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Frequently Asked Questions: How do I TRACK CALIFORNIA LEGISLATION?

The best on-line resource is this page; it has links to all the important documents.

Each House has its own rules, and there are ‘Joint Rules’; rules are flexible and often suspended – do not count absolutely on a rule applying or continuing to apply to a bill that the leadership wants.

Generally a bill is introduced in January/February and is referred to a ‘Policy Committee’, e.g. “Assembly Public Safety”. There it usually has hearings, and may be amended. The hearing schedule for committees is in the Daily Files. Policy committees work on their House’s bills mostly in March and April. (Each year has a specific calendar.)

If the bill gets out of its policy committee, it usually will go to the Appropriations Committee, to be considered in April and May. Some bills do not cost money, and so are spared the stop in Appropriations.

If it passes out of Appropriations, it gets a floor vote from its full house of origin, usually in late May or early June. If it passes the floor vote, it goes to the other House for consideration, and the process repeats: Policy committee, Appropriations committee, floor vote.

Policy committees are supposed to complete their work (this time on the bills from the other House) by mid-July, appropriations by the end of August, and the floor votes should be complete by mid-September.

Completed bills that pass are sent to the Governor for his signature.

Signed bills generally take effect the following January 1, unless the bill itself has a different date.

To follow a specific bill, open the link and enter the bill number. Documents about the bill are available on line, frequently delayed a few days from the most recent action.

The legislature runs on a two-year session, odd-year and even-year (that is, “09-10” is one session, “11-12” is the next session, and so on).

A bill introduced in the odd year may not pass that year, and may become a ‘two year bill’. Such a bill may be considered in the second year of the session.

If a bill fails passage after the deadline of the second year, that bill is dead. It may be reintroduced in the next legislative session.


Beginner's Guide to Reading California Bills and Bill Pages