California State Legislature

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California's Capitol, where the state legislature meets
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California's Capitol, where the state legislature meets

The California State Legislature is the legislative branch of the state government of California.

It is a bicameral legislature that consists of a lower house, the Assembly, and an upper house, the Senate. There are 80 State Assembly Members and 40 State Senators. The state legislature meets in the state capital, Sacramento.

Contents

Term Limits

Members of the Assembly are elected from eighty districts, serve two year terms, and are limited to being elected three times. Members of the state Senate serve four year terms and are limited to being elected twice. There are forty Senate districts, with half of the seats up for election on alternate (two year) election cycles.

Recordkeeping

The proceedings of the California Legislature are briefly summarized in regularly published journals, which show votes and who proposed or withdrew what. However, because of the expense and the obvious political downsides, California does not keep verbatim records of actual speeches made by Assembly members and Senators. As a result, reconstructing legislative intent outside of an act's preamble is extremely difficult in California.

Legislative Committees

The most sought-after legislative committee appointments are to banking, agriculture and insurance. These are sometimes called "juice" committees, because membership aids the campaign fundraising of their members through donations from powerful lobbying groups.

Legislative Analyst

A unique institution is the state legislative analyst, whose office of several hundred persons analyzes the effects of laws for the California legislature. The analyst's most visible public act is to write the impartial ballot booklet analyses of likely effects of initiatives and bond measures placed before the voters.

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