McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli outside the California State Capitol

The next legislative session starts on Monday, December 7, at 12 noon. Despite the fact that it is technically starting in 2020, it will be designated the 2021/2022 Legislative Session. As you might imagine, there are numerous provisions around convening the new session laid out in the Constitution, state law, and Assembly Rules.

The California Constitution, in Article IV, Section 3(a), states that “The Legislature shall convene in regular session at noon on the first Monday in December of each even‑numbered year, and then each house shall immediately organize.” Also, each session of the Legislature ends sine die, or for good, per the Constitution at midnight on November 30 of the following even-numbered year.

Moving to state law, California Government Code Title 2, Division 2, Part 1, Chapter 1.5, Article II, Section 9020 to 9026.5 has a number of important provisions about convening the new legislative session. 

Section 9020 of California Government Code reiterates the constitutional mandate around when the session shall convene but adds that the session shall convene in the City of Sacramento without specifying the State Capitol building.

Section 9022 sets out special rules for the State Senate. It provides that the President of the Senate or the most senior member takes the chair, calls the members and members-elect, and then the Secretary of State calls the senatorial districts in order from which the members have been elected. Section 9023 is a similar set of rules for the State Assembly but designates the Chief Clerk of the Assembly – not a member of the Legislature, or the senior Assemblymember-elect to take the chair and calls the members-elect to order and then goes to the roll of counties in alphabetical order.

Per Section 9025, the oath of office is taken by members of the Legislature, and their oaths are entered into the Daily Journal of their respective houses.

The State Assembly also has an additional rule, Assembly Rule 13.1, regarding the election of the leaders of the political parties in the Assembly. The rule says that within two days after the November general election then the two caucuses may meet for the purpose of selecting their officers at the upcoming regular sessions. The convening of the majority party is up to the Speaker of the Assembly, and of course, the Minority Leader has the discretion to call their caucus within two days of the general election.

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