When a bill is introduced by the California legislature it is assigned a Senate Bill (SB) or Assembly Bill (AB) number, such as SB 771 (2007) or AB 1023 (2012).
Once a bill has been passed as a statute, it is assigned a chapter number and published by date in the California session laws, where they may be assigned a citation such as Stats 2007 ch 439 or Stats 2011 ch 296.
Finally, the statutes are organized by topic in Westlaw's unofficial West's Annotated California Codes or Lexis' Deering's California Codes, where they may be assigned a citation such as Cal. Civ. Code § 3344.1.
The easiest way to view a statute's history is to type the statute's citation into the main Lexis or Westlaw search box and then hit enter. For example, if you are interested in researching the history of Cal. Civ. Code § 3344.1, type Cal Civ Code 3344.1 (periods and section symbol optional) in the main Lexis or Westlaw search box and hit enter.
After the text of a statute, you will see a citation to the chapter law that created the statute, followed by citations to each chapter law that amended it. For most recent bills, Lexis and Westlaw will also provide a bill number. To help you identify which chapter law is relevant to your research, both Lexis and Westlaw provide notes explaining what each amendment did. These are shown just after the list of chapter law citations on Lexis and under the History > Editor's and Revisor's Notes subtab on Westlaw.
If you do not have access to Lexis or Westlaw, you can access the Lexis version of the California statutes on Nexis Uni or in print at the law library and you can access the Westlaw version of the California statutes in print at the law library:
Alternatively, you can retrieve the statute for free on the California legislature's LegInfo website:
On LegInfo, the legislative history information is shown just after the statute text. However, be aware that LegInfo's version of the statute's history may be incomplete and may contain only recent amendments, as shown in the example below.