GLOSSARY OF LEGISLATIVE TERMS 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 Chambers or to the Secretary of the Senate or his or her representative in the Senate Chambers. It then receives a number and becomes a public document available from the bill room.
A bill passed by the Legislature and approved by the Governor.
Termination of a meeting; occurring at the close of each legislative day upon the completion of business, with the hour and day of the next meeting being set prior to adjournment.
Adjournment Sine Die
Final adjournment of the Legislature; regular sessions of the Legislature are adjourned sine die at midnight on November 30 of each even-numbered year.
Approval or acceptance; usually applied to amendments or resolutions.
Advise And Consent
Confirmation by the Senate of certain appointees of the Governor.
Formal proposal to change the language of a bill after it has been introduced. Amendments must be submitted to Legislative Counsel for drafting.
Author's Amendments - Amendments proposed by the bill's author anytime after bill introduction. In committee they are amendments placed in the bill prior to the committee hearing that are subject to the committee chair's approval.
Hostile Amendments - Amendments proposed by another member and opposed by the author in a committee hearing or during Assembly or Senate Floor consideration.
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 to the Legislature.
Division of the State into districts from which representatives are elected.
The amount of money made available for expenditure by a specific entity from a specific source such as the General Fund, Environmental License Plate Fund, etc., and for a specific purpose.
Established by Prop. 4 passed by voters in 1979, this is the maximum amount of tax proceeds that State or local government may appropriate in a fiscal year. The limit is adjusted annually but based on 1986-87 appropriations.
(Budget Change Proposal) A document prepared by a State agency and submitted to an agency and submitted to an agency secretary (if necessary) and the Department of Finance to propose and document budget changes to maintain the existing level of service or to change the level of service; and is used in preparing the Governor's Budget.
A proposed law, introduced during a session for consideration by the Legislature, and identified numerically in order of presentation; also, commonly refers to Joint and Concurrent Resolutions and Constitutional Amendments.æ
(Line Item Veto) The Constitution grants the Governor "line item veto"authority to reduce or eliminate any item of appropriation from any bill including the budget bill. Thirty years ago the Governor used an editor's blue pencil for the task.
Bond Bill (General Obligation Bonds)
A bill authorizing the sale of State general obligation bonds to finance specified projects or activities, which must be subsequently approved by the voters.
Suggested allocation of State moneys presented annually by the Governor, for consideration by the Legislature; compiled by the Department of Finance, in conjunction with State department heads.
The Budget bill; after it has been signed into law by the Governor.
The spending proposal for the next fiscal year, beginning July 1, and ending June 30, by the Department of Finance and submitted to the Legislature by the Governor.
The next, rather than the current fiscal year, beginning July 1 and ending June 30.
Call Of The House
On motion from the Floor, the presiding officer directs the Sergeant-at-Arms to lock the chambers and bring in the absent members (by arrest, if necessary) to vote on a measure under consideration. No action is taken on an item under call until the call is lifted, at which time it must be immediately voted on.
Funds to be spent acquiring or constructing fixed assets.
The deciding vote the Lieutenant Governor may cast in the case of a tie vote in the Senate.
After a bill has been signed by the Governor, the Secretary of State assigns the bill a "Chapter Number"such as "Chapter 123, Statutes of 1992,"which is subsequently used to refer to the measure rather than the bill number.
When two or more bills, during one year of the session, amend the same section of law and more than one bill becomes law, amendments made by the bill enacted last (and therefore given a later or higher chapter number) becomes law and prevail over the amendments made by the bill or bills previously enacted.
Weekdays when legislators do not meet in formal legislative sessions, they are required to "check in"with the Chief Clerk or Secretary of the Senate. Mondays, Thursdays (and Fridays during busy periods) are formal Floor Session days. Check-in days are typically Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Elected by Assembly members at the beginning of every two-year session to be principal parliamentarian and record keeper of the Assembly. Responsible for all Assembly daily and weekly publications.
Any member of either house, with the agreement of the author of a bill, may add his or her name on that member's bill as a coauthor, usually indicating support for the proposal.
Bound volumes of law organized by subject matter. The code to be changed by a bill is referred to in the title of the bill.
Committee Of The Whole
The Assembly or Senate meeting as a committee for the purpose of receiving information.
An identical bill introduced in the other house. This procedure is far more common in Congress than in the California Legislature.
One house approving a bill as amended in the opposite house. If the author is unwilling to move the bill as amended by the other house, the author requests "nonconcurrence"in the bill and asks for the formation of a conference committee.
A measure introduced in one house which, if approved, must be sent to the other house for approval. The Governor's signature is not required. These measures usually involve the business of the Legislature.
Officially designated members of a conference committee.
Usually composed of three legislators (generally two from the majority party; one from the minority party) from each house who meet in public session to forge one version of similar Senate and Assembly bills. The final conference committee version must be approved by both Assembly and Senate. Assembly conferees are chosen by the Speaker; Senate conferees are chosen by the Senate Rules Committee.
The process of approving gubernatorial appointments to executive departments and many boards and commissions.
File containing bills which have received no dissenting votes and which have received unanimous agreement to pass.
A person who resides within the district of a legislator.
A resolution changing the language of the State Constitution. It may be presented in bill form, by the Legislature or by initiative, which requires the populace to vote.
The fund from which monies are appropriated by the respective houses for operational expenses.
To assemble a meeting. The Legislature generally convenes twice a week.
Publication produced by the Assembly and Senate respectively for each day those houses are in session. The publication provides information about bills to be considered at upcoming committee hearing and bills eligible for consideration during the next scheduled Floor session. Pursuant to Joint Rule 62(a), any bill to be heard in committee must be noticed in the Daily File for four days, including weekend days. The Daily File also contains useful information about committee assignments and the legislative calendar.
Produced by the Assembly and Senate respectively the day after each house has met. The History lists specific actions taken on legislation. Any measure acted upon in that house the previous day is listed in numerical order.
Produced by the Assembly and Senate respectively the day after a Floor Session. Contains roll call votes on bills heard in policy committees and bills considered on the floor and other official action taken by the body. Any official messages from the Governor are also included. A Member may seek approval to publish a letter in the Journal on a specific legislative matter.
The long desk in front of the presiding officer's rostrum where much of the clerical work of the body is conducted. Also, a generic term for the staff and offices of the Secretary of the Senate and the Chief Clerk of the Assembly.
Desk Is Clear
Statement by the presiding officer that there is no further business before the house.
Prepared by the Legislative Counsel, it summarizes the effect of the proposed bill on current law. It appears on the first page of every printed measure.
Affirmative recommendation made by a committee which moves a bill to the floor or to the next committee.
Do Pass As Amended
Passage recommended by committee providing the language of the bill is changed as specified.
Amendments to a bill which include provisions so that the amended bill does not "chapter out"the provisions of another bill.
Legislation recommended for referral to two policy committees rather than one for hearing. The first committee is not bound by the recommended second referral. Both committees must approve the measure to keep it moving in the process. Typically used for sensitive issue areas that transcend the jurisdiction of one policy committee. Bill referrals are made by the Assembly and Senate Rules Committees for their respective houses.
Author has decided not to pursue the passage of the bill.
The phrase at the beginning of each bill which says "The people of the State of California do enact as follows."
The process of comparing the printed bill to ensure it looks like the original and to verify that amendments have been correctly inserted.
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.
Whenever a bill passes both houses of the Legislature, it is ordered enrolled. In 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 Secretary of the Senate and the Chief Clerk of the Assembly.
When bills are filed with the Governor and resolutions are filed with the Secretary of State once they have been accepted by both houses.
(literally: out of or because of one's office) The act of holding one office by reason of holding another. For example, the Lieutenant Governor is, ex officio, a member of the University of California Board of Regents.
A committee meeting restricted to only committee members and specifically invited guests.
A motion by which action is deleted from the Journal; i.e., "Expunge the record."
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 (i.e., AB 28x).
The agenda for the business of the house. It is printed daily.
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. These include measures on second and third reading; in conference; unfinished business (a bill amended in the other house and awaiting concurrence in amended form); and, in the Senate, Governor's appointments. Legislation is taken up on the Assembly or Senate Floor in chronological order according to file number. Items considered on the floor are frequently referred to by file number.
The publication printed at the end of every session showing the final disposition of all measures.
Revisions to the budget bill and the Governor's budget for the current year proposed by the Department of Finance and addressed to appropriate committee chairs in the Assembly and Senate.
Each bill introduced must be read three times before final passage. The first reading of a bill occurs when the measure is introduced.
Generally, a measure that contains an appropriation of funds or requires a State agency to spend money for any purpose. The Legislative Counsel determines which bills are fiscal bills. The designation appears at the end of the Legislative Counsel's Digest found on the first page of each bill. Fiscal bills must be heard by the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees in addition to the policy committees in each house
The Appropriations Committee in the Assembly and the Appropriations Committee in the Senate to which all fiscal bills are referred if they are approved by policy committees. If the fiscal committee approves a bill, it then moves to the floor.
The date on the legislative calendar by which all bills with fiscal implications must have been taken up in a policy committee and referred to a fiscal committee. Any fiscal bill missing the deadline is considered "dead"unless it receives a rule waiver allowing further consideration.
The twelve month period on which the budget is planned. 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.
The legislator responsible for taking up a measure on the floor. This is always the bill's author in the first house and a member of the other house designated by the author when the bill is considered by the other house. The name of the floor manager in the other house appears in parenthesis after the author's name in the second or third reading section of the Daily File.
The Legislative Counsel's term for amendments not drafted in his or her office.
4-Day File Notice
Officially known as Joint Rule 62(a), the requirement that all bills for the first committee of reference be noticed in the Daily File for four days prior to committee hearings where they will be considered. The second or subsequent committees of reference only require a notice of two days.
Referring to whether an amendment is relevant to the subject matter already being considered in a bill. The Legislative Counsel opines germaneness, but the matter is subject to final determination by the full Assembly or Senate.
The spending plan submitted by the Governor in January.
Specific situations that are allowed to continue while a law would make changes henceforth.
A committee meeting convened for the purpose of gathering information on a specific subject or considering specific legislative measures.
Held In Committee
A bill fails to get sufficient votes to pass out of committee.
Amendments which delete the contents of a bill and insert entirely new provisions. Can be accomplished with or without the author's permission.
Refers to a bill presented for formal introductions and first reading.
The communal file cabinet of the mainframe computer allowing access by all legislative employees in Sacramento and district offices. The Host is maintained by the Legislative Data Center which is a part of Legislative Counsel. It contains information such as bill analyses, bill status, bill text, votes, and other useful information for bill tracking and research.
Refers to either the Senate or the Assembly in California.
The portion of the Daily File containing legislation that is ready for floor consideration, but, for a variety of reasons, is dead or dormant. An author may move a bill to the inactive file and subsequently move it off the inactive file at a later date. During the final weeks of the legislative session, measures may be moved there by the leadership as a method of encouraging authors to take up their bills promptly.
A method of legislating that requires a vote of the people instead of a vote of the Legislature for a measure to become law. To qualify for a statewide ballot, statutory initiatives must receive signatures equal to 5 percent, and constitutional amendment initiatives must receive signatures equal to 8 percent, of the voters for all candidates for Governor at the last gubernatorial election.
The period of time between the end of the legislative year and the beginning of the next legislative year. The legislative year ends on August 31 in even-numbered years and in mid-September in odd-numbered years.
The assignment of the subject matter of a bill to the appropriate committee for study during the period the Legislature is not in session.
A committee composed of equal numbers of Assembly members and Senators.
A resolution expressing an opinion about an issue pertaining to the federal government; forwarded to congress for its information. Requires the approval of both Assembly and Senate but does not require signature of the Governor to take effect.
The Assembly and Senate meeting together, usually in the Assembly chambers. The purpose is to receive special information such as the Governor's State of the State aDDress.
The official chronological record of the proceedings in each house. The journal is the minutes of the meeting. It is a publication printed daily. At the end of session, the journals are certified, indexed and bound.
The rules which govern our daily lives.
Lay On The Table
Temporary postponement of a matter before the house, which may later be brought up for consideration by a motion to "take from the table."
An individual engaged to present to legislators, the views of a group or organization. They are required by law to register with the Secretary of State. More commonly known as lobbyists.
Provides thorough, nonpartisan analysis of the budget submitted by the Governor; also analyzes fiscal impact of other legislation.
The Legislative Counsel (who is elected jointly by both houses) and his or her legal staff is responsible for, among other things, 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
The digest is a brief summary of the changes the proposed bill would make to current law. The digest is found on the front of each printed bill.
The President of the Senate; designated by the State Constitution allowing him or her 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 office of the Executive Office 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's lobbying activity exceeds 25 contacts with decision makers in a two-month period.
The Directory of Lobbyists, Lobbying Firms, and Lobbyist Employers published every legislative session by the Secretary of State; available to the public for $12.00 from the Legislative Bill Room at the State Capitol or the Secretary of State's office. Photos and addresses of lobbyists are included with a list of the clients they represent. Employers of lobbyists are also listed alphabetically.
Majority Floor Leader
The "number two"issues and political strategist for the Assembly's majority party, second in command to the Assembly Speaker. Elected by the Assembly majority party members.
The "number two"issues and political strategist for the Senate's majority party, second in command to the Senate President pro Tempore. Elected by the members of the Senate's majority party.
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.
One of the members of the majority party's leadership team in the Assembly or Senate; responsible for monitoring legislation and securing votes for legislation on the floor.
The definitive reference manual for parliamentary procedure unless specifically covered by the Legislature's own written rules.
Occurring in early May, the updated estimate of revenues and expenditures that 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.
Minority Floor Leader
The Senate's highest ranking minority party post; chief policy and political strategist for the Senate's minority party.
One of the members 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.
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 somewhat different legislative calendar deadlines than fiscal bills.
Those members of the Legislature who are elected by the membership of their respective houses at the beginning of each session. Assembly officers include: Speaker, Speaker pro Tempore, Chief Clerk, Sergeant-at-Arms. Senate officers include: President pro Tempore, Secretary of the Senate, Sergeant-at-Arms.
A roll call vote in a committee or an Assembly or Senate Floor Session that has occurred but has not yet been concluded and , therefore, 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 anytime during the committee hearing or Floor Session, but cannot be carried over into the next legislative day.
A bill on the second or third reading file of the Assembly or Senate Daily File.
On The Floor
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.
An effort to reverse a Governor's veto by a vote of two-thirds of the members of each house. This requires 27 votes in the Senate and 54 votes in the Assembly.
A question posed by a legislator during a committee hearing or Floor Session. A member must be recognized for this purpose and the question answered by the committee chair or presiding chair.
Pass on File
Bills are taken up during a Floor Session according to their member in the Assembly or Senate Daily File. An author may choose to "pass on file"thus temporarily giving up his or her chance to take up a measure on the floor.
(literally: per day) Daily living expense money rendered legislators and personnel.
A formal request submitted to the Legislature by an individual, or group of individuals.
Point of Order
A motion calling attention to a breach of order or of the rules.
Point Of Personal Privilege
Statement by a member that his or her character or purposes have been impugned and his or her repudiation of the alleged charges.
Motion to delay action on matters before the house.
By the State Constitution, the Lieutenant Governor is also President of the Senate.
President of the Senate
The State Constitution designates the Lieutenant Governor as President of the Senate, allowing him to preside over the Senate and cast a vote only in the event of a tie. The Lieutenant Governor's role is largely ceremonial because he has not cast a tie breaking vote since 1975 and, in practice, does not preside over the Senate.
President Pro Tempore Of The Senate
(literally: for the time) Highest ranking leader and most powerful member of the Senate; also chairs the Senate Rules Committee. Elected by all Senators at the beginning of each two-year session.
The act of managing the proceedings during 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, President pro Tempore, or any other Senator appointed by the President pro Tempore.
The member who presides over a legislative Floor Session. In the Assembly, the presiding officer is usually the Speaker pro Tempore (not to be confused with the Speaker). In the Senate, it is a senior Senator designated by the Senate President pro Tempore.
If a member seeks to cut off all further debate on a measure(s), he or she can call the previous question and force the body to vote immediately on the issue.
A legislator singled out to share credit along with the author of a bill or resolution.
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 relatives, constituents, and guests.
Action delayed on a legislative measure until a future date without jeopardy to the measure.
A simple majority of the members of the full committee or the full Assembly or Senate; the minimum number of legislators needed to begin conducting official business. Once a quorum is established, the absence of a quorum is grounds for immediate adjournment of a committee hearing or Floor Session.
Transmitting the message that members are needed to establish a quorum so proceedings can begin.
Presentation of a bill before the house by reading the title thereof. A bill is either in first, second, or third reading until it is passed by both houses.
Redistricting the State for election purposes.
(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 "Easter recess", etc.
A motion giving the opportunity to take another vote on the item in question. The motion for reconsideration must be accepted by a majority of the members present and voting.
The method by which a measure adopted by the Legislature may be submitted to the electorate for a vote.
Revocation of previous actions.
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.
A vote of a committee or the full Assembly or Senate. Committee roll calls are conducted by the committee secretary who calls each member's name in alphabetical order with the Chair's name last. Assembly roll calls are conducted electronically with each member pushing a button from his or her assigned seat. Senate roll calls are conducted by the Reading Clerk who reads each Senator's name in alphabetical order.
Specific exemption to the Assembly, Senate, or Joint Rules; formal permission must be sought and received.
Those ideas which govern the operation of either or both houses. There are Standing Rules of the Assembly, Standing Rules of the Senate, and Joint Rules.
Each bill introduced must be read three times before final passage. Second reading occurs after a bill has been reported from committee.
Second Reading File
The portion of the Daily File that lists measures that have been reported out of committee and are ready for consideration on the floor. Measures stay on the second reading file for one day before moving to the third reading portion of the File.
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 staff are responsible for publishing the Senate daily and weekly publications.
A portion of the California Codes. The text of these sections are set forth in bills and proposed to be amended, repealed, or added.
Staff responsible for maintaining order and providing security for legislators. The Chief Sergeant-at-Arms in each house is elected by the members of that house at the beginning of every legislative session.
Lacking sufficient members of the committee; less than a quorum.
Final adjournment. It means adjournment without delay.
A measure introduced with little or no substance. It will be amended at a later date to include substantive text.
The presiding officer of the Assembly elected by the membership of the Assembly at the beginning of the two-year session. This is the highest ranking member of the Assembly.
Speaker Pro Tempore
Takes the chair at the request of the Speaker. The pro Tempore is also elected by the membership of the Assembly.
Special Order Of Business
Occasionally a bill is of such importance that advance notice is given about when it will be considered in the full Assembly or Senate. Notice is given during a Floor Session by requesting unanimous consent to set the bill as a special order of business on a specific date and time. This assures adequate time for debate and allows all members the opportunity to be present.
The legislator, private individual, or group who developed a piece of legislation and advocates its passage.
A bill that amends a code section in such an innocuous way as to be totally nonsubstantive. The bill has been introduced to assure that a germane vehicle will be available at a later date after the deadline has passed to introduce bills. At that future date, the bill can be amended with more substance included.
Chapter 1406, Statutes of 1972, first established the requirement for the State to reimburse units of local government for all costs mandated on them by the State resulting from either legislative acts or administrative regulations which 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 XIIIB of the State Constitution.
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.æ
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.
Suspend the Constitution
A motion to waive requirements that the Constitution imposes but permits to be waived. A motion to suspend requires an extraordinary vote.
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 non-debatable and once made, must be voted upon.
Any bill that imposes, repeals, or materially alters a State tax. The Legislative Counsel determines whether a bill is a tax levy and so indicates in the title and body of the bill.
Each bill introduced must be read three times before final passage. Third reading occurs when the measure is about to be taken up on the floor of either house for final passage.
Third Reading Analysis
A summary of a measure ready for floor consideration. Contains most recent amendments and information regarding how members voted on the measure when it was heard in committees. Senate floor analyses also list support or opposition information on interest groups and government agencies.
Third Reading File
That portion of the Daily File that lists the bills that are ready to be taken up for final passage.
Specifying in a bill that the act it creates will be named for a state legislator; i.e., "The (last name of individual) Act."
In the Assembly, 54; in the Senate 27; irrespective of any vacancies.
The consent of all those members present, without objection.
That portion of the Daily File that contains measures awaiting Senate or Assembly concurrence in amendments taken in the other house. Also contains measures vetoed by the Governor for a 60-day period after the veto. The house where the vetoed bill originated has 60 days to attempt to override.
A bill affecting the public peace, health, or safety and requiring a 2/3's vote for passage. An urgency bill becomes effective immediately upon enactment.
Language in a bill which states the bill will take effect immediately upon enactment. A vote on the urgency must precede a vote on the bill. A 2/3 vote is required for passage.
The act of the Governor disapproving a measure. The Governor's veto may be overridden by 2/3's vote. The Governor can also exercise an Item veto, whereby the amount of appropriation is reduced or eliminated, while the rest of the bill approved. An Item veto may be overridden by 2/3's vote in each house.