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California Legislative History: California Legislative History

Compiling a California legislative history can be time-consuming. This Guide is intended to help you through the process of examining legislative intent by taking you step-by-step through the sources of CA legislative intent in our library and online.

Important Note About Access to Databases

Be sure to read the Access to Databases Guide carefully before beginning your research.

Guide Outline

  1. AVAILABILITY OF DOCUMENTS
     
  2. STEPS TO FINDING DOCUMENTS
     
    1. Annotated Codes
      1. Chapter law & bill number
      2. Review citations
    2. Statutes and Amendments to the Codes
      1. Bill number
      2. Legislative Counsel’s Digest
    3. Senate Final History and Assembly Final History
    4. Bill Analyses
      1. Assembly File Analysis
      2. Committee and floor analyses 
      3. Senate Committee on Judiciary. Agenda
    5. Bill Text Amendments
    6. Hearings and Reports
      1. UCLA Library Catalog
      2. California Law Revision Commission
      3. California State publications
      4. Senate and Assembly Journals 
    7. Other Useful Sources
      1. State Assembly Chief Clerk Archives
      2. Pacific Law Journal 
      3. CEB Review of Selected Code Legislation 
      4. California Judicial Council Report 
      5. California Journal
      6. Cases and law reviews
      7. Newspaper articles
         
  3. BALLOT INITIATIVES
     
  4. ADDITIONAL STEPS OUTSIDE THE UCLA LAW LIBRARY

Availability of California Legislative Documents

In contrast to U.S. Congressional documentation, few California legislative documents are published and distributed.  Verbatim floor debate is almost never published; committee reports and hearing transcripts are not routinely distributed to libraries.  Frequently all that can be compiled from UCLA Law Library resources is a statutory history (finding the text of the bill and tracing its flow through the legislative process).  However, the recent availability of legislative documents on LexisNexis, Westlaw, and the Internet has greatly increased access to these materials. Additional documentation may be found in committee files and the State Archives. 

You may wish to consult Chapter 4, Legislative Intent, in Henke’s California Law Guide, 8th ed. (KFC 74 M37 2006 Reference Reading Room; Reserves; and Level 2), pp. 73-140 for a thorough examination of California legislative intent research.

For a quick start, go to LegInfo (https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov) for material beginning in 1999, or the old site (http://leginfo.ca.gov) for material beginning in 1993. For more historical information dating back to 1849, visit the Assembly Clerk Archive (http://clerk.assembly.ca.gov/archive-list).