In 1911, the California Constitution was amended to allow California voters to directly pass or repeal legislation or to amend the California Constitution. (Cal. Const. art. I, §§ 8-12).
You may hear the following terms for changes to the law made directly by California voters:
Ballot measures may be placed on the ballot in two ways.
First, the legislature can pass a bill placing the measure on the ballot. This is required to amend the state constitution, approve bonds, or amend or repeal a statute passed by a previous ballot measure.
Second, any member of the public can place a measure on the ballot through a petition signed by a number of registered voters equal to 5% of the total votes cast for the governor in the last election. This process includes the following steps:
You may find several types of legislative history materials for ballot pamphlets:
Your best starting point for finding these materials is UC SF Law Library's free, extensive online collection of ballot measure history materials:
The California Attorney General's Office also provides useful material on recent ballot measures:
The legislature may hold committee hearings on any ballot measure proposed by the public and is required to hold at least one hearing on any ballot measure that obtains at least 25% of the required signatures. If you're researching a recent ballot measure, check the websites for any relevant committees to see if they held a hearing on the measure. Some committees have pages specifically for materials from initiative hearings. For example:
Finally, the UCLA law library has history materials for some ballot measures in microform: