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California Statutes: Initiatives and Referenda

This guide outlines resources for California statutory materials, such as statutes, codes, initiatives, referenda, uncodified statutes and superceded law available in the UCLA Law Libray as well as online.

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Initiatives and Referenda

The initiative is the power of the voters to propose laws and to enact or reject them independently of the legislature.  The referendum is the power of the voters to approve or reject statutes or parts of statutes passed by the Legislature.

  1. Statutes of California and Digests of Measures (bound as California Statutes and Amendments to the Codes) contains the text of both initiatives and referenda in the “Propositions Submitted to the Vote of the Electors” section.  A particular initiative and referendum can be found by consulting the subject index for the year in which the measure was passed by the voters.

  2. California Secretary of State, Amendments to the Constitution and Proposed Statutes is a microfiche set of the ballot pamphlets sent to voters each election.  The microfiche sets are arranged by election year and include the text of all propositions submitted to the voters along with the arguments for and against their passage.  Each pamphlet contains a table of contents which can be used to locate propositions when the year is known.

    Library: Microfiche KFC 20 C35 (Microform Room, 1st Floor)
    Internet: California Secretary of State - Elections (1996-current)
  3. West’s Annotated California Codes incorporates the text of initiative measures into the Codes. For example, the text of the Chiropractic Act is found in the Business & Professions Code.  Initiatives can be found through either the general index or the indexes to the individual titles of the Code. Annotations to initiatives are included after the text.

  4. Deering’s California Codes, Annotated incorporates the text of initiatives which have been codified or which affect Code sections in the main volumes of the Code.  These initiatives can be found in the General Index by subject. In addition, Deering’s includes a separate volume entitled Uncodified Initiative Measures and Statutes which contains the text of uncodified initiatives except for the Chiropractic Act and the Osteopathic Act (included as appendices to the Business & Professions Code) as well as various Water District Acts.  Uncodified initiatives are not included in the General Index. You must consult the index to the Uncodified Initiative Measures and Statutes in order to find the text of these initiatives. Annotations are included for both codified and uncodified initiatives.

  5. Westlaw and LexisNexis:  Westlaw includes the text of initiatives within its CA-ST and CA-ST-ANN databases.  LexisNexis includes the text of initiatives published within the Deering edition of the Code.

  6. InternetHastings Law Library offers comprehensive searchable databases of information on California ballot propositions and initiatives from 1911 to the present.

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