California State Assembly

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search

California State Assembly

Seal of California.svg.png
General Information
Type:   Lower house
Term limits:   3 terms (6 years) if elected before 2012; 12 years if elected in or after 2012
2015 session start:   December 1, 2014
Website:   Official House Page
House Speaker:  Toni Atkins (D)
Majority Leader:   Manuel Perez (D)
Minority Leader:   Connie Conway (R)
Members:  80
Length of term:   2 years
Authority:   Art IV, California Constitution
Salary:   $95,291/year + per diem
Last Election:  November 4, 2014 (80 seats)
Next election:  November 8, 2016 (80 seats)
Redistricting:  California Citizens Redistricting Commission
The California State Assembly is the lower house of the California State Legislature. There are 80 members to the Assembly, representing a relatively equal amount of constituencies. Each member represents an average of 465,674 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented approximately 420,000 citizens. Due to the state's large population and relatively small legislature, the Assembly has the largest population per representative ratio of any lower house legislature in the United States; only the federal U.S. House of Representatives has a larger ratio. California is the only state with state legislative districts more populous than its U.S. House districts.

Since the passage of Prop 28 in 2012, legislators first elected on or after November 6, 2012 are limited to a maximum of 12 years. Prop 140, passed in 1990, effects any members elected prior to November 6, 2012 and limits them to a maximum of three two-year terms (six years).[2] California legislators assume office one month after election (December).

As of April 2015, California is one of 7 Democratic state government trifectas.

See also: California State Legislature, California State Senate, California Governor


Article IV of the California Constitution establishes when the California State Legislature, of which the Assembly is a part, is to be in session. Section 3 of Article IV states that the Legislature is to convene in regular session on the first Monday of December in each even-numbered year to organize. The Legislature must adjourn by November 30th of the following even-numbered year.

Section 3 also gives the governor of California the power to call special sessions of the Legislature.


See also: Dates of 2015 state legislative sessions

In 2015, the Legislature is in session from December 1, 2014, through September 11, 2015.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2015 legislative session include the medical marijuana, tuition in the University of California system, a proposed tax increase, internet privacy, regulation of web-based businesses and healthcare for illegal immigrants.[3]


See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 6 to August 30.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included the biennial budget, prison overcrowding and water bonds.[4]


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from December 3, 2012 to September 13, 2013.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included property taxes for education and tax breaks for students.[5]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Assembly was in session from January 4 to August 31.


See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Assembly was in session from January 3 through September 9, 2011. The California Legislature was convened in an extraordinary session to act upon legislation that addressed the fiscal emergency proclaimed by Governor Jerry Brown on January 20, 2011.


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature began its regular session on January 12th, and was scheduled to adjourn on August 31st. Additionally, the legislature adjourned one special session on January 11th of this year, had one ongoing special session that convened in October of 2009, and had another ongoing special session that convened on January 8th, 2010.[6]

On July 28, 2010, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a declaration of fiscal emergency[7][8] as allowed under California's Constitution as approved in 2004 under proposition 58. Upon issuance of a declaration of fiscal emergency, the legislature immediately reconvened and was not able to adjourn until after the fiscal situation was resolved.

Role in state budget

See also: California state budget and finances
California on Horizontal-Policypedia logo-color.png
Check out Policypedia articles about policy in your state on:

The state operates on an annual budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[9][10]

  1. Budget instructions are sent to state agencies beginning in April.
  2. Agencies submit their budget requests to the governor in September.
  3. Agency hearings are held from September through November.
  4. Public hearings are held from March through June.
  5. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature in January.
  6. The legislature adopts a budget in June. A two-thirds majority is required to pass a budget. The fiscal year begins July 1.

California is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[10]

The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget to the legislature. In turn, the legislature is legally required to adopt a balanced budget.[10]

Cost-benefit analyses

See also: Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative Cost-Benefit Study
Map showing results of the Pew-MacArthur cost-benefit study.

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 indicating that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis, while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. The challenges states faced included a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. California was one of 29 states with mixed results regarding the frequency and effectiveness in its use of cost-benefit analysis.[11]

Ethics and transparency

Following the Money report

See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending.[12] According to the report, California received a grade of F and a numerical score of 34, indicating that California was "failing" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.[12]

Open States Transparency

See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. California was given a grade of D in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data was to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.[13]



See also: California State Assembly elections, 2014

Elections for the office of California State Assembly took place in 2014. A primary election took place on June 3, 2014. The general election was held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was March 7, 2014.


See also: California State Assembly elections, 2012

Elections for the office of California State Assembly were held in California on November 6, 2012. All 80 seats were up for election.

The signature filing deadline for candidates was March 9, 2012.

California state assembly members are subject to term limits, and may not serve more than three two-year terms. In 2012, 21 state representatives were termed-out of office.

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.


See also: California State Assembly elections, 2010

Elections for the office of California State Representative were held in California on November 2, 2010. State assembly seats in all districts were on the ballot in 2010.

The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was February 25, 2010, and the primary Election Day was June 8, 2010.

In the 2010 elections, the candidates running for the Assembly raised a total of $77,405,341 in campaign funds. Their top 10 contributors were:[14]


See also: California State Assembly elections, 2008

Elections for the office of California State Assembly consisted of a primary election on June 3, 2008 and a general election on November 4, 2008.

During the 2008 election, the total value of contributions to Assembly candidates was $84,390,298. The top 10 contributors were:[15]


See also: California State Assembly elections, 2006

Elections for the office of California State Assembly consisted of a primary election on June 6, 2006 and a general election on November 7, 2006.

During the 2006 election, the total value of contributions to Assembly candidates was $91,726,959. The top 10 contributors were:[16]


See also: California State Assembly elections, 2004

Elections for the office of California State Assembly consisted of a primary election on March 2, 2004 and a general election on November 2, 2004.

During the 2004 election, the total value of contributions to Assembly candidates was $94,287,806. The top 10 contributors were:[17]


See also: California State Assembly elections, 2002

Elections for the office of California State Assembly consisted of a primary election on March 5, 2002 and a general election on November 5, 2002.

During the 2002 election, the total value of contributions to Assembly candidates was $73,822,064. The top 10 contributors were:[18]


See also: California State Assembly elections, 2000

Elections for the office of California State Assembly consisted of a primary election on March 7, 2000 and a general election on November 7, 2000.

During the 2000 election, the total value of contributions to Assembly candidates was $85,228,873. The top 10 contributors were:[19]


According to Article IV of the California Constitution, the candidate must be a United States Citizen, a resident of California for three years, a resident of the legislative district for one year and a registered voter in that district by the time nomination papers are filed.[20]


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
NevadaMassachusettsColoradoNew MexicoWyomingArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashingtonIdahoTexasOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisWisconsinTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhioKentuckyPennsylvaniaNew JerseyNew YorkVermontVermontNew HampshireMaineWest VirginiaVirginiaMarylandMarylandConnecticutConnecticutDelawareDelawareRhode IslandRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireMichiganMichiganAlaskaVacancy fulfillment map.png

If there is a vacancy in the Assembly, the Governor must call for a special election. The election must be called by the Governor within fourteen days of the vacancy. No special election can be held if the vacancy happened in an election year and the nominating deadline passed.[21]


See also: Redistricting in California

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission -- made up of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four independents -- is responsible for redistricting.

2010 census

California received its local census data on March 7, 2011.[22] The fastest growing counties were Riverside (41.7 percent), Placer (40.3 percent) and Kern (26.9 percent) -- all inland locations.[23]

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission approved maps on August 15, 2011. The final votes were 13-1 on the Senate and Assembly maps and 12-2 on the Congressional map. Republican Michael Ward voted no to both maps while Jodie Filkins Webber joined Ward in dissenting on the Congressional map. A referendum to overturn the Senate map was initiated in August 2011.[24][25]


Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state houses
Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 52
     Republican Party 28
Total 80

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the California State House of Representatives from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the California State House.PNG


The Speaker of the Assembly presides over the Assembly in the chief leadership position, controlling the flow of legislation and committee assignments. The Speaker is elected by the majority party caucus, followed by confirmation of the full Assembly on passage of a floor vote. Other Assembly leaders, such as the majority and minority leaders, are elected by their respective party caucuses according to each party's strength in the chamber.[26]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, California State Assembly
Office Representative Party
Speaker of the Assembly Toni Atkins Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Kevin Mullin Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore David Chiu Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Majority Floor Leader Chris Holden Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Assistant Majority Floor Leader Cristina Garcia Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Majority Whip Miguel Santiago Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Assistant Majority Whip Evan Low Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Assistant Majority Whip Jim Cooper Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Majority Caucus Chair Phil Ting Electiondot.png Democratic
State Assembly Minority Leader Kristin Olsen Ends.png Republican


See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2013, members of the California legislature are paid $95,291 per year. They are also given per diem of $141.86 per day in session.[27]


California does not provide pensions for legislators who took office after 1990.[28]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

California legislators assume office one month after election (December).

Current members

Current members, California State Assembly
District Representative Party Assumed office
1 Brian Dahle Ends.png Republican 2012
2 Jim Wood Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
3 James Gallagher Ends.png Republican 2014
4 Bill Dodd Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
5 Frank Bigelow Ends.png Republican 2012
6 Beth Gaines Ends.png Republican 2011
7 Kevin McCarty Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
8 Ken Cooley Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
9 Jim Cooper Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
10 Marc Levine Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
11 Jim Frazier Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
12 Kristin Olsen Ends.png Republican 2010
13 Susan Talamantes Eggman Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
14 Susan Bonilla Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
15 Tony Thurmond Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
16 Catharine Baker Ends.png Republican 2014
17 David Chiu Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
18 Rob Bonta Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
19 Phil Ting Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
20 Bill Quirk Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
21 Adam Gray Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
22 Kevin Mullin Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
23 Jim Patterson Ends.png Republican 2012
24 Rich Gordon Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
25 Kansen Chu Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
26 Devon Mathis Ends.png Republican 2014
27 Nora Campos Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
28 Evan Low Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
29 Mark Stone Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
30 Luis Alejo Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
31 Henry T. Perea Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
32 Rudy Salas Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
33 Jay Obernolte Ends.png Republican 2014
34 Shannon Grove Ends.png Republican 2010
35 K.H. Achadjian Ends.png Republican 2010
36 Tom Lackey Ends.png Republican 2014
37 Das Williams Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
38 Scott Wilk Ends.png Republican 2012
39 Patty Lopez Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
40 Marc Steinorth Ends.png Republican 2014
41 Chris Holden Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
42 Chad Mayes Ends.png Republican 2014
43 Mike Gatto Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
44 Jacqui Irwin Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
45 Matt Dababneh Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
46 Adrin Nazarian Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
47 Cheryl Brown Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
48 Roger Hernandez Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
49 Edwin Chau Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
50 Richard Bloom Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
51 Jimmy Gomez Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
52 Freddie Rodriguez Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
53 Miguel Santiago Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
54 Sebastian Ridley-Thomas Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
55 Ling-Ling Chang Ends.png Republican 2014
56 Eduardo Garcia Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
57 Ian Charles Calderon Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
58 Cristina Garcia Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
59 Reginald Jones-Sawyer Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
60 Eric Linder Ends.png Republican 2012
61 Jose Medina Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
62 Autumn Burke Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
63 Anthony Rendon Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
64 Mike Gipson Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
65 Young Kim Ends.png Republican 2014
66 David Hadley Ends.png Republican 2014
67 Melissa Melendez Ends.png Republican 2012
68 Donald P. Wagner Ends.png Republican 2010
69 Tom Daly Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
70 Patrick O'Donnell Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
71 Brian Jones Ends.png Republican 2010
72 Travis Allen Ends.png Republican 2012
73 William Brough Ends.png Republican 2014
74 Matthew Harper Ends.png Republican 2014
75 Marie Waldron Ends.png Republican 2012
76 Rocky Chavez Ends.png Republican 2012
77 Brian Maienschein Ends.png Republican 2012
78 Toni Atkins Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
79 Shirley Weber Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
80 Lorena Gonzalez Electiondot.png Democratic 2013

Standing committees

The California Assembly has 31 standing committees:


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, California
Partisan breakdown of the California legislature from 1992-2013

From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the California State House of Representatives for all 22 years. The California State House is one of 18 state Houses that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. During the final three years of the study, California was under Democratic trifectas.

Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives from 1992 to 2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of California, the California State Senate and the California House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of California state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

To read the full report on the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI) in PDF form, click here.

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Arkansas state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. California has never had a Republican trifecta, but did have Democratic trifectas between the years 1999 and 2003 and again after 2010 to the present. California fell steadily in the SQLI ranking until finally reaching the bottom-10 in 2010. The state reached its highest ranking (28th) in 1998 and 1999, first under divided government and then under a Democratic trifecta. The state’s lowest ranking (48th) occurred recently in 2012 under a Democratic trifecta. Except for the years 1995 and 1996, the California legislature has been consistently under Democratic control.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 37.00
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: N/A
  • SQLI average with divided government: 35.21
Chart displaying the partisanship of California government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

Legislative budgets

Each member of the California State Assembly is given an annual budget of about $290,000 with which to hire staff and run their office. Assembly Speaker Karen Bass said on May 11, 2009 that she planned to cut this amount by about 10%, or $29,000 per year per each of the 80 members of the Assembly).[29]

Open Records push:

On August 1, 2011, the California State Assembly stated that the public has no right to know the individual budgets of assembly members. This came about after Assemblyman Anthony Portantino raised an issue stating that his budget was cut after casting the only Democratic vote against the recently passed controversial budget. As a result, he and several media outlets requested that the budget information be made public so that the people could see if members were being punished or rewarded for voting a certain way. The Assembly Rules Committee claimed that such documents are exempt from the Legislative Open Records Act.[30]

See also

Suggest a link

External links


  1. U.S. Census Bureau, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed January 6, 2014
  2. California Legislative Information, "Article IV Legislative (Sec. 1 - Sec. 28)," accessed April 21, 2015
  3. The Sacramento Bee, "Key issues for returning California Legislature," January 5, 2015
  4., "2014 Legislative Year Begins in Sacramento," January 6, 2014
  5. San Francisco Chronicle, "Calif. Democrats ponder their new power," December 2, 2012
  6., "Session dates for California legislature, 2010," accessed April 21, 2015
  7. Office of the Governor, "Gov. Schwarzenegger Declares State of Emergency, Issues Executive Order to Impose Furloughs Due to Cash Crisis Caused By Budget Impasse," accessed August 24, 2010
  8. Office of the Governor, "Executive Order S-12-10," accessed August 24, 2010
  9. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
  11. Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
  12. 12.0 12.1 U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
  13. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  14. Follow the Money, "California Assembly 2010 Campaign Contributions," accessed April 21, 2015
  15. Follow the Money, "California 2008 Candidates," accessed June 18, 2013
  16. Follow the Money, "California 2006 Candidates," accessed June 18, 2013
  17. Follow the Money, "California 2004 Candidates," accessed June 18, 2013
  18. Follow the Money, "California 2002 Candidates," accessed June 18, 2013
  19. Follow the Money, "California 2000 Candidates," accessed June 18, 2013
  20. California Secretary of State, "Qualifications for State Legislature," accessed December 16, 2013(Archived)
  21. Justia, "California Code," accessed December 16, 2013(Referenced Statute, 1773-California Government Code)
  22., "California: 2010," accessed April 21, 2015
  23. Ventura County Star, "With numbers now established, redistricting debate begins," March 9, 2011
  24. Los Angeles Times, "Redistricting-plan opponents given OK to begin referendum drive," August 26, 2011
  25. Ventura County Star, "Tension rises over political maps as redistricting commission gives final approval," August 15, 2011
  26. California State Assembly, "Officers of the California State Assembly," accessed April 21, 2015
  27., "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
  28. USA Today, "State-by-state: Benefits available to state legislators," September 23, 2011
  29. Sacramento Bee, "Bass slices Assembly office budgets -- 10 percent," May 11, 2009
  30., "California Assembly refuses to make public its members’ budgets," accessed April 21, 2015