McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli

As one would imagine, the organization and structure of the California Legislature is found in Article IV, and there are half a dozen sections in Article IV that relate to the organization and structure of the Legislature. What are in these sections? I’ve included a sampling of some of the more comprehensive sections in the text today and cover more in the audio in today’s blog post.

Section 2 includes:

  • The composition of the Legislature – 40 Senators, half of which face election every two years, elected to 4-year terms and 80 Assemblymembers elected to two-year terms.
  • A lifetime term limit of 12 years in the Legislature.
  • The qualifications to serve in the Legislature:
    • Is registered to vote and has been a resident of the legislative district for one year
    • Is a US citizen
    • Has been a California resident for the three years immediately leading up to that election
  • States that when a vacancy in the Legislature occurs, the Governor must “immediately call an election to fill that vacancy.”

Section 3 covers the convening of the Legislature, which includes:

  • Regular session convening at noon on the first Monday in December of each even-numbered year and adjourning sine die at midnight on November 30th of the following even-numbered year.
  • Providing for special sessions, also known as extraordinary sessions, which are convened by a proclamation from the Governor requiring the Legislature to assemble and legislate on only the subject(s) specified in the gubernatorial proclamation.

Section 7 specifies how the Legislature will conduct its official duties. This includes:

  • Each house chooses its own officers and adopts its own rules for proceedings.
  • Each house must keep and publish a Daily Journal of its proceedings, which are generally open to the public.
  • The Legislature must make an audio-visual recording of every Legislative proceeding, in its entirety, and make that available via the internet within 24 hours after those proceedings have recessed.
  • Permitting the Legislature to meet in closed session for specific purposes or for caucuses to meet in closed session
  • Prohibits either house of the Legislature from recessing for more than ten days without the consent of the other house.

You can read the transcript of today’s audio here.