California State Legislature

Last updated
California State Legislature
2021–22 session
Seal of California.svg
Type
Type
Houses Senate
Assembly
Leadership
Eleni Kounalakis (D)
since January 7, 2019
Toni Atkins (D)
since March 21, 2018
Senate Minority Leader
Shannon Grove (R)
since March 1, 2019
Anthony Rendon (D)
since March 7, 2016
Assembly Minority Leader
Marie Waldron (R)
since November 8, 2018
Structure
Seats120
40 senators
80 assembly
California State Senate Composition 2019-20.svg
Senate political groups
  •    Democratic  (30)
  •    Republican  (9)
  •   Vacant (1)
California State Assembly Composition.svg
Assembly political groups
Elections
Senate last election
November 3, 2020
(20 seats)
Assembly last election
November 3, 2020
Senate next election
November 8, 2022
(20 seats)
Assembly next election
November 8, 2022
Meeting place
Californiastatecapitol.jpg
California State Capitol
Sacramento, California
Website
leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

Coordinates: 38°34′36″N121°29′36″W / 38.576572°N 121.493411°W / 38.576572; -121.493411

Contents

California State Assembly chamber California State Assembly room p1080879.jpg
California State Assembly chamber
California State Senate chamber California Senate chamber p1080899.jpg
California State Senate chamber
A few volumes of the journals of each house (Senate is red; Assembly [lower chamber] is green). Californialegislaturejournals.jpg
A few volumes of the journals of each house (Senate is red; Assembly [lower chamber] is green).

The California State Legislature is a bicameral state legislature consisting of a lower house, the California State Assembly, with 80 members; and an upper house, the California State Senate, with 40 members. [1] Both houses of the Legislature convene at the California State Capitol in Sacramento. The California state legislature is one of just ten full-time state legislatures in the United States. [2]

The Democratic Party currently holds veto-proof supermajorities in both houses of the California State Legislature. [3] The Assembly consists of 60 Democrats and 19 Republicans, with one vacancy, while the Senate is composed of 30 Democrats and 9 Republicans, also with one vacancy. Except for a brief period from 1995 to 1996, the Assembly has been in Democratic hands since the 1970 election. The Senate has been under continuous Democratic control since 1970.

Legislative session schedule

New legislators convene each new two-year session, to organize, in the Assembly and Senate chambers, respectively, at noon on the first Monday in December following the election. [4]

After the organizational meeting, both houses are in recess until the first Monday in January, except when the first Monday is January 1 or January 1 is a Sunday, in which case they meet the following Wednesday. Aside from the recess, the legislature is in session year-round. [5]

State House

Since California was given official statehood by the U.S. on September 9, 1850, as part of the Compromise of 1850, [6] the state capital was variously San Jose (1850–1851), Vallejo (1852–1853) and Benicia (1853–1854), until Sacramento was finally selected in 1854.

The first Californian State House was originally a hotel in San Jose owned by businessman Pierre "Don Pedro" Sainsevain and his associates. [7]

The State Legislature currently meets in the California State Capitol in Sacramento.

Terms and term limits

Members of the Assembly are elected from 80 districts and serve two-year terms. All 80 Assembly seats are subject to election every two years. Members of the Senate are elected from 40 districts and serve four-year terms. Every two years, one half of the Senate (20 seats) is subject to election, with odd-numbered districts up for election during presidential elections, and even-numbered districts up for election during midterm elections. [1]

Term limits were initially established in 1990 following the passage of Proposition 140. [5] In June 2012, voters approved Proposition 28, [8] which limits legislators to a maximum of 12 years, without regard to whether they serve those years in the State Assembly or the State Senate. Legislators first elected on or before June 5, 2012, are restricted by the previous term limits, approved in 1990, which limited legislators to three terms in the State Assembly and two terms in the State Senate.

Recordkeeping

The proceedings of the California State Legislature are briefly summarized in regularly published journals, which show votes and who proposed or withdrew what. [9] Reports produced by California executive agencies, as well as the Legislature, were published in the Appendices to the Journals from 1849 to 1970. [10] Since the 1990s, the legislature has provided a live video feed for its sessions, and has been broadcast statewide on the California Channel and local Public-access television cable TV. Due to the expense and the obvious political downside, California did not keep verbatim records of actual speeches made by members of the Assembly and Senate until the video feed began. As a result, reconstructing legislative intent outside of an act's preamble is extremely difficult in California for legislation passed before the 1990s.

Since 1993, the Legislature has hosted a web or FTP site in one form or another. The current website contains the text of all statutes, all bills, the text of all versions of the bills, all the committee analyses of bills, all the votes on bills in committee or on the floor, and veto messages from the governor. [11] Before then, committees occasionally published reports for significant bills, but most bills were not important enough to justify the expense of printing and distributing a report to archives and law libraries across the state. For bills lacking such a formal committee report, the only way to discover legislative intent is to access the state archives in Sacramento and manually review the files of relevant legislators, legislative committees, and the Governor's Office from the relevant time period, in the hope of finding a statement of intent and evidence that the statement actually reflected the views of several of the legislators who voted for the bill (as opposed to just one).

Legislative committees

The most sought-after legislative committee appointments are to banking, agriculture and insurance. These are sometimes called "juice" committees, because membership in these committees often aids the campaign fundraising efforts of the committee members, because powerful lobbying groups want to donate to members of these committees. [12]

Pocket veto

The legislature can "pocket veto" laws by avoiding consideration and thus avoiding a vote. The Appropriations "Suspense File", which was created in the mid-1980s, [13] is a popular way to avoid a vote. [14]

When a committee refuses to vote a bill out of committee, a discharge petition can typically be passed by the broader membership. In California, as of 2019 this was governed by Senate Rule 28 which requires 21 members and Assembly Rule 96(a) which requires 41 members; [15] the procedure was notably used in 1998. [16]

In 2019, a rule change in the Assembly allowed committee chairs to avoid considering bills, which effectively kills the proposal. [17] A proposed amendment to the constitution (ACA-23 [18] ) was proposed for the 2017–2018 session to require a vote. [19]

Across the country, pocket veto powers are not uncommon in legislatures; in Colorado, the power was notably repealed in a citizen initiative constitutional amendment in 1988 driven by various reform groups. [20]

Overview of legislative procedure

A bill is a proposal to change, repeal, or add to existing state law. An Assembly Bill (AB) is one introduced in the Assembly; a Senate Bill (SB), in the Senate.

Bills are designated by number, in the order of introduction in each house. For example, AB 16 refers to the 16th bill introduced in the Assembly. The numbering starts afresh each session. There may be one or more "extraordinary" sessions. The bill numbering starts again for each of these. For example, the third bill introduced in the Assembly for the second extraordinary session is ABX2 3. The name of the author, the legislator who introduced the bill, becomes part of the title of the bill.

The legislative procedure, is divided into distinct stages: [21]

Sessions

See also

Districts, elections and members

Footnotes

  1. The California Constitution was amended by voters in 2004 to include a balanced budget amendment that allowed the minority party to negotiate sizable budget cuts, versus revenue increases, by not providing enough votes to pass a budget if certain demands were not met. In 2009, when California faced a major revenue crisis due to the global economic downturn, the state was forced to issue revenue anticipation warrants ("RAWs", or more commonly, "IOUs") for two months because it lacked budgetary authority to issue payments. In 2010, California voters again amended the state's constitution with the approval of Proposition 25, which lets a simple majority pass an "all cuts budget" to meet the balanced budget requirement, and provide budgetary authority to issue payments and avoid revenue anticipation warrants, but continued the requirement of a two-thirds vote to increase revenues and reduce budget cuts.

Related Research Articles

A state legislature in the United States is the legislative body of any of the 50 U.S. states. The formal name varies from state to state. In 27 states the legislature is simply called the Legislature or the State Legislature, while in 19 states the legislature is called the General Assembly. In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the legislature is called the General Court, while North Dakota and Oregon designate the legislature the Legislative Assembly.

Michigan Legislature

The Michigan Legislature is the legislature of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is organized as a bicameral body composed of an upper chamber, the Senate, and a lower chamber, the House of Representatives. Article IV of the Michigan Constitution, adopted in 1963, defines the role of the Legislature and how it is to be constituted. The chief purposes of the Legislature are to enact new laws and amend or repeal existing laws. The Legislature meets in the Capitol building in Lansing.

Alaska Legislature

The Alaska Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is a bicameral institution consisting of the 40-member Alaska House of Representatives and the 20-member Alaska Senate. There are 40 House Districts (1–40) and 20 Senate Districts (A–T). With a total of 60 lawmakers, the Alaska Legislature is the smallest bicameral state legislature in the United States and the second-smallest of all state legislatures. There are no term limits for either chamber.

Maryland General Assembly Legislative body of the State of Maryland, United States

The Maryland General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Maryland that convenes within the State House in Annapolis. It is a bicameral body: the upper chamber, the Maryland Senate, has 47 representatives and the lower chamber, the Maryland House of Delegates, has 141 representatives. Members of both houses serve four-year terms. Each house elects its own officers, judges the qualifications and election of its own members, establishes rules for the conduct of its business, and may punish or expel its own members.

Florida Legislature State legislature of the U.S. state of Florida

The Florida Legislature is the legislature of the U.S. State of Florida. It is organized as a bicameral body composed of an upper chamber, the Senate, and a lower chamber, the House of Representatives. Article III, Section 1 of the Florida Constitution, adopted in 1968, defines the role of the legislature and how it is to be constituted. The legislature is composed of 160 state legislators. The primary purpose of the legislature is to enact new laws and amend or repeal existing laws. It meets in the Florida State Capitol building in Tallahassee.

California State Assembly Lower house of the California State Legislature

The California State Assembly is the lower house of the California State Legislature, the upper house being the California State Senate. The Assembly convenes, along with the State Senate, at the California State Capitol in Sacramento.

California State Senate Upper house of the California State Legislature

The California State Senate is the upper house of the California State Legislature, the lower house being the California State Assembly. The State Senate convenes, along with the State Assembly, at the California State Capitol in Sacramento.

Florida House of Representatives Lower house of the Florida Legislature

The Florida House of Representatives is the lower house of the Florida Legislature, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Florida, the Florida Senate being the upper house. Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution of Florida, adopted in 1968, defines the role of the Legislature and how it is to be constituted. The House is composed of 120 members, each elected from a single-member district with a population of approximately 157,000 residents. Legislative districts are drawn on the basis of population figures, provided by the federal decennial census. Representatives' terms begin immediately upon their election. As of 2020, Republicans hold the majority in the State House with 78 seats; Democrats are in the minority with 42 seats.

Tennessee General Assembly

The Tennessee General Assembly (TNGA) is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Tennessee. It is a part-time bicameral legislature consisting of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The Speaker of the Senate carries the additional title and office of Lieutenant Governor of Tennessee. In addition to passing a budget for state government plus other legislation, the General Assembly appoints three state officers specified by the state constitution. It is also the initiating body in any process to amend the state's constitution.

Maryland Senate

The Maryland Senate, sometimes referred to as the Maryland State Senate, is the upper house of the General Assembly, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Maryland. Composed of 47 senators elected from an equal number of constituent single-member districts, the Senate is responsible, along with the Maryland House of Delegates, for passage of laws in Maryland, and for confirming executive appointments made by the Governor of Maryland.

Arizona State Legislature

The Arizona State Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Arizona. It is a bicameral legislature that consists of a lower house, the House of Representatives, and an upper house, the Senate. Composed of 90 legislators, the state legislature meets in the Capitol Complex in the state capital of Phoenix, Arizona. Created by the Arizona Constitution upon statehood in 1912, the Arizona State Legislature met biennially until 1950. Today, they meet annually.

Florida Senate Upper house of the Florida Legislature

The Florida Senate is the upper house of the Florida Legislature, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Florida, the Florida House of Representatives being the lower house. Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution of Florida, adopted in 1968, defines the role of the Legislature and how it is to be constituted. The Senate is composed of 40 members, each elected from a single-member district with a population of approximately 470,000 residents. Legislative districts are drawn on the basis of population figures, provided by the federal decennial census. Senators' terms begin immediately, upon their election. The Senate Chamber is located in the State Capitol building.

West Virginia Legislature

The West Virginia Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of West Virginia. A bicameral legislative body, the legislature is split between the upper Senate and the lower House of Delegates. It was established under Article VI of the West Virginia Constitution following the state's split from Virginia during the American Civil War in 1863. As with its neighbor and former constituent Virginia General Assembly, the legislature's lower house is also referred to as a "House of Delegates."

Alabama Legislature Legislative branch of the state government of Alabama

The Alabama Legislature is the legislative branch of the state government of Alabama. It is a bicameral body composed of the House of Representatives and Senate. It is one of the few state legislatures in which members of both chambers serve four-year terms and in which all are elected in the same cycle. The most recent election was on November 6, 2018. The new legislature assumes office immediately following the certification of the election results by the Alabama Secretary of State which occurs within a few days following the election.

Oklahoma Legislature

The Legislature of the State of Oklahoma is the state legislative branch of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma House of Representatives and Oklahoma Senate are the two houses that make up the bicameral state legislature. There are 101 state representatives, each serving a two-year term, and 48 state senators, who serve four-year terms that are staggered so only half of the Oklahoma Senate districts are eligible in each election cycle. Legislators are elected directly by the people from single member districts of equal population. The Oklahoma Legislature meets annually in the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City.

Nevada Legislature Bicameral legislative branch for the state of Nevada

The Nevada Legislature is a bicameral body, consisting of the lower house, the Assembly, with 42 members, and the upper house, the Senate, with 21. With a total of 63 seats, the Legislature is the third-smallest bicameral state legislature in the United States, after Alaska's and Delaware's (62). The Nevada State Legislature as of 2019 is the first majority female State Legislature in the history of the United States. The Democratic Party currently controls both houses of the Nevada State Legislature.

Kansas House of Representatives

The Kansas House of Representatives is the lower house of the legislature of the U.S. state of Kansas. Composed of 125 state representatives from districts with roughly equal populations of at least 19,000, its members are responsible for crafting and voting on legislation, helping to create a state budget, and legislative oversight over state agencies.

The Annotated Code of Maryland, published by The Michie Company, is the official codification of the statutory laws of Maryland. It is organized into 36 named articles. The previous code, organized into numbered articles, has been repealed.

2009 California Proposition 1F California ballot measure

Proposition 1F of 2009 was a measure approved by California voters relating to the salaries of state officers. It was an amendment of the Constitution of California prohibiting pay raises for members of the State Legislature, the Governor, and other state officials during deficit years. It was proposed by the legislature and approved in a referendum held as part of the May 19, 2009 special election ballot, in which the California electorate also voted on five other propositions.

Arkansas General Assembly Legislature of Arkansas

The Arkansas General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Arkansas. The legislature is a bicameral body composed of the upper house Arkansas Senate with 35 members, and the lower Arkansas House of Representatives with 100 members. All 135 representatives and state senators represent an equal number of constituent districts. The General Assembly convenes on the second Monday of every other year. A session lasts for 60 days unless the legislature votes to extend it. The Governor of Arkansas can issue a "call" for a special session during the interims between regular sessions. The General Assembly meets at the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock.

References

  1. 1 2 "California Constitution Article IV § 2". California Office of Legislative Counsel . Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  2. "Full- and Part-time Legislatures"
  3. Gstalter, Morgan (November 12, 2018). "Dems gain veto-proof supermajority in California legislature". The Hill. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  4. "California Constitution Article IV § 3". California Office of Legislative Counsel . Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  5. 1 2 Representation. Nextca.
  6. Richard B. Rice et al., The Elusive Eden (1988) 191–95
  7. California's first State House, San Jose, 1849
  8. "Proposition 28 | Voter Information Guide | California Secretary of State". voterguide.sos.ca.gov. April 14, 2012. Archived from the original on April 14, 2012. Retrieved April 27, 2017.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  9. "Legislative Publications". California Office of Legislative Counsel . Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  10. Stratford, Juri (2012). Index to Reports Published in the Appendices to the Journals of the California Legislature 1905-1970. Davis: University of California.
  11. "California Legislative Information". California Office of Legislative Counsel . Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  12. Worst Legislator in California, By David Futch Thursday, Jun 2 2011
  13. Cain, Bruce E. (January 1, 2006). Governing California: Politics, Government, and Public Policy in the Golden State . Institute of Governmental Studies Press, University of California. ISBN   9780877724209.
  14. "The Suspense Files: California bills vanish almost without a trace". CALmatters. September 6, 2017. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  15. "Legislative Procedure" (PDF). California State Assembly Office of the Chief Clerk. January 1, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 31, 2018.
  16. "GOP Forces Assembly Vote on Porno Vending Machines". Los Angeles Times. January 28, 1988. ISSN   0458-3035 . Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  17. "How powerful lawmakers are killing California bills—without a peep". CALmatters. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  18. "Bill Text - ACA-23 Legislative committees: prohibition on holding bills in committee". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  19. Myers, John. "California's Legislature should require a formal vote to kill bills, Republican lawmaker says". latimes.com. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  20. Cox, Gary W.; Kousser, Thad; McCubbins, Mathew D. (2010). "Party Power or Preferences? Quasi-Experimental Evidence from American State Legislatures". The Journal of Politics. 72 (3): 799–811. doi:10.1017/s0022381610000174. ISSN   0022-3816. JSTOR   10.1017/s0022381610000174.
  21. "Overview of Legislative Process". California Office of Legislative Counsel . Archived from the original on February 23, 2019. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  22. "California Voters Pass Simple-Majority Budget Rule", November 3, 2010
  23. "A California constitutional convention", by Erwin Chemerinsky, Los Angeles Times, May 28, 2009
  24. Siders, David; Miller, Jim (September 22, 2016). "Override Jerry Brown's veto? Not likely to happen". The Sacramento Bee. ISSN   0890-5738 . Retrieved September 4, 2018.