedule puts the state's voting in June, typically weeks after the eventual Republican and Democratic presidential nominees have rounded up the delegates to secure their name on their party's ticket.
"California is the most populous state in the nation, the most diverse state in the nation and has the largest economy of any state in the nation. And we ought to have a significant say in who the nominees for president are," California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) told CNN.
Moving up the state's primary has the potential to dramatically alter the presidential race early on. For example, candidates could be forced to focus more heavily on issues, like climate change and environmental protection.
State lawmakers also passed a measure that would require presidential candidates to release their personal income tax returns before they can appear on the ballot in the state. Brown has not indicated whether he will sign the measure, but it has wide support among Democrats.
If Brown does sign that measure, President Trump would be forced to make public the tax returns that he has long refused to release if he runs for reelection in 2020.
Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMeghan McCain: 'SNL' parodies made me feel like 'laughing stock of the country' Hill: Trump reelection would spur 'one constitutional crisis after another' Trump defends indicted GOP congressman MORE clinched the 2016 Democratic nomination in early June just before California primary voters went to the polls. She ended up receiving about 53 percent of the vote in the primary.