Glossary of Legislative Terms
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- ACROSS THE DESK
- The official act of introducing a bill or resolution. The
measure is given to the Chief Clerk or his or her representative at the Assembly Desk in the Assembly Chamber or to the Secretary of the Senate or his or her
representative in the Senate Chamber. It then receives a number, is sent to the
State Printer, and becomes a public document available in the bill room. Amendments are also “put across the desk.”
- A bill passed by the Legislature and approved by the Governor.
- Disposition of any question before the Legislature.
- ADJOURN IN MEMORY (AIM)
- A Member may request that the
Assembly or Senate session be adjourned in the memory of a person. This request
must be in writing and shall be read by the Presiding Officer prior to the
adjournment of session.
- Termination of a meeting, occurring at the close of each
legislative day upon the completion of business, accomplished by a successful
motion to end session, with the hour and day of the next meeting being set prior
- ADJOURNMENT SINE DIE
- Literally, “adjournment without day,”
meaning no days left; final termination of the two-year legislative session.
Regular or special sessions of the Legislature are adjourned sine die at midnight
on November 30 of each even-numbered year.
- ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE ACT (APA)
- A statute containing required procedures for rule-making and administrative hearings.
(Chapter 3.5, 4, and 5 [commencing with Section 11340] of Part 1 of Division
3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.)
- Approval or acceptance of motions, amendments or resolutions.
- ADVISE AND CONSENT
- Confirmation by the Senate of certain appointees
of the Governor.
- An alteration made, or proposed to be made, in a bill, motion,
resolution or clause, by adding, changing, substituting or omitting language.
Amendments must be submitted to Legislative Counsel for drafting.
- AUTHOR’S AMENDMENTS (Before Committee Hearing)
submitted by the author of the bill to the committee and submitted to the
Desk by the Chair of the committee to which the bill has been referred. Permits the adoption of the amendments by the House without the benefit of a committee hearing and recommendation.
- AUTHOR’S AMENDMENTS (At Committee Hearing or on the
- Amendments in Committee or on the Floor that are supported by
- COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS
- Amendments proposed by a Committee or a Committee member in a Committee hearing. Adopted by roll call vote of the Committee. May or may not be hostile.
- HOSTILE AMENDMENTS (At Committee Hearing or on the
- Amendments proposed by another Member in Committee or on the
Floor that are not supported by the bill’s author.
- ANALYSIS OF THE BUDGET BILL
- The Legislative Analyst’s
comprehensive examination of the Governor’s Budget; available to legislators
and the public about six weeks after the budget is submitted by the Governor to
- APA RULEMAKING PROCEDURES
- Procedures set forth in the Administrative Procedure Act that generally require state agencies, when
adopting regulations, to give public notice, receive and consider public comments,
submit their regulations and supporting rule-making files to the Office of
Administrative Law for review, and publish the regulations in the California
Code of Regulations (see California Code of Regulations and Rule-Making).
- A parliamentary procedure for challenging the decision of a presiding
- Division of the State into districts from which state and
federal legislative representatives are elected (see reapportionment).
- The amount of money set aside for a specific purpose and
designated from a specific source, such as the General Fund or the Environmental
License Plate Fund.
- APPROPRIATIONS LIMIT
- Established by Proposition 4, which was
passed by voters in 1979 (Article XIII B, California Constitution), the
appropriations limit is the maximum amount of tax proceeds that State or local governments may appropriate in a fiscal year. The limit is adjusted annually but
is based on 1986–87 appropriations.
- APPROVED BY THE GOVERNOR
- Indicating the signature of the Governor on a bill passed by the Legislature.
- Location and contents of public records kept by the Secretary of
State, including copies of all measures considered at each session, journals, committee reports, and documents of historic value.
- The House of the California Legislature, consisting of 80 Members,
elected for two-year terms, from districts apportioned on the basis of population.
- ASSISTANT CHIEF CLERK
- Assists in the supervision and coordination of the operation of the proceedings and actions of the Assembly; performs the
duties of the Chief Clerk in his or her absence.
- A Member of the Legislature who introduces a legislative measure.
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- A Legislature consisting of two Houses.
- A draft of a proposed law introduced by a Member of the Legislature
(Assembly Bill 4000-AB 4000, Senate Bill 1-SB 1).
- BILL ANALYSIS
- A summary of the purpose, content, and effect of a
proposed measure or amendment, prepared for committee or floor proceedings.
- BILL DIGEST
- The legal synopsis of a measure; prepared by Legislative
Counsel (see Digest and Legislative Counsel).
- BLUE PENCIL
- The California Constitution grants the Governor “line item
veto” authority to reduce or eliminate any item of appropriation from any bill
including the Budget Bill. In the 1960’s the Governor actually used an editor’s
blue pencil for the task (see line item veto).
- BOND BILL (General Obligation Bonds)
- A bill authorizing the sale of
State general obligation bonds to finance specified projects or activities; the
measure subsequently must be approved by the voters.
- BUDGET ACT
- The Budget Bill after it has been signed into law by the
- BUDGET BILL
- The spending proposal for the next fiscal year submitted by
the Governor and considered by both houses of the Legislature.
- BUDGET CHANGE PROPOSAL (BCP)
- A document prepared by a
State agency and submitted to an agency secretary and the Department of Finance
to propose a budget change to the baseline budget; used in preparing the
- BUDGET TRAILER BILL
- See “Trailer Bill.”
- BUDGET YEAR
- The next fiscal year that begins July 1 and concludes on
June 30; the year following the current fiscal year.
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- CALIFORNIA CHANNEL (CAL-SPAN)
- The cable television channel
that televises Assembly and Senate proceedings.
- CALIFORNIA CODE OF REGULATIONS
- The official compilation of
regulations legally adopted by State agencies and filed with the Secretary of
State; the recognized source of California administrative law.
- CALL OF THE HOUSE
- The procedure used to compel attendance of
Members and to require those in attendance to remain in the Chamber.
- CALL THE ABSENTEES
- Order by the Presiding Officer directing the
reading clerk to read the names of Members who have not responded to a roll
- CAPITAL OUTLAY
- Funds to be spent acquiring, improving or constructing
- CAPITOL PRESS CORPS
- Members of the press who are responsible for
covering events in the Capitol.
- CASTING VOTE
- The deciding vote the Lieutenant Governor may cast in the
case of a tie vote in the Senate.
- (1)A closed meeting of the legislators of one political party. (2) A
group of legislators who meet formally because of their interest in specific issues
(e.g., Rural Caucus, Women’s Caucus, Latino Caucus, Black Caucus, etc.).
- CAUCUS CHAIR
- A Member selected to serve as chair, with duties as
prescribed by his or her caucus.
- CAUCUS SECRETARY
- An officer of the party caucus whose duties are
prescribed by the caucus.
- A designation of the current presiding officer, usually in the context of a committee hearing.
- The Assembly or Senate Chamber where Floor Sessions are held.
- After a bill has been signed by the Governor, the Secretary of State
assigns the bill a Chapter Number, for example, “Chapter 123, Statutes of 1998,” which subsequently may be used to refer to the measure.
- CHAPTERING OUT
- When, during a calendar year, two or more bills
amending the same code section become law, the bill enacted last (with a higher
chapter number) becomes law and prevails over (“chapters out”) the code section in the bill or bills previously enacted. Chaptering out can be prevented with the adoption of “double jointing” amendments (see conflict, double jointing).
- CHECK-IN SESSION
- On non-Floor Session days, legislators are required to
“check-in” with the Chief Clerk or Secretary of the Senate to be added to the roll for attendance purposes. A quorum must be recorded in order for legislative
business to be transacted.
- CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER
- The chief Assembly staff person
responsible for Assembly administrative, fiscal, personnel, and business affairs;
reports to the Assembly Rules Committee.
- CHIEF CLERK
- A nonpartisan non-Member officer of the Assembly elected
by the majority of the membership at the start of each two-year session as the
Assembly’s legislative officer and parliamentarian.
- Any member of either house, with the agreement of the author of
a bill, may add his or her name on that bill as a coauthor, usually indicating
support for the proposed legislation.
- Bound volumes of law organized by subject matter. The code sections to
be amended by a bill are referred to in the title of the bill.
- Cost-of-living adjustment.
- COMMITTEE CHAIR
- A Member selected by the Speaker to preside over
the proceedings and actions of a specific committee.
- COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
- The entire Assembly or Senate sitting
as a committee to consider any matter properly presented to it.
- COMPANION BILL
- An identical bill introduced in the other House. This
procedure is less common in the California Legislature than in Congress.
- Approval by the House of origin to changes made to a bill
while it was in the second House (e.g., Assembly approval of Senate amendments
to an Assembly bill). If concurrence is denied, the bill is eligible to be sent to a
two-house conference committee (see conference committee).
- CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
- A measure that can be introduced in
either House, but must be approved by both Houses and filed with the Secretary
of State to take effect. The Governor’s signature is not required. These measures
usually involve the business of the Legislature (e.g., adoption of the Joint Rules).
- CONDITION OF THE FILE
- When permitted by the Speaker (in the
Assembly) or the President pro Tempore (in the Senate), a Member may make a
brief statement at the close of a Floor session, to argue why it may be inadvisable
for the Assembly or Senate to adjourn. The statement may be no longer than two
minutes in the Assembly. The Senate has no time limit.
- CONDITIONAL (OR CONTINGENT) EFFECT – The effect of a bill, or portion thereof, is made dependent upon the occurrence of a specified event
- (e.g., passage of another measure, securing a federal waiver, receipt of revenues,
etc.) (see contingent enactment language).
- Members appointed to a conference committee.
- CONFERENCE COMMITTEE
- A joint Assembly and Senate committee
composed of six legislators, three from each House. The conference committee
meets in public session to reconcile differences between the Assembly and Senate
versions of a measure. Three Assembly conferees are chosen by the Speaker;
three Senate conferees are chosen by the Senate Rules Committee.
- CONFERENCE REPORT
- Amendments agreed upon by a majority of a conference committee. Two Members from each House must agree on the conference report in order for the report to be considered by the Houses (see
- The process of approving gubernatorial appointments to
executive departments and many boards and commissions.
- During a calendar year, when two or more bills amend the same
code section, they are said to be in conflict. Technical amendments must be taken
to each bill prior to its approval by the Legislature in order to ensure that all
changes proposed by the enacted bills take effect (see chaptering out, double
- CONSENT CALENDAR
- A group of noncontroversial bills passed by a committee to another committee or the full Assembly or Senate. Bills may be
placed upon the Consent Calendar if they are reported to the Floor with that
recommendation and (1) have received no “no” votes in committee and (2) have
had no opposition expressed by any person present at the hearing.
- A person who resides within the district of a legislator.
- CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
- A resolution changing the
language of the State Constitution, adopted by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature
or presented by initiative. It requires an affirmative vote of the majority of the
electorate to become effective.
- A professional committee staff person.
- CONTINGENT ENACTMENT LANGUAGE
- Connects two bills so
that one bill will not become operative unless another bill also takes effect (see
- To assemble a meeting. The Legislature generally convenes twice a
- CURRENT YEAR
- The current state fiscal year—that is, the fiscal year we are
in now. The State fiscal year begins on July 1 and ends the following June 30.
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- DAILY FILE
- The official document published by each House showing bills eligible for Floor action that day; it also includes a schedule of committee
hearings and Officers and Committees of the House.
- DAILY JOURNAL
- A publication produced by each House for each legislative
day that contains the official record of the Floor Session, vote information,
motions, parliamentary inquiries, and letters of legislative intent (see Journal).
- The dates by which bills must be introduced, heard and enacted.
Established by the Constitution, and by Assembly, Senate, and Joint Rules.
- DELEGATED AUTHORITY
- Power granted by the Legislature to a State
agency to implement or enforce a statute, including the power to adopt regulations.
- The desk at the front of the Chamber where much of the clerical work of the body is conducted. Also, a generic term for the staff and offices of the Chief Clerk of the Assembly and the Secretary of the Senate.
- DESK IS CLEAR
- A statement by the Presiding Officer, prior to a motion to
adjourn, meaning there is no further business.
- Prepared by the Legislative Counsel, it summarizes the effect of the
proposed bill on current law (see Bill Digest and Legislative Counsel’s Digest).
- The area of the State represented by a legislator. Each district is
determined by population and is known by a number. There are 40 Senate districts and 80 Assembly districts.
- DISTRICT BILL
- Legislation introduced specifically on behalf of a legislator’s
district, generally affecting only that district.
- DO PASS
- An affirmative recommendation made by a committee; moves a bill to the Floor or to the next committee, as specified, without amendment.
- DO PASS AS AMENDED
- An affirmative recommendation made by a
committee; moves a bill to the Floor or to the next committee, as specified,
providing the language of the bill is changed as specified.
- DOUBLE JOINTING
- Double jointing refers to technical amendments
necessary when two or more bills propose to amend the same code section (i.e., are in conflict). Double jointing prevents the problem of chaptering out (see Chaptering Out, Conflict).
- DOUBLE REFERRED
- Legislation referred by Rules Committee to two
policy committees for hearing. Both committees must approve the measure to
keep it moving in the process. This is typically used for issue areas that overlap
the jurisdiction of more than one policy committee.
- When an author has decided not to pursue the passage of a bill.
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- EFFECTIVE DATE
- As specified by the Constitution, the date when a
law takes effect. The date is usually January 1 of the following year, unless the
bill is an urgency measure or specifies another date.
- ENACTING CLAUSE
- The phase at the beginning of each bill: “The people
of the State of California do enact as follows:”
- ENACTMENT OR ENACTED INTO LAW
- The act of passing
legislation involves both Houses. A bill moves through the legislative process
and, if agreed upon by both houses, is sent to the Governor. If the Governor signs the bill or allows it to become law without his signature, it is enacted into law.
- ENACTMENT DATE
- The date the Governor signs a bill.
- ENGROSSED BILL
- Whenever a bill is amended, the printed form of the
bill is proofread to make sure all amendments are inserted properly. After being
proofread, the bill is “correctly engrossed” and is therefore in proper form.
- ENGROSSING AND ENROLLING
- A nonpartisan unit in each House
responsible for proofreading all forms of measures. The unit also prepares and
delivers bills to the Governor for consideration.
- The process of comparing the printed bill to ensure it is
identical to the original and to verify that any amendments have been correctly
- ENROLLED BILL
- Whenever a bill passes both Houses of the Legislature,
it is ordered enrolled. Upon enrollment, the bill is again proofread for accuracy
and then delivered to the Governor. The enrolled bill contains the complete text
of the bill with the dates of passage certified by the Chief Clerk of the Assembly
and the Secretary of the Senate.
- Occurs when bills are filed with the Governor and resolutions
are filed with the Secretary of State, after they have been accepted by both
- EXECUTIVE SESSIONA
- committee meeting restricted to committee
members and specifically invited guests.
- EXEMPT FROM REVIEW BY THE OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW
- A statutory provision exempting a state agency from the Administrative Procedure Act requirement to submit proposed regulations and
their supporting rule-making file to the Office of Administrative Law for review. Other APA requirements apply. (See APA rule-making procedures).
- EXEMPT FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE ACT
- A statutory provision exempting a state agency or its regulations from
compliance with all standards and procedures set forth in the Administrative
- A motion to delete from the record any reference to a specific action. The motion must be made on the day the vote is taken.
- EXTRAORDINARY SESSION
- A special legislative session called by
the Governor to address only those issues specified in the proclamation. Measures introduced in these sessions are numbered chronologically with a lower case “x” after the number (e.g., AB 28x); they take effect generally the 91st day after adjournment of the special session.
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- FILE NOTICE
- Bills that are scheduled for a committee hearing must be
listed in the Daily File for not less than four days prior to the hearing. Two days’ notice is required if a bill is subsequently heard by another committee.
- FILE NUMBER
- The number assigned to a measure in the Assembly or
Senate Daily File. The file number changes each day as bills move on or off the
Daily File. File numbers are assigned to measures on second and third reading
and unfinished business. Legislation is taken up on the Assembly or Senate Floor in chronological order according to file number. Items considered on the Floor are referred to by file number.
- FINAL HISTORY
- The publication printed at the end of every session showing
the final disposition of all measures.
- FINANCE LETTER
- A proposal made by the Director of Finance to the
chairs of the budget committees in each House to amend the Budget Bill and the Governor’s Budget from the form submitted January 10, in order to reflect a
revised plan of expenditure.
- FIRST READING
- The initial introduction of a bill. The clerk assigns it a
number and reads its title and sends the bill to be printed. The bill is then referred by Rules committee to a standing committee for a future hearing.
- FISCAL BILL
- Any measure that contains an appropriation of funds or
requires a state agency to spend money for any purpose or results in a substantial loss of revenue to the state. The Legislative Counsel determines which bills are fiscal bills, pursuant to Joint Rule 10.5. The designation appears at the end of the Legislative Counsel’s Digest. Fiscal bills must be heard by the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees in addition to the appropriate policy committees in each House.
- FISCAL COMMITTEES
- The committees in each house that consider
appropriations: Appropriations and Budget Committees. All fiscal bills are
referred to a fiscal committee. The budget bill is referred only to the Budget
Committee. Most other fiscal bills are heard by the Appropriations Committee if
they have been approved by policy committees. If the fiscal committee approves the bill, it usually then moves to the Floor.
- FISCAL DEADLINE
- The date by which all bills with fiscal implications
must be reported out of fiscal committee. Any fiscal bill missing the deadline is
considered “dead” unless it receives a rule waiver allowing further consideration.
- FISCAL YEAR
- The 12-month period during which a budget is in effect. The
State fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30 of the following year. The federal fiscal year begins October 1 and ends September 30 of the following year.
- (1)That portion of the Assembly or Senate Chamber reserved for
Members and officers of the Assembly or Senate and other persons granted the privilege of the Floor. (2) The term used to describe the location of a bill or the type of session, connoting action to be taken by the House. Matters may be said to be “on the Floor.”
- FLOOR ANALYSIS UNIT
- A nonpartisan unit in the Chief Clerk’s office
which is responsible for editing the bill analyses that are prepared by committee staff. The packet of analyses is then made available for Members to reference during Floor Sessions.
- FLOOR MANAGER
- The legislator responsible for taking up a measure on
the Floor; usually the bill’s author in the house of origin and a Member of the
other house designated by the author when the bill is heard there. The name of the Floor Manager in the second house appears in parentheses after the author’s name in the Daily File.
- FLOOR PASS
- No visitor may observe the Assembly or Senate from the rear
of the Chamber without a pass. Assembly passes are issued by the Speaker’s
office; Senate passes are issued by the President pro Tempore’s office. Passes are not required for the viewing area in the gallery above the chambers.
- FOREIGN AMENDMENTS
- Amendments not drafted by the Legislative
- FOUR-DAY FILE NOTICE
- Joint Rule 62(a) requires bills set for hearing in
the committee of first reference to be noticed in the Daily File for four days prior
to hearing. Subsequent committees of reference require a Daily File notice of two days.
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- The balconies of the chambers from which visitors may view proceedings of the Legislature.
- Referring to whether a proposed amendment is relevant to the
subject matter in the bill. Legislative Counsel may opine on germaneness, but the determination of germaneness is decided by the Presiding Officer, subject to an appeal by the membership.
- GOVERNOR’S BUDGET
- A spending plan for the State presented annually
by the Governor in January, for consideration by the Legislature; compiled by the Department of Finance, in conjunction with state department heads.
- GOVERNOR’S REORGANIZATION PLAN
- A proposal to
reorganize the functions within the Executive Branch, subject to approval by the Legislature.
- A legal exemption whereby a situation is governed by
an old law while a new law applies to all future, similar situations.
- GUT AND AMEND
- When amendments to a bill remove the current contents
in their entirety and replace them with different provisions.
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- The 3” x 5¾” hardbound edition of California Legislature
published for each two-year legislative session. It contains indexed versions of
the Assembly, Senate, and Joint Rules; biographies of Members; and other useful information. The handbook is published by the Assembly Chief Clerk and
Secretary of the Senate for their respective houses.
- A committee meeting convened for the purpose of considering and
acting upon or gathering information on a specific subject.
- HELD IN COMMITTEE
- When a bill fails to get sufficient votes to pass out
of committee, it is held in committee.
- HELD UNDER SUBMISSION
- An action taken by a committee when a bill
is heard in committee and there is an indication that the author and the committee members want to work on or discuss the bill further, but there is no motion for the bill to progress out of committee. This does not preclude the bill from being set for another hearing.
- HELD WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION
- An action taken by a
committee when a bill is heard in committee and there is no indication that the
committee wants the bill to progress out of committee. There is no motion for the bill to progress out of committee. This does not preclude the bill from being set for another hearing.
- HELP DESK
- The place to call with questions about the hardware or software of the legislative computer network.
- An action to delete the contents of a bill and insert entirely new
provisions. May occur with or without the author’s permission.
- A publication that gives a comprehensive list of all actions taken on
every bill. It is published in weekly volumes by each house.
- Refers to either the Senate or the Assembly in California.
- HOUSE OF ORIGIN
- The House in which a measure begins; the Assembly is
the House of Origin for all Assembly measures. As opposed to the “Second
House”—the house which hears measures following the House of Origin.
- HOUSE RESOLUTION
- A measure by the Assembly used for stating
policies, such as the House Rules, and expressing views of the House. House
Resolutions require adoption by a majority vote of the Assembly.
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- INACTIVE FILE
- The portion of the Daily File containing legislation that
is ready for floor consideration, but, for a variety of reasons, is dormant. An
author may move a bill to the inactive file if he or she wishes to take it up at a later date. Once a bill is on the inactive file, one day’s public notice is needed to place it back on the agenda.
- A method of lawmaking that requires a vote of the people instead
of a vote of the Legislature in order for a measure to become law. To qualify for
a statewide ballot, statutory initiatives must receive signatures of voters equal to 5% of the votes cast for all candidates for Governor at the last gubernatorial
election. Constitutional amendment initiatives must receive signatures equal to
8% of the same number of votes.
- The period of time between the adjournment of the first year of the
biennium and the reconvening of the second year of the biennium.
- INTERIM STUDY
- The assignment of the subject matter of a bill to the
appropriate committee for study during the interim recess.
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- JOINT COMMITTEE
- A committee composed of equal numbers of Assembly
Members and Senators.
- JOINT RESOLUTION
- A resolution expressing an opinion about an issue
pertaining to the federal government; forwarded to Congress for its information. Joint resolutions require the approval of both the Assembly and Senate but do not require approval by the Governor.
- JOINT SESSION
- The Assembly and Senate meeting together, usually in the
Assembly chamber. The purpose is to receive special information such as the
Governor’s State of the State Address.
- The official chronological record of the proceedings of each House.
The Journal is the minutes of the meetings of the House, printed daily. At the end of session, the Journal is certified, indexed, and bound (see Daily Journal).
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- Rules of conduct determined by the people through their elected
representatives or by direct vote.
- LAY ON THE TABLE
- A motion to set aside a matter (e.g., amendments)
before the house which may not be taken up again during Floor session. The
motion is not debatable.
- LEGISLATIVE ADVOCATE
- A person engaged to present views of a
group or organization to legislators. Commonly called lobbyists.
- LEGISLATIVE ANALYST
- Staff director of the Joint Budget Committee.
The Legislative Analyst provides a thorough, nonpartisan analysis of the fiscal
impact of the Governor’s Budget.
- LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL
- The attorney for the Legislature, elected
jointly by both houses. The Legislative Counsel and his or her legal staff is
responsible for drafting all bills and amendments, preparing a digest (summary)
of each bill, providing legal opinions, and generally representing the Legislature
in legal proceedings.
- LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST
- A brief summary of the changes
the proposed bill would make to current law. The digest is found in the
beginning of each bill (see Bill Digest).
- LEGISLATIVE DATA CENTER
- Department within the Office of
Legislative Counsel that maintains the database in which legislation is drafted
and amended; the Inquiry System, used to track and report legislation; and the computer systems used by Members and staff in their legislative work. Also
provides technological support to the Legislature.
- LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION SYSTEM (LIS)
- A computer system designed by the Legislative Data
Center which allows nearly immediate access to information on bill text, analyses, Daily File, Legislative Index, Daily Journal, California Constitution, legislative
rules, and the California Codes.
- LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
- The President of the Senate; designated by
the State Constitution to preside over the Senate and cast a vote only in the event of a tie. If the Governor cannot assume his or her duties or is absent from the State, the Lieutenant Governor assumes the role of the Executive for the remainder of the term or during the absence.
- LINE ITEM VETO
- See Blue Pencil.
- An individual who seeks to influence the outcome of legislation or
administrative decisions. The law requires formal registration as a lobbyist if an
individual is paid $2,000 or more in any calendar month, or spends one-third or
more compensated time in any calendar month, engaging in activities to influence the outcome of legislation or dministrative decisions. State employees who lobby for state agencies are not required to formally register but are still subject to the lobbyist gift limits.
- LOBBYIST DIRECTORY
- A Directory of Lobbyists, Lobbying Firms,
and Lobbyist Employers. Photos and addresses of lobbyists are included with a
list of the clients they represent. Employers of lobbyists are listed alphabetically. This directory is available on-line at the Secretary of State’s web site.
- LOWER HOUSE
- The Assembly.
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- MAJORITY FLOOR LEADER
- In the Assembly, the Majority Floor
Leader is an officer of the Assembly appointed by the Speaker. He or she
represents the Speaker on the floor and, in conjunction with the Presiding Officer, expedites Assembly Floor proceedings through parliamentary procedures such as motions and points of order. The Majority Floor Leader works directly with the
Speaker pro Tempore, other members of the majority party’s leadership team, and the Minority Leader, to facilitate positive interaction between the Members
during floor sessions. In the Senate, the Majority Leader is a party leader chosen
by the majority party caucus.
- MAJORITY POLICY LEADER
- The Assembly Majority Policy Leader performs duties assigned by the Speaker, including assisting the Speaker in the development and implementation of the policy goals and objectives for the
- MAJORITY OF THE HOUSE
- Quorum requirement of one more than half
of the qualified members sitting at that time. For example, if there are four
vacancies in the Assembly, 39 members would make a majority of the house.
- MAJORITY OF THOSE PRESENT AND VOTING
- A vote
threshold determined by the number of members voting at that time. For example, if 40 members are voting on the adoption of amendments, a minimum of 21 “aye” votes would be necessary to adopt the amendments.
- MAJORITY VOTE
- A vote of more than half of the legislative body
considering a measure. The full Assembly requires a majority vote of 41 and the full Senate requires 21, based on their memberships of 80 and 40, respectively.
- MAJORITY WHIP
- A member of the majority party’s leadership team in
the Assembly or Senate, responsible for monitoring legislation and securing
votes for legislation on the Floor.
- MASON’S MANUAL
- The definitive reference manual for parliamentary
procedure, unless specifically covered by the Legislature’s own written rules.
Most parliamentary situations are covered by the State Constitution, Joint Rules or Assembly Rules.
- MAY REVISION
- The updated estimate of revenues and expenditures, submitted by the Governor no later than May 14; replaces the estimates contained in the Governor’s Budget submitted in January.
- Any bill, resolution, or constitutional amendment that is acted upon
by the Legislature.
- MESSAGES FROM THE GOVERNOR
- Official communications from
the Governor that are read into the record.
- MINORITY FLOOR LEADER
- Elected by the caucus having the second
largest house membership. Generally responsible for making motions, points of
order, and representing the minority caucus on the floor.
- MINORITY WHIP
- A member of the minority party’s leadership team in the
Assembly or Senate, responsible for monitoring legislation and securing votes
for legislation on the Floor.
- An accurate record of the proceedings (see Journal).
- A formal request for action made by a legislator during a committee
hearing or Floor Session.
- MOTION TO RECONSIDER
- A parliamentary procedure which, if
adopted, reverses an action previously taken and returns the question before the body for another vote.
- MOTION TO RE-REFER
- This motion is utilized to send a measure from
one committee to another. A motion to re-refer a bill or resolution from one
committee to another committee may be made during the regular order of business. Debate is allowed as to the propriety of the re-referral, and requires 41 or more votes in the Assembly, 21 or more votes in the Senate.
- MOVE A CALL
- A parliamentary procedure that delays the announcement of
the vote on a measure. This action gives a member additional time to gain more support or opposition to a bill. All calls must be “lifted” before the House
adjourns that day.
- MOVE THE PREVIOUS QUESTION
- A motion made to end debate
on a measure.
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- NONFISCAL BILL
- A measure having no financial impact on the state and,
therefore, not required to be heard in an Assembly or Senate fiscal committee as it moves through the legislative process. Nonfiscal bills are subject to later
legislative calendar deadlines than fiscal bills.
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- OATH OF OFFICE
- An oath taken by members-elect prior to being seated
and embarking upon official duties.
- OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW (OAL)
- The independent executive branch agency charged with reviewing state agency rulemaking and
regulations for compliance with procedures and standards set forth in the
rulemaking portion of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).
- Members or non-Members of the Legislature who are elected by the membership of their respective Houses at the beginning of each Session.
Assembly Member officers include the Speaker and Speaker pro Tempore. Non-
Member Assembly officers include the Chief Clerk and the Sergeant-at-Arms.
Senate Member officers include the President pro Tempore; non-Member Senate officers include the Secretary of the Senate and the Sergeant-at-Arms.
- ON CALL
- A roll call vote in a committee or in an Assembly or Senate Floor
Session before it has been concluded and, therefore, has not been formally
announced. Members may continue to vote or change their votes as long as a
measure remains on call. Calls are usually placed at the request of a bill’s author in an effort to gain votes. Calls can be lifted by request at any time during the committee hearing or Floor Session, but cannot be carried over into the next legislative day (see Move a Call).
- ON FILE
- A bill on Second or Third Reading or Unfinished Business awaiting
Concurrence; listed in the Assembly or Senate Daily File.
- ON THE FLOOR
- Describing the state of being in the Assembly or Senate
Chambers, where legislation is considered by the full Assembly or Senate.
- OUT OF ORDER
- A parliamentary ruling by the presiding officer of a
committee or the house that an action is not properly before the body or relevant to its discussion and, therefore, cannot be discussed at that moment.
OVERRIDE – An effort to reverse a Governor’s veto by a vote of two-thirds of the members of each house. A successful override requires 54 votes in the Assembly and 27 votes in the Senate.
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- PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY
- A question posed by a Member during
a committee hearing or Floor Session. A Member must be recognized for this
purpose and the question is then answered by the committee chair or presiding officer.
- Under Assembly Rule 32, the Chief Clerk is the
Parliamentarian of the Assembly, responsible for advising the house on legislative procedures.
- Favorable action on a measure before either House.
- PASS AND RETAIN
- When a bill stays on File until the next day without
penalty. If a Member wishes to wait an additional day before taking up a bill, the Member may ask the House for unanimous consent to pass and retain his or her bill on File until the next legislative day.
- PASS ON FILE
- When the House refuses to “Pass and Retain” a measure on
the agenda, it is “Passed on File.” Although the bill remains on the agenda for
the next day, if it is not taken-up the second time, it will automatically be placed on the inactive file.
- PASS TEMPORARILY
- A measure temporarily skipped on the agenda. If
the bill’s author does not take-up the measure by the end of the day, it may be
penalized or retain its place on File by unanimous consent. (See Pass on File.)
- PER DIEM
- Literally means “per day.” It is the daily expense money rendered
- POINT OF ORDER
- A parliamentary procedure used by a Member to bring
attention to a possible violation of the rules. The presiding officer then makes a
ruling on the validity of the point of order.
- POLITICAL REFORM ACT OF 1974
- Proposition 9 created the Fair
Political Practices Commission (FPPC) to enforce political campaign, lobbying,
and conflict of interest laws in the state of California, similar to what the Federal Elections Commission does at the federal level. Part of these reforms included creation of gift limits, lobbyist reporting requirements, and regulation of state official fundraising activities. Any bills that amend this Act have a two-thirds vote requirement for passage, and are subject to a 12-day waiting period before final passage of each house. See Elections Code, Sections 81012.
- PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
- The State Constitution designates the
Lieutenant Governor as President of the Senate, allowing him or her to preside
over the Senate and cast a vote only in the event of a 20–20 tie.
- PRESIDING OFFICER
- The Member who presides over a legislative Floor
Session. In the Assembly, the presiding officer can be the Speaker, Speaker pro Tempore, or any other Assembly Member appointed by the Speaker. In the
Senate, the presiding officer can be the President, the President pro Tempore, or any other Senator appointed by the President pro Tempore.
- PRESS CONFERENCE
- A presentation of information to a group of
reporters. Capitol press conferences are frequently held in the Governor’s press room, Room 1190 of the State Capitol.
- PREVIOUS QUESTION
- If a Member seeks to cut off all further debate on
a measure, he or she can move the previous question and force the body to vote immediately on the issue.
- PRINCIPAL COAUTHOR
- A Member of either the house of origin or the
second house, singled out to share credit as a coauthor below the author of a
- PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR
- Permission given by the presiding officer
to view the proceedings from the Floor of the chamber, rather than from the
gallery. Members make this request on behalf of constituents and guests.
- PUT OVER
- When action is delayed on a legislative measure until a future date
without jeopardy to the measure.
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- The term applied to the action or discretion of public
administrative officers or agencies to make law, primarily through rulemaking.
- The minimum number of legislators needed to begin conducting
official business in committee or on the Floor. A quorum is one more than half of
the entire body.
- QUORUM CALL
- Transmitting the message that Members are needed to
establish a quorum so proceedings can begin.
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- Presentation of a bill before the House by reading its title. The
Constitution requires a bill’s title to be read three times in each House prior to its passage. A bill is either on First, Second, or Third Reading until it is passed by both Houses (see Title).
- Redistricting the State for election; completed every
ten years following the national census.
- (1) An official pause of any length in a committee hearing or Floor
Session that halts the proceedings for a period of time but does not have the
finality of adjournment. (2) A break of more than four days in the regular Session schedule such as the Spring Recess.
- A motion that, if carried, allows a measure that failed
or passed to be heard again in committee or on the Floor.
- The method, used by members of the public, by which a
measure adopted by the Legislature may be submitted to the electorate for a vote. A referendum petition must be signed by electors equal to five percent of the total vote for all gubernatorial candidates in the last gubernatorial election.
- Bill referrals are made by the Assembly and Senate Rules
Committees to standing committees of their respective Houses.
- RE-REFERRAL PURSUANT TO A.R. 77.2 OR S.R. 29.10
bill that has been substantially amended may be re-referred to a committee by the Assembly Speaker (A.R. 77.2) or Senate Rules Committee (S.R. 29.10). Under these rules, the presiding officer of either house can re-refer a bill to committee without consent from the body. A motion to object is out of order.
- A rule made by a state agency to carry out a legislative or
administrative mandate. Must meet specified standards for adoption. A legally
adopted regulation has the force of law (see Administrative Procedures Act).
- An opinion expressed by one or both houses which does not
have the force of law. Concurrent and joint resolutions are voted on by both
houses but do not require the Governor’s signature.
- ROLL CALL
- A vote of a committee or the full Assembly or Senate indicating the vote of each Member present and voting (as opposed to a “voice vote”).
Committee roll calls are conducted by the committee secretary, who calls each
Member’s name in alphabetical order with the Chair’s name called either first or
last. Assembly Floor roll calls are conducted electronically with each Member
pushing a button from his or her assigned seat. The green button designates “aye” and the red button designates “no.” Senate roll calls are conducted by the Reading Clerk who reads each Senator’s name in alphabetical order; the Senator voices his or her vote.
- The exercise of power granted by the Legislature to a state
agency to adopt regulations to implement, interpret, or make specific the law
enforced or administered by it, or to govern its procedure.
- Those standards and procedures which govern the operation of either or both Houses. There are Standing Rules of the Assembly, Standing Rules of the Senate, and Joint Rules.
- RULE WAIVER
- A specific exception sought from the Assembly, Senate, or
Joint Rules by an Assembly Member or Senator; formal permission must be
sought and received.
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- SECOND READING
- Each bill introduced must be read by title three times
before final passage; this is the first order of business on the Daily File. The
House approves or denies committee recommendations at Second Reading,
usually without debate or vote.
- SECOND READING FILE
- The portion of the Daily File that lists measures
that have been reported out of committee. Measures which will be going
to the Floor for consideration will stay on the Second Reading File for one day
(without amendments) or two days (with amendments) before moving to Third
- SECRETARY OF THE SENATE
- Principal parliamentarian and record keeper for the Senate; elected by Senators at the beginning of each two-year
Session. The Senate Secretary and his or her staff are responsible for publishing the Senate daily and weekly publications.
- Staff responsible for maintaining order and
providing security for legislators. The Chief Sergeant-at-Arms in each House is
elected by a majority of the Members of that House at the beginning of every
- The period during which the Legislature meets. The California
legislative session is biennial—it occurs over a two-year period.
- SHORT COMMITTEE
- Lacking a sufficient number of members of the
committee; less than a quorum.
- SINE DIE
- Final adjournment. Literally, “without days,” the end of session (see
Adjournment Sine Die).
- The highest ranking officer of the Assembly; usually elected by the
Assembly Members at the beginning of each two-year legislative session. The
Speaker or his or her designee presides over Floor Session. The Speaker’s powers and duties are established in the Assembly Rules.
- SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE
- The Speaker pro Tempore is appointed by
the Speaker. He or she is an officer of the House who presides over Floor Sessions in the absence of the Speaker. As the presiding officer, the Speaker pro Tempore guides the Members through the daily business of the house, responds to parliamentary inquiries, and issues rulings on points of order when necessary.
- SPECIAL ORDER OF BUSINESS
- Occasionally a bill is of such
importance that advanced notice is given about when it will be considered in the full Assembly, Senate, or committee. A request for a Special Order of Business may be made during a Floor Session by requesting unanimous consent to set the bill as a special order on a specific date and time. This assures adequate time for debate and allows all Members the opportunity to be present. When a bill will be heard as a Special Order of Business in committee, it is so noticed in the Assembly Daily File.
- The legislator, private individual, or group who developed a piece of legislation and advocates its passage.
- SPOT BILL
- A bill that amends a code section in a nonsubstantive way. A spot
bill may be introduced to ensure that a germane vehicle will be available at a later date. Assembly Rules provide that a spot bill cannot be referred to a committee by the Rules Committee without substantive amendments.
- STANDING COMMITTEES
- Created pursuant to Assembly Rules, the
Standing Committees consider legislation, the state budget, and internal
legislative matters, as determined by their jurisdictions. Jurisdictions are set by
the Assembly Rules Committee. Standing Committees must meet specific
standards for notice, analyses, quorums, and voting (see Fiscal Committees).
- STATE AUDITOR
- Works at the direction of the Joint Audit Committee. The
Auditor General audits the financial condition of State agencies.
- STATE MANDATE
- Chapter 1406, Statutes of 1972, first established the
requirement for the State to reimburse units of local government for all costs
mandated by the State. These costs may result from either legislative acts or
administrative regulations that impose a new program or demand an increased
level of service in an existing program. Proposition 4 of 1979 (Gann Initiative)
incorporated this requirement into Section 6 of Article XIII B of the State
- The compilation of all enacted bills, chaptered by the Secretary of
State in the order in which they become law.
- STOP THE CLOCK
- The term used to describe the process of continuing
business after a time deadline has passed.
- A subgroup of a full committee, composed of committee
Members from both parties.
- SUMMARY DIGEST
- Brief summaries of each piece of legislation passed
in the two-year session; prepared by Legislative Counsel. Measures are listed in
the order they were signed into law.
- SUNSET DATE
- A date included in a measure which causes the act to “sunset,” or become ineffective, after a certain date.
- SUPPLEMENTAL DAILY FILE
- Like the Daily File, Supplemental
Files serve as the agenda for Floor sessions. During legislative deadlines,
supplemental files may be published in addition to the Daily File, in order to
expedite the business of the house. These supplemental files usually consist of
concurrence items and/or measures from committee reported out the same day. By producing supplemental files, the house can take up business immediately instead of waiting for the overnight printing of a new agenda for the next day’s session. Supplemental files differ slightly in appearance from Daily Files, as they are usually printed on standard copier paper instead of bound newsprint. Several supplemental files may be produced for a single floor session during periods of heavy workloads.
- SUSPENSE FILE
- A bill or set of bills, with a fiscal impact, set aside in
Appropriations Committee by a majority of Members present and voting. These
bills may be heard at a later hearing.
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- To set aside. Typically used to dispense with, or set aside, amendments to a bill rather than vote “aye” or “no” on them. A motion to table is nondebatable and, once made, must be voted upon.TAX LEVY – Any bill that imposes, repeals, or materially alters a state tax.
Legislative Counsel determines whether a bill is a tax levy and so indicates this
information in the title, digest, and body of the bill. Tax levies have slightly
different legislative deadlines than do other measures.
- TERM LIMITS
- The Term Limits Initiative, Proposition 140, was passed by
the voters in 1990. It limits Assembly Members to three two-year terms and
Senators and statewide Constitutional officers to two four-year terms.
- THIRD HOUSE
- Refers to Lobbyists.
- THIRD READING
- Each bill introduced must be read three times before final passage. Third reading is the stage at which bills are eligible for Floor debate and final vote.
- THIRD READING ANALYSIS
- A summary of a measure ready for Floor
consideration. It summarizes the bill including its most recent amendments and
information regarding how Members voted on the measure when it was heard in committee (see Floor Analysis Unit).
- THIRD READING FILE
- The portion of the Daily File that lists the bills
that are ready to be taken up for final vote on the Assembly or Senate Floor.
- THIRD SET
- The third date scheduled by a committee for hearing a bill after
two prior settings as requested by the author. If the measure is not successfully moved from committee after its third set, it is dead. Hearing date changes made by the committee chairperson do not count toward the set total.
- THIRTY-DAY PROVISION
- The 30-day waiting period following a bill’s
introduction before a bill may be heard or acted upon by the Legislature. The
waiting period is required by the State Constitution and the Joint Rules, and can be waived by a three-fourths vote (60 in the Assembly; 30 in the Senate).
- That portion of a measure which identifies the subject matter of a measure and the code sections it will affect (see Bill Title).
- Specification in a bill that the act will be named for a state
- TRAILER BILL (or BUDGET TRAILER BILL)
- Legislation that
implements specific changes to the law in order to enact the State Budget.
Generally, a separate “trailer bill” is needed for each major area of budget
appropriation, such as transportation, human services, education, revenue, etc. These bills are generally negotiated as part of the entire budget package each fiscal year.
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- UNANIMOUS CONSENT
- The consent (permission) of all those Members
present, absent any objection, debate, or vote; for example, unanimous consent granted to suspend the four-day File notice requirement to hear a bill in committee.
- UNDERGROUND REGULATION
- An agency regulation that should have
been, but was not, adopted following procedures set forth in the rulemaking
portion of the Administrative Procedure Act (commencing with Government
Code Section 11340). Such regulations are invalid.
- UNFINISHED BUSINESS
- The section of the Daily File that contains bills
pending concurrence in amendments taken in the second House, vetoed by the
Governor, conference reports, and certain other motions.
- UPPER HOUSE
- The Senate.
- URGENCY CLAUSE
- Language in a bill which states the bill will take effect
immediately upon enactment. A Floor vote on the urgency clause must precede a vote on the bill. A two-thirds vote is required for adoption of the clause and for passage of the bill.
- URGENCY MEASURE
- A bill affecting the public peace, health, or safety
and requiring a two-thirds vote for passage. An urgency bill becomes effective
immediately upon enactment.
- USUAL CURRENT EXPENSES
- A term used to describe legislation that
appropriates the necessary expenses of the various departments of the state
government. Under the Constitution, such bills take effect immediately upon
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- The formal action of the Governor disapproving a measure by returning it to its House of origin. The Governor’s veto may be overridden by a two-thirds
vote of each House. The Governor can also exercise a line-item veto, where the
amount of an appropriation is reduced or eliminated, while the rest of the bill is
approved. A line-item veto may also be overridden by a two-thirds vote in each
House (see Blue Pencil).
- VOICE VOTE
- A vote that requires only an oral “aye” or “no” with no official
count taken. The presiding officer determines whether the “ayes” or
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- WEEKLY HISTORY
- A weekly publication that gives a comprehensive list
of all actions taken on every bill during that week. It is published by each House (see History).
- A party officer charged with monitoring Floor activity of caucus Members.
- WITHDRAW FROM COMMITTEE
- A Floor vote to compel the
discharge of a bill from committee.
- An acronym for the term “without reference to file.” Since the rules of both houses require bills to be listed on the day’s agenda, a measure that is not listed in the official agenda would have to be taken up “without reference to file.” The Assembly or Senate may suspend the rules to take up a “WORF” item.
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