Judiciary Committee, California State Senate
Per Section 11 of the Senate Rules, committees of the California State Senate are assigned by the Committee on Rules. The Committee on Rules consists of the President pro Tempore and four other members elected by the Senate majority on the first day of each session. The Secretary of the Senate serves as the Executive Officer of the Committee on Rules, acting as the authorized representative in all matters delegated by the committee. The Committee on Rules has the power to appoint the chair and vice chair of each committee, as well as the authority to fill vacancies in any Senate committee or in the Senate membership of any joint committee. Per the Senate Rules, the President pro Tempore is considered an ex officio member of all committees of which he or she is not a regular member, but does not have voting rights and is not counted for purposes of determining quorum.
See rules: Standing Rules of the Senate
The duty of the Judiciary Committee, comprising five members, is to investigate and study bills amending the following:
As a standing committee of the California State Senate, the Judiciary Committee has the following powers:
- To appoint a secretary or hire clerical, technical or legal assistants as necessary.
- The committee may summon or subpoena — with prior approval from the Committee on Rules — witnesses and material documents as necessary in its investigation of a bill or law. Subpoenas approved by the Committee on Rules shall be served by the California State Senate Sergeant at Arms, or a designee selected by the Sergeant at Arms.
- All departments, agencies and subdivisions of the state of California, as well as the Legislative Counsel and individuals — regardless of his or her connection to the state government — are required to produce any information, records and documents requested by the committee as necessary.
- All standing committees are allowed to meet at the State Capitol as necessary to perform their duties, and may spend such money as is made available by the Senate for that purpose.
- Unless the money has been made available prior, a committee may not incur debt.
As a standing committee, the Judiciary Committee is also governed by the following rules:
- The officers of each committee shall consist of a chair, vice chair and secretary.
- The chair shall preside at all meetings when present, unless he or she is the sole or lead author of a bill under consideration. If the chair is unable to preside over a meeting, the duty shall fall to the vice chair. Should both members be absent, a member designated by the chair shall preside over the meeting.
- The secretary of the committee is required to keep an accurate record of the meetings and actions as taken by the committee. Bills and other measures approved by the committee shall be reported as soon as possible to the Senate.
- The committee is required to meet on a day and hour as designated by the Committee on Rules.
- Special meetings may be called at the discretion of the chair — following approval by the Committee on Rules — by providing reasonable notification of all members of the time, location and subject of the meeting. Matters may not be considered in a special meeting unless prior notice is given in the Daily File. Special meetings should be scheduled so as to allow all members to attend without scheduling conflicts.
- A majority of the membership of a committee constitutes quorum. A majority vote shall be required to table a bill, remove it from the table or reconsider a vote on a bill.
- Committee members may not take action on a bill outside of a scheduled committee meeting.
- The chair of the committee shall be responsible for setting hearings of bills and arranging the calendar for committee hearings. A bill hearing may not take place unless the bill's author has been notified. Unless written authorization is provided by the bill's author, a bill may not be considered without the presence of the bill's author.
- All meetings shall be open and public, aside from for any purposes authorized by Section 9029 of the Government Code, in which case a committee or subcommittee — by majority vote — may meet in executive session.
- The chair shall be responsible for keeping decorum and directing the order of presentation of the arguments for and against matters for consideration by the committee.
- A bill voted out of a committee or defeated shall only be reconsidered if a motion to reconsider a bill is approved by a majority vote of the committee or if the procedures for reconsideration conform to Joint Rule 62, subdivision (a).
- Any bill laid on the table and then removed from the table at a later meeting may not reheard until a subsequent committee meeting is held and after being calendared in the Daily File and after notice is given.
- If proposed amendments are adopted to a bill in committee, the bill may be voted on at that meeting, or may be taking out to print before final action. Improperly formatted amendments shall be prepared correctly and submitted to the chair for approval. If the chair finds amendments submitted by the author to be major or substantial, the documents must be submitted to the committee at least two legislative days prior to the scheduled hearing.
- Prior to consideration by a standing committee, all bills must be referred by the Committee on Rules.
- The chair of the committee has the power, with permission from the Committee on Rules, to appoint subcommittees.
As a standing committee, the Judiciary Committee must adhere to the additional rules as follows:
- Committees may adopt additional rules as long as they do not come into conflict with the previous rules.
- A majority vote from a standing committee is required to report a bill, constitutional amendment, concurrent resolution or joint resolution out of the committee.
- In order to report a Senate resolution out of a committee, a majority vote from a standing committee is required.
- Just as any member would, a standing committee may introduce a bill concerning any subject within the scope of that committee's consideration. A committee bill shall include the signatures of each member of the committee.
- A committee vote shall be by roll call vote if the members are voting on the disposition of bills, constitutional amendments, concurrent resolutions and joint resolutions by committees.
The following table describes committee membership at the beginning of the 2013 legislative session.
|Judiciary Members, 2013|
|Democratic members (5)||Republican members (2)|
|• Noreen Evans, Chair||• Mimi Walters, Vice-chair|
|• Ellen M. Corbett||• Joel Anderson|
|• Hannah-Beth Jackson|
|• Mark Leno|
|• Bill Monning|
The following table describes committee membership for the 2011 legislative session.
|Judiciary Members, 2011|
|Democratic members (3)||Republican members (2)|
|• Noreen Evans, Chair||• Tom Harman, Vice-chair|
|• Ellen M. Corbett||• Sam Blakeslee|
|• Mark Leno|
- California Legislative Information, “Standing Rules of the Senate - Committees of the Senate,” accessed January 20, 2014 (Rule 11)
- California Legislative Information, “Standing Rules of the Senate - Secretary of the Senate,” accessed January 24, 2014 (Rule 9)
- California Legislative Information, “Standing Rules of the Senate - Elected and Appointed Officers,” accessed January 20, 2014 (Rule 10.5)
- California Legislative Information, “Standing Rules of the Senate - Committee on Rules,” accessed January 20, 2014 (Rule 13(b))
- California Legislative Information, “Standing Rules of the Senate - The President pro Tempore,” accessed January 20, 2014 (Rule 7)
- California Legislative Information, "Standing Rules of the Senate - Standing Committees," accessed January 27, 2014 (Rule 12(15))
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- California Legislative Information, "Standing Rules of the Senate - Powers of Standing Committees," accessed January 24, 2014 (Rule 16)
- California Legislative Information, "Standing Rules of the Senate - Rules Governing Standing Committees," accessed January 24, 2014 (Rule 21.5(a-p))
- California Legislative Information, "Standing Rules of the Senate - Additional Rules," accessed January 24, 2014 (Rule 21.6, 21.7,22,23)