California State Senate

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California State Senate
California State Legislature
Seal of the Senate of the State of California.png
Type
Type
Term limits
Elected before 2012:
2 terms (8 years)
Elected 2012 and after:
3 terms (12 years)
History
New session started
December 7, 2020
Leadership
Eleni Kounalakis (D)
since January 7, 2019
Toni Atkins (D)
since March 21, 2018
Majority Leader
Robert Hertzberg (D)
since January 7, 2019
Minority Leader
Shannon Grove (R)
since March 1, 2019
Structure
Seats40
California State Senate Composition.svg
Political groups
Majority
   Democratic (30)

Minority

   Republican (9)


  Vacant (1)
Length of term
4 years
AuthorityArticle 4, California Constitution
Salary$110,459/year + per diem
Elections
Nonpartisan blanket primary
Last election
November 3, 2020 (20 seats)
Next election
November 8, 2022 (20 seats)
Redistricting California Citizens Redistricting Commission
Motto
Senatoris est civitatis libertatem tueri
("It is a senator's duty to protect the liberty of the people.")
Meeting place
California Senate chamber p1080899.jpg
State Senate Chamber
California State Capitol
Sacramento, California
Website
senate.ca.gov

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.

Due to a combination of the state's large population and relatively small legislature, the State Senate has the largest population per state senator ratio of any state legislative house. In the United States House of Representatives, California is apportioned 53 U.S. Representatives, each representing approximately 704,566 people, [1] while in the California State Senate, each of the 40 State Senators represents approximately 931,349 people. [2] This means that California State Senators each represent more people than California's members of the House of Representatives.

In the current legislative session, the Democratic Party holds 30 out of the 40 seats, which constitutes a 75% majority, well over the two-thirds supermajority threshold.

History

Prior to 1967, state legislative districts were drawn according to the "Little Federal Model" by which Assembly seats were drawn to according to population and Senate seats were drawn according to county lines. The guidelines were that no Senate district would include more than three counties and none would include less than one complete county. This led to the situation of a populous county such as Los Angeles County (1960 population of 6 million) being accorded the same number of state senators (one) as less populous counties such as Alpine County (1960 pop. 397). In Reynolds v. Sims , the United States Supreme Court compelled all states to draw up districts with equal population. As such, boundaries were changed to comply with the ruling.

Leadership

The Lieutenant Governor is the ex officio President of the Senate, and may only cast a vote to break a tie. The President pro tempore is elected by the majority party caucus, followed by confirmation of the full Senate. Other leaders, such as the majority and minority leaders, are elected by their respective party caucuses according to each party's strength in the chamber.

The current President pro tem is Democrat Toni Atkins of San Diego. The Minority Leader is Republican Shannon Grove of Bakersfield.

Terms of office

Each state senator represents a population roughly equivalent to the State of Delaware. As a result of Proposition 140 in 1990 and Proposition 28 in 2012, members elected to the legislature prior to 2012 are restricted by term limits to two four-year terms (eight years), while those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years in the legislature in any combination of four-year State Senate or two-year State Assembly terms. [3]

Members of the State Senate serve four-year terms. Every two years, half of the Senate's 40 seats are subject to election. This is in contrast to the State Assembly, in which all 80 seats in the Assembly are subject to election every two years.

Meeting chamber

The red tones of the California State Senate Chamber are based on the British House of Lords, which is outfitted in a similar color. The dais rests along a wall shaped like an "E", with its central projection housing the rostrum. The Lower tier dais runs across the entire chamber, there are several chairs and computers used by the senate officers, the most prominent seat is reserved for the secretary who calls the roll. The higher tier is smaller, with three chairs, the two largest and most ornate chairs are used by the President Pro Tempore (right chair) and the Lieutenant Governor (left chair). The third and smallest chair, placed in the center, is used by the presiding officer (acting in place of the Pro Tem) and is rarely sat in as the president is expected to stand. There are four other chairs flanking the dais used by the highest non-member officials attending the senate, a foreign dignitary or state officer for example. Each of the 40 senators is provided a desk, microphone and two chairs, one for the senator, another for guests or legislative aides. Almost every decorating element is identical to the Assembly Chamber. Along the cornice appears a portrait of George Washington and the Latin quotation: senatoris est civitatis libertatem tueri ("It is a senator's duty to protect the liberty of the people").

Composition

Composition of the California State Senate, Previous Session (needs to be updated for 2020 election)
Democratic Party
Republican Party
Vacant California State Senate 2019-20.svg
Composition of the California State Senate, Previous Session (needs to be updated for 2020 election)
  Democratic Party
  Republican Party
  Vacant
3091
DemocraticRepublicanVacant
AffiliationParty
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Total
Democratic Republican Vacant
End of previous legislature2911400
Begin [4] 309391
Latest voting share

Officers

PositionNamePartyDistrict
Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis Democratic California
President pro tempore Toni Atkins Democratic 39th–San Diego
Majority leader Robert Hertzberg Democratic 18th–Van Nuys
Assistant majority leader Mike McGuire Democratic 2nd–Healdsburg
Majority whip Nancy Skinner Democratic 9th–Berkeley
Assistant majority whips Maria Elena Durazo Democratic 24th–Los Angeles
Scott Wiener Democratic 11th–San Francisco
Democratic caucus chair Connie Leyva Democratic 20th–Chino
Minority leader Shannon Grove Republican 16th–Bakersfield
Secretary Erika Contreras
Sergeant-at-Arms Jodie O. Barnett III
Chaplain Sister Michelle Gorman, RSM

The Secretary, the Sergeant-at-Arms, and the Chaplain are not members of the Legislature.

Members

DistrictNamePartyResidenceFirst electedTerm limitedNotes
1 Brian Dahle [5] Republican Bieber 2019Dagger-14-plain.png2024Previously served as Minority Leader of the California State Assembly
2 Mike McGuire Democratic Healdsburg 20142026
3 Bill Dodd Democratic Napa 20162024
4 Jim Nielsen Republican Red Bluff 2013Dagger-14-plain.png2022Previously served from 1978 to 1990
5 Susan Eggman Democratic Stockton 20202024
6 Richard Pan Democratic Sacramento 20142022
7 Steve Glazer Democratic Orinda 2015Dagger-14-plain.png2028
8 Andreas Borgeas Republican Fresno 20182030
9 Nancy Skinner Democratic Berkeley 20162024
10 Bob Wieckowski Democratic Fremont 20142022
11 Scott Wiener Democratic San Francisco 20162028
12 Anna Caballero Democratic Salinas 20182026
13 Josh Becker Democratic Menlo Park 20202032
14 Melissa Hurtado Democratic Sanger 20182030
15 Dave Cortese Democratic Los Gatos 20202032
16 Shannon Grove Republican Bakersfield 20182026Minority Leader
17 John Laird Democratic Santa Cruz 20202028
18 Robert Hertzberg Democratic Van Nuys 20142022Majority Leader. Previously served as Speaker of the Assembly
19 Monique Limón Democratic Santa Barbara 20202028
20 Connie Leyva Democratic Chino 20142026
21 Scott Wilk Republican Santa Clarita 20162024
22 Susan Rubio Democratic Baldwin Park 20182030
23 Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh Republican Yucaipa 20202032
24 Maria Elena Durazo Democratic Los Angeles 20182030
25 Anthony Portantino Democratic La Cañada Flintridge 20162024
26 Ben Allen Democratic Santa Monica 20142026
27 Henry Stern Democratic Malibu 20162028
28 Melissa Melendez Republican Lake Elsinore 2020Dagger-14-plain.png2022
29 Josh Newman Democratic Fullerton 20202028Previously served 2016-2018
30 Vacant
31 Richard Roth Democratic Riverside 20122024
32 Bob Archuleta Democratic Pico Rivera 20182030
33 Lena Gonzalez Democratic Long Beach 2019Dagger-14-plain.png2032
34 Tom Umberg Democratic Santa Ana 20182026
35 Steven Bradford Democratic Gardena 20162024
36 Patricia Bates Republican Laguna Niguel 20142022
37 Dave Min Democratic Irvine 20202032
38 Brian Jones Republican Santee 20182026
39 Toni Atkins Democratic San Diego 20162024President pro tempore. Previously served as Speaker of the State Assembly
40 Ben Hueso Democratic San Diego 2013Dagger-14-plain.png2022

Seating chart

President
Kounalakis
Bogh Borgeas Dahle McGuire Hueso Archuleta Roth Eggman Pan Glazer Ben Allen Wiener
Moorlach Melendez Grove Nielsen Bradford Becker Portantino Rubio Gonzalez Limón Leyva Caballero
Jones Chang Wilk Bates Dodd Umberg Durazo Vacant Hurtado Skinner Stern Cortese
Laird Atkins Hertzberg Wieckowski

Past composition of the Senate

Committees

Current committees include: [6]

Standing

Joint

Offices

See also

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References

  1. "Apportionment Data". United States Census Bureau.
  2. "Senate Roster". State of California.
  3. "California Constitution Article 4; Legislative". California Office of Legislative Counsel . Archived from the original on February 23, 2019. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  4. Democrat Holly Mitchell (District 30) resigned in order to take a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
  5. "Brian Dahle defeats Kevin Kiley in Tuesday's state Senate District 1 race". The Sacramento Bee. June 4, 2019.
  6. "California Senate Committees". Open States. Sunlight Foundation. April 9, 2014. Retrieved April 9, 2014.