McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli

Most of the provisions pertaining to the California Legislature can be found in Article IV of the California State Constitution, although provisions affecting the legislative branch of government appear in nearly half a dozen other articles of the state constitution. The California Constitution is generally looked at in order to determine whether it prohibits an action by the Legislature rather than as a source of power for the legislative branch of state government.

I discuss some of these provisions on the Legislature in today’s post and cover more of them in today’s audio. Section 4 of Article IV prohibits the legislators from receiving any salary or earned income from lobbyists, lobbying firms, or anyone with a contract with the Legislature for the past 12 months. No legislators can accept any honorarium and the Legislature is required to enact strict limits on gifts. Legislators are prohibited from accepting compensation or taking any other action on behalf of another person before a state agency or board.

California’s revolving door prohibition is enshrined in Article IV as well and prohibits legislators from lobbying the Legislature for 12 months after leaving office.

If the general fund revenues decline substantially below the estimate for the fiscal year, then the governor may issue a proclamation declaring a fiscal emergency and call the Legislature into a special session. If the legislature fails to pass a bill to address the fiscal emergency within 45 days, then no other bill may be acted upon, nor may the Legislature adjourns for recess.

Section 18 grants the sole power of impeachment to the Assembly. Impeachments are tried in the Senate. A person can only be convicted by the Senate by a two-thirds majority vote. Statewide elected officials, Board of Equalization members and state court judges are subject to impeachment for misconduct in office and they can be removed from office by the Senate.

This is just a sampling of the constitutional provisions on the Legislature contained in Article IV of the California Constitution. I discuss more provisions in today’s podcast.

You can find a full transcript of today’s podcast here.