Government of California

Last updated

The government of California is the governmental structure of the U.S. state of California as established by the California Constitution. California uses the separation of powers system to structure its government. It is composed of three branches: the executive, consisting of the Governor of California and the other constitutionally elected and appointed officers and offices; the legislative, consisting of the California State Legislature, which includes the Assembly and the Senate; and the judicial, consisting of the Supreme Court of California and lower courts. There is also local government, consisting of counties, cities, special districts, and school districts, as well as government entities and offices that operate independently on a constitutional, statutory, or common law basis. The state also allows direct participation of the electorate by initiative, referendum, recall and ratification.

Contents

Executive branch

California's elected executive officers are:

Stanford Mansion is the official reception center for the Californian government and one of the workplaces of the Governor of California. Stanford Mansion (Sacramento, California).jpg
Stanford Mansion is the official reception center for the Californian government and one of the workplaces of the Governor of California.

All offices are elected separately to concurrent four-year terms, and each officer may be elected to an office a maximum of two times. [1] [2] The Governor has the powers and responsibilities to: sign or veto laws passed by the Legislature, including a line item veto; appoint judges, subject to ratification by the electorate; propose a state budget; give the annual State of the State address; command the state militia; and grant pardons for any crime, except cases involving impeachment by the Legislature. [3] The Lieutenant Governor is the President of the California Senate and acts as the governor when the Governor is unable to execute the office, including whenever the Governor leaves the state. [4] The Governor and Lieutenant Governor also serve as ex officio members of the University of California Board of Regents and of the California State University Board of Trustees. [5] Regulatory activity is published in the California Regulatory Notice Register and the general and permanent rules and regulations are codified in the California Code of Regulations . [6]

State agencies

California Department of Justice. CA DOJ HQ Front.jpg
California Department of Justice.
California Department of General Services. Ziggurat Building.jpg
California Department of General Services.
California Department of Health Care Services. California Department of Health Care Services 4.jpg
California Department of Health Care Services.
California Environmental Protection Agency. Cal EPA Building (cropped).jpg
California Environmental Protection Agency.

State government is organized into many departments, of which most have been grouped together into several huge Cabinet-level agencies since the administration of Governor Pat Brown. These agencies are sometimes informally referred to as superagencies, especially by government officials, to distinguish them from the general usage of the term "government agency". [7] [8] When Brown took office, he was dismayed to discover that under California law, approximately 360 boards, commissions, and agencies all reported directly to the Governor, and proposed his "super-agency" plan (then spelled with a hyphen) in February 1961 to impose order on such chaos. [9] Brown appointed the secretaries of the first four superagencies (of eight then planned) in September 1961. [10] Today, the Cabinet-level agencies (superagencies) are the: [11]

The independently elected officers run separate departments not grouped within the superagencies, and there are other Cabinet-level departments:

Independent entities

There are several state government entities and offices that are supposed to be independent of direct control by the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the state government, as well as any local government.[ citation needed ] Most (but not all) of the leaders of these entities are normally appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the state Senate. Despite their independence, the Governor can exert influence on them over time by waiting for incumbent leaders to reach the ends of their terms and appointing new ones who support the Governor's current agenda. [12]

Examples include the:

Legislative branch

The California State Capitol hosts the California Assembly and the California Senate, the two houses of the California State Legislature. Sacramento,-California---State-Capitol.jpg
The California State Capitol hosts the California Assembly and the California Senate, the two houses of the California State Legislature.

The California State Legislature is the state legislature. It is a bicameral body consisting of the California State Assembly, the lower house with 80 members, and the California State Senate, the upper house with 40 members. [13] Members of the Assembly serve two-year terms; members of the Senate serve four-year terms, with half of the seats up for election on alternate (two year) election cycles. [13]

The Speaker of the California State Assembly presides over the State Assembly. The Lieutenant Governor is the ex officio President of the Senate and may break a tied vote, and the President pro tempore of the California State Senate is elected by the majority party caucus.

The Legislature meets in the California State Capitol in Sacramento. Its session laws are published in the California Statutes and codified into the 29 California Codes.

Judicial branch

Supremecourtofcaliforniamaincourthouse.jpg
Stanleymosklibraryandcourtsbldg.jpg
The Supreme Court of California splits time between and meets in San Francisco (top), Sacramento (bottom), and Los Angeles.

The Judiciary of California interprets and applies the law, and is defined under the Constitution, law, and regulations. The judiciary has a hierarchical structure with the Supreme Court at the apex. The Superior Courts are the primary trial courts, and the Courts of Appeal are the primary appellate courts.

The Judicial Council is the rule-making arm of the judiciary. [14] [15]

The California Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice of California and six Associate Justices. The Court has original jurisdiction in a variety of cases, including habeas corpus proceedings, and has discretionary authority to review all the decisions of the California Courts of Appeal, as well as mandatory review responsibility for cases where the death penalty has been imposed. The Courts of Appeal are the intermediate appellate courts. The state is geographically divided into six appellate districts. [16] [17] Notably, all published California appellate decisions are binding on all Superior Courts, regardless of appellate district. [18]

The California superior courts are the courts of general jurisdiction that hear and decide any civil or criminal action which is not specially designated to be heard before some other court or governmental agency. As mandated by the Constitution, each of the 58 counties has a superior court. [19] The superior courts also have appellate divisions (superior court judges sitting as appellate judges) which hear appeals from decisions of other superior court judges (or commissioners, or judges pro tem) in cases previously heard by inferior courts, such as infractions, misdemeanors, and "limited civil" actions (actions where the amount in controversy is below $25,000).

Direct democracy

The state also allows direct participation of the electorate by initiative, referendum, and recall.

Watchdog evaluations

In a 2015 review by the nonprofit The Center for Public Integrity of how effectively states promote transparency and procedures to reduce corruption, California received a C−, the second-highest grade in the country. [20] It ranked particularly low in public access to information and judicial transparency. [20]

In 2005, Pew Research Center's Government Performance Project gave California a grade C−, tied for last with Alabama. [21] By 2008, when the last report was issued, California had a C, which placed it near the bottom of the states. [22] In discussing the results, the report noted that the personnel system is known to be dysfunctional, and that the Human Resources Modernization Project was underway to address the issue. [23]

Local government

California is divided into counties which are legal subdivisions of the state. [24] There are 58 counties, 482 California cities, [25] about 1,102 school districts, [26] and about 3,400 special districts. [27] Counties and incorporated cities may promulgate local ordinances, which are usually codified in county or city codes, respectively, and are misdemeanor crimes unless otherwise specified as infractions. [28] School districts, which are independent of cities and counties, handle public education. [26] Special Districts deliver specific public programs and public facilities to constituents, and are defined as "any agency of the state for the local performance of governmental or proprietary functions within limited boundaries". [29]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Government of Maryland</span> State government of the United States

The government of Maryland is conducted according to the Maryland Constitution. The United States is a federation; consequently, the government of Maryland, like the other 49 state governments, has exclusive authority over matters that lie entirely within the state's borders, except as limited by the Constitution of the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Government of Illinois</span> Government of a U.S. state

The Government of Illinois, under Illinois' Constitution, has three branches of government: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. The State's executive branch is split into several statewide elected offices, with the Governor as chief executive and head of state, and has numerous departments, agencies, boards and commissions. Legislative functions are granted to the General Assembly, a bicameral body consisting of the 118-member House of Representatives and the 59-member Senate. The judiciary is composed of the Supreme Court of Illinois and lower courts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Government of New Jersey</span> Overview of the government of the U.S. state of New Jersey

The government of the State of New Jersey is separated into three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. The powers of the State of New Jersey are vested by the Constitution of New Jersey, enacted in 1947, in a bicameral state legislature, the Governor, and the state courts, headed the New Jersey Supreme Court. The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts of the state legislature, including the creation of executive departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court.

The state government of Georgia is the U.S. state governmental body established by the Georgia State Constitution. It is a republican form of government with three branches: the legislature, executive, and judiciary. Through a system of separation of powers or "checks and balances", each of these branches has some authority to act on its own, some authority to regulate the other two branches, and has some of its own authority, in turn, regulated by the other branches. The seat of government for Georgia is located in Atlanta.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">California superior courts</span> State trial courts with general jurisdiction

Superior courts in California are the state trial courts with general jurisdiction to hear and decide any civil or criminal action which is not specially designated to be heard in some other court or before a governmental agency. As mandated by the California Constitution, there is a superior court in each of the 58 counties in California. The superior courts also have appellate divisions which hear appeals from decisions in cases previously heard by inferior courts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Government of New York (state)</span> Government of the U.S. state of New York

The Government of the State of New York, headquartered at the New York State Capitol in Albany, encompasses the administrative structure of the U.S. state of New York, as established by the state's constitution. Analogously to the US federal government, it is composed of three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The head of the executive is the governor. The Legislature consists of the Senate and the Assembly. The Unified Court System consists of the Court of Appeals and lower courts. The state is also divided into counties, cities, towns, and villages, which are all municipal corporations with their own government.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Law of California</span> Overview of the law of the U.S. state of California

The law of California consists of several levels, including constitutional, statutory, and regulatory law, as well as case law. The California Codes form the general statutory law, and most state agency regulations are available in the California Code of Regulations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Montana State Government</span> Government of the U.S. State of Montana

As established and defined by the Montana Constitution, the government of the State of Montana is composed of three branches, the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative. The powers of initiative and referendum are reserved for the citizens of Montana.

The Government of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is the governmental structure of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as established by the Pennsylvania Constitution. It is composed of three branches: executive, legislative and judicial. The capital of the Commonwealth is Harrisburg.

The government of Virginia combines the executive, legislative and judicial branches of authority in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The current governor of Virginia is Glenn Youngkin. The State Capitol building in Richmond was designed by Thomas Jefferson, and the cornerstone was laid by Governor Patrick Henry in 1785. Virginia currently functions under the 1971 Constitution of Virginia. It is Virginia's seventh constitution. Under the Constitution, the government is composed of three branches: the legislative, the executive and the judicial.

The government of Arizona is the governmental structure of the state of Arizona as established by the Arizona Constitution. The executive is composed of the Governor, several other statewide elected officials, and the Governor's cabinet. The Arizona Legislature consists of the House of Representatives and Senate. The judiciary is composed of the Arizona Supreme Court and lower courts. There is also local government, consisting of counties, municipalities and special districts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Government of Kansas</span>

The government of the U.S. state of Kansas, established by the Kansas Constitution, is a republican democracy modeled after the Federal Government of the United States. The state government has three branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. Through a system of separation of powers, or "checks and balances," each of these branches has some authority to act on its own, and also some authority to regulate the other two branches, so that all three branches can limit and balance the others' authority.

Michigan has a republican form of government with three branches of government: the executive branch consisting of the Governor of Michigan and the other independently elected constitutional officers; the legislative branch consisting of the House of Representatives and Senate; and the judicial branch consisting of the one court of justice. The state also allows direct participation of the electorate by initiative, referendum, recall, and ratification.

The government of New Mexico is the governmental structure of the state of New Mexico as established by the Constitution of New Mexico. The executive is composed of the governor, several other statewide elected officials and the governor's cabinet. The New Mexico Legislature consists of the House of Representatives and Senate. The judiciary is composed of the New Mexico Supreme Court and lower courts. There is also local government, consisting of county administrations, city governments, and special districts.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is governed by a set of political tenets laid down in its state constitution. Legislative power is held by the bicameral General Court, which is composed of the Senate and House of Representatives. The governor exercises executive power with other independently elected officers: the Attorney General, Secretary of the Commonwealth, and Auditor. The state's judicial power rests in the Supreme Judicial Court, which manages its court system. Cities and towns act through local governmental bodies to the extent that they are authorized by the Commonwealth on local issues, including limited home-rule authority. Although most county governments were abolished during the 1990s and 2000s, a handful remain.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Government of North Carolina</span>

The government of North Carolina is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. These consist of the Council of State, the bicameral legislature, and the state court system. The Constitution of North Carolina delineates the structure and function of the state government.

The government of Washington State is the governmental structure of the State of Washington as established by the Constitution of the State of Washington. The executive is composed of the Governor, several other statewide elected officials and the Governor's cabinet. The Washington State Legislature consists of the House of Representatives and State Senate. The judiciary is composed of the Washington Supreme Court and lower courts. There is also local government, consisting of counties, municipalities and special districts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Judiciary of California</span>

The Judiciary of California or the Judicial Branch of California is defined under the California Constitution as holding the judicial power of the state of California which is vested in the Supreme Court, the Courts of Appeal and the Superior Courts. The judiciary has a hierarchical structure with the California Supreme Court at the top, California Courts of Appeal as the primary appellate courts, and the California Superior Courts as the primary trial courts.

The Government of Fresno County is defined and authorized under the California Constitution, law, and the Charter of the County of Fresno. Much of the Government of California is in practice the responsibility of county governments, such as the Government of Fresno County. The County government provides countywide services such as elections and voter registration, law enforcement, jails, vital records, property records, tax collection, public health, and social services. In addition the County serves as the local government for all unincorporated areas.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Government of Stanislaus County, California</span>

The Government of Stanislaus County is defined and authorized under the California Constitution and law as a general law county. Much of the Government of California is in practice the responsibility of county governments, such as the Government of Stanislaus County. The County government provides countywide services such as elections and voter registration, law enforcement, jails, vital records, property records, tax collection, public health, and social services. In addition the County serves as the local government for all unincorporated areas.

References

  1. Alfieri, Joe (18 October 2010). "Jerry Brown defies intent of California term limits". Contra Costa County Conservative Examiner. Examiner.com.
  2. Constitution of California, article 5, section 2
  3. Ferguson, Margaret R., ed. (2006). "Roles, Functions, and Powers of the Governors". The Executive Branch of State Government: People, Process and Politics. ABC-CLIO.
  4. In re Governorship, 26Cal.3d110 , 401(Supreme Court of California1979)("we conclude that the Lieutenant Governor has authority to exercise all gubernatorial powers of appointment while the Governor is physically absent from the state and that the Governor has authority to withdraw the appointment until the confirmation of appointment becomes effective.").
  5. "Overview, Board of Trustees". California State University. Archived from the original on 1 February 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  6. Watt, Robert; Johns, Francis (2009). Concise Legal Research. Federation Press. p. 223. ISBN   978-1-862-87723-8.
  7. Van Vechten, Renée B. (2011). California Politics: A Primer (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: SAGE. p. 63. ISBN   9781452203065 . Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  8. Lawrence, David G.; Cummins, Jeffrey (2019). California: The Politics of Diversity (10th ed.). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 167. ISBN   9781538129302.
  9. Blanchard, Robert (February 14, 1961). "Brown Criticized for His Super-Agency Proposal". Los Angeles Times. p. 1. Available through ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
  10. Gillam, Jerry (October 1, 1961). "Brown Picks 8-Member Cabinet: Four Named to Head New State Super-Agencies". Los Angeles Times. p. 1. Available through ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
  11. "Governor Brown's Government Reorganization Plan Becomes Law". Office of the Governor of California. 3 July 2012. Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  12. Kerr, Clark (2001). The Gold and the Blue: A Personal Memoir of the University of California, 1949-1967, Volume 2. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 301. ISBN   9780520925014 . Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  13. 1 2 Constitution of California, article 4, section 2(a)
  14. Constitution of California, Article 6, Section 6(d)
  15. "Judicial Council". Judicial Council of California.
  16. Constitution of California, Article 6, § 3
  17. California Government Code § 69100
  18. Auto Equity Sales, Inc. v. Superior Court,, 57 Cal. 2d 450, 369 P.2d 937, 20 Cal. Rptr. 321 (1962).
  19. Constitution of California, Article 6, § 4
  20. 1 2 "California gets C- grade in 2015 State Integrity Investigation". Center for Public Integrity. 2015-11-09. Retrieved 2016-12-05.
  21. "State civil service reform: California's Human Resource Modernization project in a comparative perspective - SEIU Local 1000". www.seiu1000.org. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  22. Johnson, Neal. "NLPES/NALFO Seminar Madison, Wisconsin September 26, 2008" (PDF). Pew Center on States.
  23. "Grading the States 2008: Pew's 50-State Report Card Evaluates How States Manage Public Resources". www.pewtrusts.org. Retrieved 2016-12-05.
  24. Constitution of California, article 11, section 1
  25. "Learn About Cities". League of California Cities . Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  26. 1 2 Individual State Descriptions: 2007 (PDF), 2007 Census of Governments, United States Census Bureau, November 2012, pp. 25–26
  27. Mizany, Kimia; Manatt, April. What's So Special About Special Districts? A Citizen's Guide to Special Districts in California (PDF) (3 ed.). California Senate Local Government Committee. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-04. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  28. California Government Code §§ 25132, 36900 et seq.
  29. California Government Code § 16271(d)