The California legislature has two websites: the current website for bills introduced from 1999 forward and an older, archival website for bills introduced from 1993 to 2016:
Both the current and archival California legislative websites provide:
For most legislative history research, this information will be enough.
However, if you need a truly comprehensive history of the bill, keep in mind that the legislature's website does not include reports prepared by other agencies, testimony or reports by supporters and opponents of the bill, or press coverage. If you need this information, you'll also need to do one or more of the following:
To retrieve legislative history materials for a bill on the current LegInfo website, input the bill number in the Bill Number: field in the format AB1023 or SB1023 and use the Session Year: dropdown to input the year.
Alternately, if you don't have a bill number, you can select the Text Search or Advanced Search tabs to search by keyword.
Once you access the bill's page, you'll see the most recent text of the bill, with a set of tabs across the top of the screen.
Several tools help you read the text of the bill:
As their names suggests:
To retrieve legislative history materials for a bill on the old LegInfo website, use the SESSION dropdown to input the year, use the HOUSE dropdown to select ASSEMBLY (for Assembly Bills, abbreviated AB) or SENATE (for Senate Bills, abbreviated SB), and input the Bill Number in the bill number search box.
Alternately, if you don't have a bill number, you can select the Keyword(s) radio button to search by keyword.
Once you access the bill's page, you'll see a list of all the documents associated with the bill, including the bill's history, the different bill texts, the bill analyses, and the votes taken on the bill.
Some very old bills may list the documents but not have links to the full text. For these bills, search the bill number (e.g. 1023) in Lexis or Nexis Uni's California Legislative History Materials sections, which go back a few years further than the California legislature's website.