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Law: CA Legislative Materials

Overview of the Legislative Process

This guide describes how to locate California Legislative documents. Online versions are listed where available.


A bill is a legislative proposal that if passed by both the Assembly and the Senate and approved by the Governor becomes law. Each bill is assigned a bill number. A denotes bills that originate in the Assembly and S denotes bills that originate in the Senate. Note: older bills (1867 - 1994) are available at the San Diego County Public Law Library.

Laws - Statutes

Called "chapters" in California, statutes are the session laws as they were written at the time of passage. (A bill is "chaptered" by the Secretary of State after it has passed through both houses of the Legislature and has been signed by the Governor or becomes law without the Governor's signature.) The Statutes of California is in chronological order as enacted, with no subject arrangement or indication whether a subsequent statute has amended or repealed a prior one.

Laws - Code

The Code is the body of law still in force, arranged by subject (eg Health and Safety Code). California Law consists of 29 codes, covering various subject areas, the State Constitution and Statutes. Note: UCSD does not retain previous editions of the California Code

Indexes to Bills/Laws - Final History

Final History
Includes detailed bill history information. Organized by bill number. Also includes voice vote information. Earlier years (1893-1972) include subject index.

Indexes to Bills/Laws - Legislative Index

Legislative Index
Detailed subject index to all bills. Does not include a list of bills or bill history. For earlier years, see the Final History (1893-1972), above.

Indexes to Bills/Laws - Digest of Legislation

Digest of Legislation
Detailed listing of all bills with basic subject indexing. Includes summary of bill and later years include outcome (e.g. Vetoed by Governor).

Indexes to Bills/Laws - Summary Digest

Summary Digest
Brief description of bills that became law with basic subject index.

Indexes to Bills/Laws - Other Indexes

Other Legislative Documents - Hearings/Reports

Hearings / Reports
Note that most hearings and reports are not published or distributed. Those that are can be found in these indexes. Check UC Library Search to see if the Library owns a particular publication listed in these indexes.

Other Legislative Documents - Journals

Official record of the proceedings of each house. They do not contain verbatim accounts, but they do list the actions taken. The Journals also include voice and roll call votes.

California State Assembly Web Pages

Additional Research Guides

California's Legislature - An introduction to the Legislature written for the general reader.

How a Bill becomes a law - Graphic illustration of the legislative process in California. Also see this text version of an overview of the legislative process.

A Guide for Accessing California Legislative Information on the Internet - This Public Access guide is designed to assist the general public in obtaining legislative information from the Public Access computer over the Internet.

California Legislative History Research Guide (UC Law, San Francisco) - "Details the seven steps involved in researching the legislative history of a California statute. It also lists additional sources to check for legislative history materials."