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California Government Information: Legislative & Laws

California State Assembly Web Pages

California Laws

Statutory law in California consists of the Constitution plus acts passed by the California Legislature. Statutes are laws enacted by the Legislature and signed by the Governor. The Code is the current law. The following terms refer to statutory law: acts, statutes, and codes. If you want the text of the original law as signed by the governor, go to the Statutes.

STATUTES

  • The Statutes of California and Digest of Measures.1849/50-
    Chronological arrangement of laws enacted by the California legislature. Includes full text of statutes and resolutions subarranged by chapter number. The last volume of each session contains a subject index and a table of affected laws. Since 1967 the Summary Digest is included.
  • California. Chapters...regular session.
    • KFC25.A56 Doe Reference current years only; replaced in bound form by Statutes .

CODES

The California 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.

  • California State Code. Full-text access to California's 29 codes, covering various subject areas (current only).
  • Deering's California Codes, Annotated (direct link via Nexis Uni).
    Commercially produced collection of California laws arranged by subject. Includes annotations, legislative histories, court decisions, popular names table, etc. Each title has an index in the last volume and there is a General Index to the entire set. 
  • For recent laws, check the Advanced Legislative Service to Deering's (KFC30.5D4A38 Doe Reference). Selected official codes (eg. vehicle, education, penal, etc.) are available. 
    • Paper, Current Only, KFC30.5D4 A-Z Doe Reference
  • Larmac Consolidated Index to the Constitution and Laws of California.
    Annual publication containing an alphabetical index to the California constitution, all the codes, the general laws and rules of the California Supreme Court. Holdings: 1959-2018 (incomplete).

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.

Hearings

Hearings are the result of committee action on proposed laws. The hearings contain the testimony and sources used by the committees to develop recommendations. The reports usually contain the recommendations and explain the intent of the law. Many California hearings, especially bill hearing sessions, are not published. To find what hearings and reports are available, check the lists below, then search them by title in UC Library Search. Selected reports through 1970 were published in the appendices of the Assembly and Senate Journals. (Appendices 1855-1944 are located in J87C2p Main)

  • California State Publications. 1945-
    Listing of official state publications issued by executive agencies, the Legislature, and the Judiciary. Hearings begin with California Documents Call Number L500. Published monthly and cumulated each year. Title and subject index. Microfiche cumulation: 1982-89, 1990-93 (reference microfiche 7150)
    • Print Holdings: Main (Gardner) Stacks J86.C2.A2
  • Assembly Publications Catalog. 1992-
    Lists reports and hearings of the State Assembly committees, caucuses, task forces and selected State commissions.
    • Print Holdings: Doe Reference JK8731.A424
  • Hearings and Reports of the Committees of the California Legislature. (1961-84)
    Lists published hearings and reports alphabetically by committee.
    • JK8778.A3 DREF
  • California Interim Legislative Committees and Reports. (1937-76)
    Lists published reports by committee with a subject index.
    • JK8771.A35 DREF
  • California Legislative Committee Reports.
    A compilation of lists that includes List of special committees and commissions by legislative session, 1850-1936 by C. Larsen.
    • JK8771.L298 DREF
  • Records of the California Legislature. comp. by D. Snyder. (Calif. State Archives Inventory No. 2). 1971.
    Includes committee hearing transcripts and other committee records on file in the State Archives, the Government Publications Section of the California State Library, and the Assembly Office of Research.
    • CD3116.L4.S6 DREF

Indexes to Bills/Laws - Other Indexes

Overview of the Legislative Process

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

Bills

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. 

Historic Bills. (Stanford, UCD Law, and San Francisco Public Library have complete microfilm holdings)

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

Indexes to Bills/Laws - Summaries and Digests of Legislation

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

Annual Digests of Legislation. From the office of the Senate Floor Analyses. 1995- present. Print issues listed below.

California Legislature Summary Digest. 1935 - (print vols, - incomplete, with title changes)
Includes a short summary of each law enacted, and of each constitutional amendment, concurrent or joint resolution adopted by the Legislature during the year. It is arranged by chapter number and includes cross-reference tables, a detailed subject index and a statutory record. Published also since 1967 as part of Statutes of California. KA80.A25 DREF (latest 10 years)

California. Legislature. Senate. Digest of significant legislation covering the period...  KFC7.C33 (Doe Reference has latest). Major Assembly and Senate bills arranged by broad subject categories (health, education, etc.). Each entry provides name of the author, a brief summary, and the disposition of the bill at the end of the session. 

The Statutes of California and Digest of Measures.1849/50- 2008.  Doe Reference, KA35 .A12. Chronological arrangement of laws enacted by the California legislature. Includes full text of statutes and resolutions sub-arranged by chapter number. The last volume of each session contains a subject index and a table of affected laws. Since 1967 the Summary Digest is included.

  • Online, 1993-Present
  • Via Nexis Uni. Go to "get a doc assistance" to find the statutes, codes, regulations, and other laws/legislative content. 
  • Hathitrust - Scanned edition - see the detailed records for various title changes.

California Legislative Publications 1850 – 2009

Nearly 4,000 California Assembly and Senate publications are now online and have been opened for reading access to everyone worldwide via HathiTrust.  Collections include: 

  • Senate and Assembly Bills (1911-1988)
  • Statutes and Journals (1849-2009)
  • Final Calendars (1899 - 2011)
  • Legislative Indexes (1949-2011)
  • Browse available publications by year.

These collections are the result of a collaboration between the California Office of Legislative Counsel and librarians at the University of California, Stanford University and the California State Library.

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 Hastings) - "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."

Historic Legislation in California

Historic Legislation in California can be difficult to find.  Use the resources below to guide you through the process.

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.

Other Legislative History Information

  • California Legislature. Assembly or Senate. Final History. 1973-
    Arranged by bill number and listing action taken on all measures on file for the year. Issued daily and cumulated weekly and then semi-annually and annually. Previous to 1973 actions were reported in the Final Calendar of Legislative Business 1899-1972 (J87C2e Main). The latter includes a Legislative Index in the back which provides subject access to bills.
  • California. Legislature. Assembly or Senate. Journal. 1849/50-
    Each journal is issued daily and cumulated annually. They include an account of proceedings (however, not verbatim or summary transcripts of debates), list of measures taken up, texts of amendments to bills, committee reports, etc. Senate committee votes are recorded and published in the Senate Journal, but the Assembly reports its committee and other votes in a separate appendix to the Assembly Journal. An Alphabetical Index provides access by subject and legislative member name. A Bill Action Index provides access by bill number.
  • California. Legislature. Legislative Index... 1973/74-
    Published at various intervals during a legislative session, it lists by subject all bills introduced in the Legislature. Part 2 contains a table showing which sections of the constitution and statutes are affected by the measures introduced.
    • J87C2e.A35 (latest 10 years)
  • California. Legislature. Summary Digest. 1935-
    Includes a short summary of each law enacted, and of each constitutional amendment, concurrent or joint resolution adopted by the Legislature during the year. It is arranged by chapter number and includes cross-reference tables, a detailed subject index and a statutory record. Published also since 1967 as part of Statutes of California.
    • KA80.A25 DREF (latest 10 years)
  • California. Legislature. Senate. Digest of significant legislation covering the period of... 1985-
    Major Assembly and Senate bills are arranged by broad subject categories (health, education, etc.). Each entry provides name of the author, a brief summary, and the disposition of the bill at the end of the session. An index by bill number is included.
    • KFC7.C33 DREF (latest)

Another method of finding information on historic legislation is to check historic newspapers.  California newspapers will have stories on major state legislation.  UCB subscribes to two historical California newspapers in digital format.  Visit the Newspaper and Microfilm Library in Doe to use UCB's extensive collection of California Newspapers: