Difference between revisions of "California Constitution"

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{{CAConstitution}}{{TOCnestright}}The '''California Constitution''' is the basic governing document of [[California]]. The state's first constitution was adopted in November 1849 in advance of California attaining U.S. statehood in 1850.  That constitution was superseded by the current constitution, which was ratified on May 7, 1879.<ref>[http://www.amazon.com/The-California-State-Constitution-Constitutions/dp/031327228X Joseph R. Grodin, Calvin R. Massey, and Richard B. Cunningham (1993), ''The California State Constitution: A Reference Guide'', Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.]</ref>
{{CAConstitution}}{{TOCnestright}}The '''California Constitution''' is the document that establishes and describes the duties, powers, structure and function of the government of [[California]]. The state's first constitution was adopted in November 1849 in advance of California attaining U.S. statehood in 1850.  That constitution was superseded by the current constitution, which was ratified on May 7, 1879.<ref>Joseph R. Grodin, Calvin R. Massey, and Richard B. Cunningham, ''The California State Constitution: A Reference Guide'' (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1993), 8 and 16.</ref>
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California's constitution can be amended through statewide votes of the electorate on [[legislatively-referred constitutional amendment]]s and [[initiated constitutional amendment]]s.  It can also be amended through a process beginning with a [[constitutional convention]].
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==Notable features==
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The California Constitution is one of the longest of the [[state constitution]]s.  
  
==Preamble==
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Unlike other state constitutions, the California Constitution strongly protects the corporate existence of cities and counties ''and'' grants them broad plenary home rule powers.<ref>Grodin, 170-192.</ref> By specifically enabling cities to pay counties to perform governmental functions for them, Section 8 of Article XI resulted in the rise of the contract city.<ref>Grodin, 193.</ref>
  
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Several of the individual rights clauses in the state constitution have been interpreted as providing rights broader than the Bill of Rights in the federal constitution.<ref>Grodin, 37.</ref>  Two examples are ''[[Robins v. Pruneyard Shopping Center]]'' and the 1972 case ''California v. Anderson'', the first decision in America to find the death penalty unconstitutional.  The U.S. Constitution's 8th Amendment prohibits punishments which are ''cruel '''and''' unusual'', while the state constitution prohibits punishments which are ''cruel '''or''' unusual''.
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==[[Preamble, California Constitution|Preamble]]==
 
:: ''See also: [[Preambles to state constitutions]]''
 
:: ''See also: [[Preambles to state constitutions]]''
  
The full preamble is 27 words: "We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this Constitution."
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{| style="width:40%; background:#F2F2F2; margin-top:.1em; border:.5px solid #cccccc; solid;"
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|color:#000"|
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|-
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| <center>"We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this Constitution."</center>
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|}
  
==Article I==
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==[[Article I, California Constitution|Article I]]==
 
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:: ''Main article: [[Article I, California Constitution]]''
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Article I is labeled as the "Declaration of Rights." It contains 32 sections, numbered Sections 1-31 with an additional Section 14.1. The first section declares "All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights.  Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy."<ref>[http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/.const/.article_1 Article I of the California Constitution]</ref>
 
Article I is labeled as the "Declaration of Rights." It contains 32 sections, numbered Sections 1-31 with an additional Section 14.1. The first section declares "All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights.  Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy."<ref>[http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/.const/.article_1 Article I of the California Constitution]</ref>
  
==Article II==
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==[[Article II, California Constitution|Article II]]==
 
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:: ''Main article: [[Article II, California Constitution]]''
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Article II is labeled, '''Voting, Initiative and Referendum, and Recall.''' It has twenty sections, many of which are short and even one-sentence declarations such as [[Article II, California Constitution#Section 7|Section 7]] which says "Voting shall be secret".
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Article II is labeled, "Voting, Initiative and Referendum, and Recall." It has twenty sections, many of which are short and even one-sentence declarations such as [[Article II, California Constitution#Section 7|Section 7]] which says "Voting shall be secret".
  
 
[[Article II, California Constitution#Section 8|Sections 8]], [[Article II, California Constitution#Section 10|Section 10]], [[Article II, California Constitution#Section 11|Section 11]] and [[Article II, California Constitution#Section 12|Section 12]] govern [[ballot initiative]]s, including defining the [[California signature requirements|signature requirements]] for initiatives, the [[single-subject rule]], a provision that says that initiatives must apply equally to all subdivisions (added in [[California Proposition 219 (1998)|1998]]), when initiatives that have been approved take effect, what to do in the case of conflicting initiatives and the [[California Attorney General]]'s [[ballot title]] authorities.
 
[[Article II, California Constitution#Section 8|Sections 8]], [[Article II, California Constitution#Section 10|Section 10]], [[Article II, California Constitution#Section 11|Section 11]] and [[Article II, California Constitution#Section 12|Section 12]] govern [[ballot initiative]]s, including defining the [[California signature requirements|signature requirements]] for initiatives, the [[single-subject rule]], a provision that says that initiatives must apply equally to all subdivisions (added in [[California Proposition 219 (1998)|1998]]), when initiatives that have been approved take effect, what to do in the case of conflicting initiatives and the [[California Attorney General]]'s [[ballot title]] authorities.
  
==Article III==
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==[[Article III, California Constitution|Article III]]==
[[Image:511n0NleZdL. SS400 .jpg|thumb|350px|Cartoon depicting concern over the 1879 constitution]]
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[[Image:511n0NleZdL. SS400 .jpg|thumb|300px|Cartoon depicting concern over the 1879 constitution.]]
:: ''Main article: [[Article III, California Constitution]]''
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Article III is labeled, '''State of California.''' It has nine sections that lay out some basic, definitional characteristics of how the government of California is organized.  It includes provisions on how to sue the state of California.  It has been amended over the years to include some very specific provisions such as [[Article III, California Constitution#Section 6|Section 6]], which defines English as the official language of California, and [[Article III, California Constitution#Section 8|Section 8]], which establishes a compensation commission.
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Article III is labeled, "State of California." It has nine sections that lay out some basic, definitional characteristics of how the government of California is organized.  It includes provisions on how to sue the state of California.  It has been amended over the years to include some very specific provisions such as [[Article III, California Constitution#Section 6|Section 6]], which defines English as the official language of California, and [[Article III, California Constitution#Section 8|Section 8]], which establishes a compensation commission.
  
==Article IV==
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==[[Article IV, California Constitution|Article IV]]==
  
:: ''Main article: [[Article IV, California Constitution]]''
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Article IV is labeled "Legislative." It has 23 sections. There are no sections between Section 22 and Section 28; that is, there are no Sections 23, 24, 25 or 27.   
 
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Article IV is labeled "Legislative."It has 23 sections. There are no sections between Section 22 and Section 28; that is, there are no Sections 23, 24, 25 or 27.   
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Article IV lays out the powers, privileges and responsibilities of the [[California State Legislature]], the [[California State Assembly]] and the [[California State Senate]].
 
Article IV lays out the powers, privileges and responsibilities of the [[California State Legislature]], the [[California State Assembly]] and the [[California State Senate]].
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[[Article IV, California Constitution#Section 9|Section 9]] says that statutes passed by the legislature can concern themselves with only [[single-subject rule|one subject]].
 
[[Article IV, California Constitution#Section 9|Section 9]] says that statutes passed by the legislature can concern themselves with only [[single-subject rule|one subject]].
  
==Article V==
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==[[Article V, California Constitution|Article V]]==
  
:: ''Main article: [[Article V, California Constitution]]''
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Article V is labeled "Executive." It has 13 sections, which go from Section 1-Section 14, with no section 12.
 
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Article V is labeled "Executive."It has 13 sections, which go from Section 1-Section 14, with no section 12.
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Article V lays out the duties and authorities of the executive branch of California government, including those of the governor.
 
Article V lays out the duties and authorities of the executive branch of California government, including those of the governor.
  
==Article VI==
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==[[Article VI, California Constitution|Article VI]]==
 
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:: ''Main article: [[Article VI, California Constitution]]''
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[[Article VI, California Constitution|Article VI]] is the article of the constitution that lays out the scope, responsibilities, powers and authorities of the judicial branch of California government.  It has 22 sections.
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==Article VII==
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[[Article VI, California Constitution|Article VI]] is the article of the constitution that lays out the scope, responsibilities, powers and authorities of the judicial branch of California government. It has 22 sections.
  
:: ''Main article: [[Article VII, California Constitution]]''
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==[[Article VII, California Constitution|Article VII]]==
  
 
[[Article VII, California Constitution|Article VII]] is labeled "Public Officers and Employees." It has eleven sections.
 
[[Article VII, California Constitution|Article VII]] is labeled "Public Officers and Employees." It has eleven sections.
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There is no Article VIII.
 
There is no Article VIII.
  
==Article IX==
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==[[Article IX, California Constitution|Article IX]]==
 
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:: ''Main article: [[Article IX, California Constitution]]''
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[[Article IX, California Constitution|Article IX]] is labeled "Education."  It is numbered in [[Article IX, California Constitution#Section 1|Sections 1]] through [[Article IX, California Constitution#Section 16|Sections 16]].  Over the years, six sections have been interpolated in the article ([[Article IX, California Constitution#Section 2.1|2.1]], [[Article IX, California Constitution#Section 3.1|3.1]], [[Article IX, California Constitution#Section 3.2|3.2]], [[Article IX, California Constitution#Section 3.3|3.3]], [[Article IX, California Constitution#Section 6.5|6.5]] and [[Article IX, California Constitution#Section 7.5|7.5]]), while Sections 4, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 15 have been deleted.
 
[[Article IX, California Constitution|Article IX]] is labeled "Education."  It is numbered in [[Article IX, California Constitution#Section 1|Sections 1]] through [[Article IX, California Constitution#Section 16|Sections 16]].  Over the years, six sections have been interpolated in the article ([[Article IX, California Constitution#Section 2.1|2.1]], [[Article IX, California Constitution#Section 3.1|3.1]], [[Article IX, California Constitution#Section 3.2|3.2]], [[Article IX, California Constitution#Section 3.3|3.3]], [[Article IX, California Constitution#Section 6.5|6.5]] and [[Article IX, California Constitution#Section 7.5|7.5]]), while Sections 4, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 15 have been deleted.
  
==Article X==
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==[[Article X, California Constitution|Article X]]==
 
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:: ''Main article: [[Article X, California Constitution]]''
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[[Article X, California Constitution|Article X]] is labeled "Water."  It has seven sections.   
 
[[Article X, California Constitution|Article X]] is labeled "Water."  It has seven sections.   
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* [[Article X, California Constitution#Section 2|Section 2]] says that the right of access to water in the state is limited to "such water as shall be reasonably required for the beneficial use to be served."
 
* [[Article X, California Constitution#Section 2|Section 2]] says that the right of access to water in the state is limited to "such water as shall be reasonably required for the beneficial use to be served."
  
==Article XA==
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==Article [[Article XA, California Constitution|XA]]==
 
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:: ''Main article: [[Article XA, California Constitution]]''
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[[Article XA, California Constitution|Article XA]] is labeled "Water Resources Development." It includes eight sections.
 
[[Article XA, California Constitution|Article XA]] is labeled "Water Resources Development." It includes eight sections.
  
==Article XB==
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==[[Article XB, California Constitution|Article XB]]==
 
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:: ''Main article: [[Article XB, California Constitution]]''
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[[Article XB, California Constitution|Article XB]] is labeled "Marine Resources Protection Act of 1990." It became part of the state's constitution as the result of [[California Proposition 132 (1990)]].
 
[[Article XB, California Constitution|Article XB]] is labeled "Marine Resources Protection Act of 1990." It became part of the state's constitution as the result of [[California Proposition 132 (1990)]].
  
==Article XI==
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==[[Article XI, California Constitution|Article XI]]==
 
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:: ''Main article: [[Article XI, California Constitution]]''
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[[Article XI, California Constitution|Article XI]] is labeled "Local Government."  It has 15 sections, which define the powers and constraints of local governments.
 
[[Article XI, California Constitution|Article XI]] is labeled "Local Government."  It has 15 sections, which define the powers and constraints of local governments.
  
==Article XII==
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==[[Article XII, California Constitution|Article XII]]==
 
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:: ''Main article: [[Article XII, California Constitution]]''
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[[Article XII, California Constitution|Article XII]] is labeled "Public Utilities."  It has nine sections.  These sections define the scope of the state's Public Utilities Commission.
 
[[Article XII, California Constitution|Article XII]] is labeled "Public Utilities."  It has nine sections.  These sections define the scope of the state's Public Utilities Commission.
  
One section ([[Article XII, California Constitution#Section 7|Section 7]]) takes care to note that transportation companies are not allowed to "grant free passes or discounts" to any public officeholders in the state, other than the members of the Public Utilities Commission.
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One section ([[Article XII, California Constitution#Section 7|Section 7]]) notes that transportation companies are not allowed to "grant free passes or discounts" to any public officeholders in the state, other than the members of the Public Utilities Commission.
  
==XIII, XIII A, XIII B, XIII C, XIII D==
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==[[Article XIII, California Constitution|XIII]], [[Article XIII A, California Constitution|XIII A]], [[Article XIII C, California Constitution|XIII B]], [[Article XIII C, California Constitution|XIII C]], [[Article XIII D, California Constitution|XIII D]]==
  
:: ''Main articles: [[Article XIII, California Constitution|XIII]], [[Article XIII A, California Constitution|XIII A]], [[Article XIII C, California Constitution|XIII B]], [[Article XIII C, California Constitution|XIII C]] and [[Article XIII D, California Constitution|XIII D]]''
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[[Article XIII, California Constitution|Article XIII]] is labeled "Taxation." It is numbered in Sections 1-35, but it consists of 38 sections since three half-sections ([[Article XIII, California Constitution#Section 3.5|3.5]], [[Article XIII, California Constitution#Section 8.5|8.5]] and [[Article XIII, California Constitution#Section 25.5|25.5]]) have been added over time.  Taken together, the 38 sections of Article XIII lay out a number of detailed provisions about what kind of property in California is taxable, along with some property that the Article holds to be exempt from taxation.   
 
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[[Article XIII, California Constitution|Article XIII]] is labeled "Taxation." It is numbered in Sections 1-35, but it consists of 38 sections since three half-sections ([[Article XIII, California Constitution#Section 3.5|3.5]], [[Article XIII, California Constitution#Section 8.5|8.5]], and [[Article XIII, California Constitution#Section 25.5|25.5]]) have been added over time.  Taken together, the 38 sections of Article XIII lay out a numbered of detailed provisions about what kind of property in California is taxable, along with some property that the Article holds to be exempt from taxation.   
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As an example of the level of detail that can be found throughout Article XIII, consider [[Article XIII, California Constitution#Section 10|Section 10]], which says, "Real property in a parcel of 10 or more acres which, on the lien date and for 2 or more years immediately preceding, has been used exclusively for nonprofit golf course purposes shall be assessed for taxation on the basis of such use, plus any value attributable to mines, quarries, hydrocarbon substances, or other minerals in the property or the right to extract hydrocarbons or other minerals from the property."
 
As an example of the level of detail that can be found throughout Article XIII, consider [[Article XIII, California Constitution#Section 10|Section 10]], which says, "Real property in a parcel of 10 or more acres which, on the lien date and for 2 or more years immediately preceding, has been used exclusively for nonprofit golf course purposes shall be assessed for taxation on the basis of such use, plus any value attributable to mines, quarries, hydrocarbon substances, or other minerals in the property or the right to extract hydrocarbons or other minerals from the property."
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:: ''Main article: [[California constitutional convention]]''
 
:: ''Main article: [[California constitutional convention]]''
  
A [[constitutional convention]] was under consideration in 2009-2010 by some [[:California political organizations|California political organizations]] as a way to fix a system they believe is broken.<ref>[http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/08/01/18613654.php ''IndyBay'', "Does California Need a Constitutional Convention?", August 1, 2009]</ref><ref name=times>[http://www.latimes.com/la-ed-convention16-2009aug16,0,2622405.story ''Los Angeles Times'', "Ready for the devil we don't know", August 16, 2009]</ref>
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A [[constitutional convention]] was under consideration in 2009-2010 by some [[:California political organizations|California political organizations]] as a way to fix a system they believe is broken.<ref>[http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/08/01/18613654.php ''IndyBay'', "Does California Need a Constitutional Convention?", August 1, 2009]</ref><ref name=times>[http://www.latimes.com/la-ed-convention16-2009aug16,0,2622405.story ''Los Angeles Times'', "Ready for the devil we don't know", accessed August 16, 2009]</ref>
  
The hope of those who supported a constitutional convention is that it would "take on the manifold structural problems in California's budget process at a single stroke."<ref name="cons">[http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/06/a-constitutional-conventionsolution-or-peril.html ''Los Angeles Times'', "Fixing California: A constitutional convention -- solution or threat?", June 5, 2009]</ref>
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The hope of those who supported a constitutional convention is that it would "take on the manifold structural problems in California's budget process at a single stroke."<ref name="cons">[http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/06/a-constitutional-conventionsolution-or-peril.html ''Los Angeles Times'', "Fixing California: A constitutional convention -- solution or threat?", accessed June 5, 2009]</ref>
  
The [[Bay Area Council]] was a leading voice in favor of a constitutional convention.  The group has sponsored several summits and meetings to develop support for a convention.  Comments from the summits include "Drastic times call for drastic measures" and "We believe it is our duty to declare that our California government is not only broken, it has become destructive to our future".<ref>[http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/21/ED4812EHIR.DTL&hw=constitutional+Convention&sn=005&sc=425 ''San Francisco Chronicle'', "California government has failed us", August 21, 2009]</ref>
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The [[Bay Area Council]] was a leading voice in favor of a constitutional convention.  The group has sponsored several summits and meetings to develop support for a convention.  Comments from the summits include "Drastic times call for drastic measures" and "We believe it is our duty to declare that our California government is not only broken, it has become destructive to our future".<ref>[http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/21/ED4812EHIR.DTL&hw=constitutional+Convention&sn=005&sc=425 ''San Francisco Chronicle'', "California government has failed us", accessed August 21, 2009]</ref>
  
 
Letters requesting [[ballot title]]s for two potential [[California 2010 ballot propositions|2010 ballot propositions]] were filed with the [[California Attorney General]] in June 2009.  However, in February 2010, supporters announced that a lack of funds had led them to decide to abandon this effort.
 
Letters requesting [[ballot title]]s for two potential [[California 2010 ballot propositions|2010 ballot propositions]] were filed with the [[California Attorney General]] in June 2009.  However, in February 2010, supporters announced that a lack of funds had led them to decide to abandon this effort.
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* [[California Call for a Limited Constitutional Convention (2010)]]
 
* [[California Call for a Limited Constitutional Convention (2010)]]
  
==Compared to other constitutions==
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==See also==
 
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[[File:StateConstitutions Ballotpedia.jpg|right|175px]]
The California Constitution is one of the longest of the [[state constitution]]s.  What accounts for its length?  Factors that have been said to influence the size of the California Constitution include the public's lack of faith in elected officials and the availability of [[initiated constitutional amendment|initiated amendments]] in California.<ref>Grodin, 14-15.</ref> Several amendments involved the authorization of the creation of state government agencies, including the State Compensation Insurance Fund and the State Bar of California; the purpose of such amendments was to insulate the agencies from being attacked as an unconstitutionally broad exercise of police power. 
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* [[State constitution]]
 
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* [[Constitutional article]]
Unlike other state constitutions, the California Constitution strongly protects the corporate existence of cities and counties ''and'' grants them broad plenary home rule powers.<ref>Grodin, 170-192.</ref> By specifically enabling cities to pay counties to perform governmental functions for them, Section 8 of Article XI resulted in the rise of the contract city.<ref>Grodin, 193.</ref>
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* [[Constitutional amendment]]
 
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* [[Constitutional revision]]
Several of the individual rights clauses in the state constitution have been interpreted as providing rights broader than the Bill of Rights in the federal constitution.<ref>Grodin, 37.</ref>  Two examples are ''[[Robins v. Pruneyard Shopping Center]]'' and the 1972 case ''[[California v. Anderson]]'', the first decision in America to find the death penalty unconstitutional.  The U.S. Constitution's 8th Amendment prohibits punishments which are ''cruel '''and''' unusual'', while the state constitution prohibits punishments which are ''cruel '''or''' unusual''.
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* [[Constitutional convention]]
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* [[Amendment|Amendments]]
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** [[Initiated constitutional amendment]]
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** [[Legislatively-referred constitutional amendment]]
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** [[Publication requirements for proposed state constitutional amendments]]
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** [[Rules about constitutional conventions in state constitutions]]
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** [[State constitutional articles governing state legislatures]]
  
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
{{wikipedia}}
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{{submit a link}}
* [http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/const.html California Constitution], a searchable index of the California Constitution.
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* [http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/const.html A searchable index of the California Constitution]
* [http://www.ss.ca.gov/archives/level3_const1849txt.html 1849 California Constitution] from the California State Archives.
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* [http://www.ss.ca.gov/archives/level3_const1849txt.html 1849 California Constitution from the California State Archives]  
* [http://www.amazon.com/California-State-Constitution-Reference-Constitutions/dp/031327228X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242647957&sr=8-1 The California State Constitution: A Reference Guide], Joseph R. Grodin, Calvin R. Massey, and Richard B. Cunningham, (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1993)
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* [http://books.google.com/books?id=jwc4AAAAIAAJ&dq=california+state+constitution&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=t3_y82g-Uv&sig=xrsQmtAj7j5iWeaK0MXs4gLzpvU&hl=en&ei=klARSoelAY-OMufPnKMG&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3 The Constitution of the State of California], as annotated by Edward Treadwell in 1902
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* [http://www.repaircalifornia.org/Docs/california_history.pdf History of California's constitutional conventions]
 
* [http://www.repaircalifornia.org/Docs/california_history.pdf History of California's constitutional conventions]
 
* [http://californiaconstitution.wikispot.org/ The California Constitution Wiki], a wiki project to re-design the state's constitution
 
* [http://californiaconstitution.wikispot.org/ The California Constitution Wiki], a wiki project to re-design the state's constitution
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==Further reading==
 +
* [http://www.amazon.com/The-California-State-Constitution-Constitutions/dp/031327228X Joseph R. Grodin, Calvin R. Massey, and Richard B. Cunningham (1993), ''The California State Constitution: A Reference Guide'', Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.]
 +
* [http://books.google.com/books?id=jwc4AAAAIAAJ&dq=california+state+constitution&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=t3_y82g-Uv&sig=xrsQmtAj7j5iWeaK0MXs4gLzpvU&hl=en&ei=klARSoelAY-OMufPnKMG&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3 Treadwell, Edward (1902). ''The Constitution of the State of California'', San Francisco, California: Bancroft-Whitney.]
  
 
==References==
 
==References==
{{reflist|2}}
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{{reflist}}
  
 
{{California Constitution}}
 
{{California Constitution}}
 
{{State constitutions}}
 
{{State constitutions}}
 
{{california}}
 
{{california}}

Revision as of 08:49, 27 February 2014

California Constitution
Flag of California.png
Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVI
VIIVIIIIXXXA
XBXIXIIXIIIXIII A
XIII BXIII CXIII DXIVXVXVIXVIIIXIXXIX AXIX BXIX C
XXXXIXXII
XXXIVXXXV
The California Constitution is the basic governing document of California. The state's first constitution was adopted in November 1849 in advance of California attaining U.S. statehood in 1850. That constitution was superseded by the current constitution, which was ratified on May 7, 1879.[1]

Notable features

The California Constitution is one of the longest of the state constitutions.

Unlike other state constitutions, the California Constitution strongly protects the corporate existence of cities and counties and grants them broad plenary home rule powers.[2] By specifically enabling cities to pay counties to perform governmental functions for them, Section 8 of Article XI resulted in the rise of the contract city.[3]

Several of the individual rights clauses in the state constitution have been interpreted as providing rights broader than the Bill of Rights in the federal constitution.[4] Two examples are Robins v. Pruneyard Shopping Center and the 1972 case California v. Anderson, the first decision in America to find the death penalty unconstitutional. The U.S. Constitution's 8th Amendment prohibits punishments which are cruel and unusual, while the state constitution prohibits punishments which are cruel or unusual.

Preamble

See also: Preambles to state constitutions
"We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this Constitution."

Article I

Article I is labeled as the "Declaration of Rights." It contains 32 sections, numbered Sections 1-31 with an additional Section 14.1. The first section declares "All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy."[5]

Article II

Article II is labeled, "Voting, Initiative and Referendum, and Recall." It has twenty sections, many of which are short and even one-sentence declarations such as Section 7 which says "Voting shall be secret".

Sections 8, Section 10, Section 11 and Section 12 govern ballot initiatives, including defining the signature requirements for initiatives, the single-subject rule, a provision that says that initiatives must apply equally to all subdivisions (added in 1998), when initiatives that have been approved take effect, what to do in the case of conflicting initiatives and the California Attorney General's ballot title authorities.

Article III

Cartoon depicting concern over the 1879 constitution.

Article III is labeled, "State of California." It has nine sections that lay out some basic, definitional characteristics of how the government of California is organized. It includes provisions on how to sue the state of California. It has been amended over the years to include some very specific provisions such as Section 6, which defines English as the official language of California, and Section 8, which establishes a compensation commission.

Article IV

Article IV is labeled "Legislative." It has 23 sections. There are no sections between Section 22 and Section 28; that is, there are no Sections 23, 24, 25 or 27.

Article IV lays out the powers, privileges and responsibilities of the California State Legislature, the California State Assembly and the California State Senate.

Section 1.5 makes a strong statement in favor of term limits, saying, "The ability of legislators to serve unlimited number of terms, to establish their own retirement system, and to pay for staff and support services at state expense contribute heavily to the extremely high number of incumbents who are re-elected. These unfair incumbent advantages discourage qualified candidates from seeking public office and create a class of career politicians, instead of the citizen representatives envisioned by the Founding Fathers. These career politicians become representatives of the bureaucracy, rather than of the people whom they are elected to represent." Section 2 defines the exact nature of those term limits.

Section 9 says that statutes passed by the legislature can concern themselves with only one subject.

Article V

Article V is labeled "Executive." It has 13 sections, which go from Section 1-Section 14, with no section 12.

Article V lays out the duties and authorities of the executive branch of California government, including those of the governor.

Article VI

Article VI is the article of the constitution that lays out the scope, responsibilities, powers and authorities of the judicial branch of California government. It has 22 sections.

Article VII

Article VII is labeled "Public Officers and Employees." It has eleven sections.

Article VIII

There is no Article VIII.

Article IX

Article IX is labeled "Education." It is numbered in Sections 1 through Sections 16. Over the years, six sections have been interpolated in the article (2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 6.5 and 7.5), while Sections 4, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 15 have been deleted.

Article X

Article X is labeled "Water." It has seven sections.

  • Section 1 asserts that the right of eminent domain exists with respect to all frontages on navigable waters in California.
  • Section 2 says that the right of access to water in the state is limited to "such water as shall be reasonably required for the beneficial use to be served."

Article XA

Article XA is labeled "Water Resources Development." It includes eight sections.

Article XB

Article XB is labeled "Marine Resources Protection Act of 1990." It became part of the state's constitution as the result of California Proposition 132 (1990).

Article XI

Article XI is labeled "Local Government." It has 15 sections, which define the powers and constraints of local governments.

Article XII

Article XII is labeled "Public Utilities." It has nine sections. These sections define the scope of the state's Public Utilities Commission.

One section (Section 7) notes that transportation companies are not allowed to "grant free passes or discounts" to any public officeholders in the state, other than the members of the Public Utilities Commission.

XIII, XIII A, XIII B, XIII C, XIII D

Article XIII is labeled "Taxation." It is numbered in Sections 1-35, but it consists of 38 sections since three half-sections (3.5, 8.5 and 25.5) have been added over time. Taken together, the 38 sections of Article XIII lay out a number of detailed provisions about what kind of property in California is taxable, along with some property that the Article holds to be exempt from taxation.

As an example of the level of detail that can be found throughout Article XIII, consider Section 10, which says, "Real property in a parcel of 10 or more acres which, on the lien date and for 2 or more years immediately preceding, has been used exclusively for nonprofit golf course purposes shall be assessed for taxation on the basis of such use, plus any value attributable to mines, quarries, hydrocarbon substances, or other minerals in the property or the right to extract hydrocarbons or other minerals from the property."

Process of amendment

Main article: Amending state constitutions

The California Constitution can be amended in these ways:

  • Two-thirds of the membership of each chamber of the California State Legislature must propose an amendment, which then goes on a statewide ballot to be ratified or rejected by the state's voters.
  • The state legislature is allowed to propose revisions (not just amendments) to the constitution.
  • If measures conflict, and they both get more than 50% of the vote, the one with the highest number of votes prevails.
  • Ratified amendments take effect the day after the election.

Constitutional convention advocated

Main article: California constitutional convention

A constitutional convention was under consideration in 2009-2010 by some California political organizations as a way to fix a system they believe is broken.[6][7]

The hope of those who supported a constitutional convention is that it would "take on the manifold structural problems in California's budget process at a single stroke."[8]

The Bay Area Council was a leading voice in favor of a constitutional convention. The group has sponsored several summits and meetings to develop support for a convention. Comments from the summits include "Drastic times call for drastic measures" and "We believe it is our duty to declare that our California government is not only broken, it has become destructive to our future".[9]

Letters requesting ballot titles for two potential 2010 ballot propositions were filed with the California Attorney General in June 2009. However, in February 2010, supporters announced that a lack of funds had led them to decide to abandon this effort.

See also

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External links

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Further reading

References