Understanding the California Legislative Process

Author(s): Chris Micheli

Edition: 1

Copyright: 2020

Pages: 260


Details: Print Product |

Understanding the California Legislative Process is one of the few that is focused exclusively on the California legislative process. The book is a compilation of short chapters on the state legislative process. Although focused on California, the book provide insights into the legislative process that will apply in most of the 50 states. Beginning with a discussion about the Legislature’s powers as set forth in the state constitution, the bill delves deeply into the legislative process, including information about support entities, deadlines, types of sessions, and some of the challenges and obstacles found in the legislative process.

In addition, bill introductions and referrals, committee procedures and hearings are examined, as well as floor procedures, with a thorough review of bills and amendments. The book covers legislative publications and resources available, before turning to a discussion of ethics and the conduct of legislators and their staff.

Thereafter, the book examines some of the influences on the legislative process, such as interest groups and the media, before reviewing how to draft and analyze bills. As part of this review, several chapters address statutory interpretation and legislative intent and history research. The book also explores the role of the executive branch in the legislative process and details the state budget process.

The book concludes with a discussion about the many misconceptions of the legislative process and makes several suggestions for reform. Finally, the book includes several appendices including further reference materials for the reader and an index of topics for quick reference.

Section One – The Legislature’s Powers and Its Role as an Institution
Chapter 1:       Legislature’s Constitutional Provisions
Chapter 2:       Other Constitutional Powers of the Legislature
Chapter 3:       Legislative Oversight
Chapter 4:       Delegation of Legislative Power
Chapter 5:       Impeachment by the Legislature

Section Two – The Legislative Process
Chapter 6:       Basics of California’s Legislative Process
Chapter 7:       Following the Legislative Process
Chapter 8:       Officers and Leadership of the Legislature
Chapter 9:       Legislative Branch Support Agencies
Chapter 10:     Role of the Legislative Counsel
Chapter 11:     Legislative Lingo
Chapter 12:     Legislative Calendar
Chapter 13:     Legislative Deadlines
Chapter 14:     Regular v. Special Sessions   
Chapter 15:     California Legislature’s Organizing Session
Chapter 16:     Differences between the Assembly and Senate Processes
Chapter 17:     Challenges in the Lawmaking Process          
Chapter 18:     Legislative Process Obstacles

Section Three – Committee Procedures, Including Bill Referrals
Chapter 19:     California’s Legislative Committee System
Chapter 20:     Types of Legislative Committees
Chapter 21:     Joint Committees of the Legislature
Chapter 22:     Rules Committees
Chapter 23:     Legislative Committee Rules
Chapter 24:     Legislative Committee Staff  
Chapter 25:     Legislative Committee Hearings
Chapter 26:     Referral of Bills
Chapter 27:     Suspense File Process for Fiscal Bills
Chapter 28:     Other Ways of Defeating Bills          

Section Four – Floor Procedures
Chapter 29:     Conducting Business on the Floors
Chapter 30:     Making the Houses Run Smoothly
Chapter 31:     Legislative Floor Procedures
Chapter 32:     Three Readings of a Bill
Chapter 33:     Final Form of Bills and the 72-Hour Rule
Chapter 34:     Methods of Floor Voting
Chapter 35:     Vote Requirements for Bills  
Chapter 36:     Reconsideration of Bills
Chapter 37:     Bills on Consent
Chapter 38:     Concurrence in Amendments
Chapter 39:     Sending and Withdrawing Bills from the Floor
Chapter 40:     Role of Leadership Staff
Chapter 41:     Letters to the Journal Process

Section Five – Legislative Publications and Resources
Chapter 42:     Legislative Publications
Chapter 43:     Where to Find California Laws
Chapter 44:     Examining Legislative Records         
Chapter 45:     Daily Journals in Detail
Chapter 46:     Daily Files in Detail
Chapter 47:     Histories in Details

Section Six – Ethics in the Legislative Process
Chapter 48:     Legislative Code of Ethics
Chapter 49:     Open Meetings Laws 
Chapter 50:     Role of Legislative Ethics Committees         
Chapter 51:     Crimes Against the Legislative Power
Chapter 52:     Ethics for Legislative Staff

Section Seven – Influences on the Legislative Process
Chapter 53:     Interest Groups and Their Role in Policy Making
Chapter 54:     Media's Role in the Lawmaking Process

Section Eight – Legislative Advocacy
Chapter 55:     Insights into the Lobbying Profession
Chapter 56:     Negotiating Bills and Amendments
Chapter 57:     Sponsored Bills
Chapter 58:     Tracking and Analyzing Legislation and Regulations

Section Nine – Drafting and Analyzing Bills
Chapter 59:     Bills, Resolutions and Constitutional Amendments
Chapter 60:     Drafting Bills and Amendments
Chapter 61:     Types of Bill Amendments
Chapter 62:     Dissecting Bills in the Legislature
Chapter 63:     California Legislation and the Single Subject Rule
Chapter 64:     Germane Amendments          
Chapter 65:     Making Sense of Technical Amendments
Chapter 66:     The Unseen Part of Passing New Laws
Chapter 67:     Spot Bills
Chapter 68:     Gut-and-Amend Bills
Chapter 69:     General Versus Special Statutes
Chapter 70:     Effective Versus Operative Dates
Chapter 71:     Urgency Clause Statutes
Chapter 72:     A Bill’s Keys
Chapter 73:     Drafting Bill Analyses

Section Ten – Statutory Interpretation and Legislative Intent
Chapter 74:     Role of the Judiciary in the Lawmaking Process
Chapter 75:     Rules on Statutory Construction for Non-Lawyers
Chapter 76:     Legislative Intent and California Courts
Chapter 77:     Court Cases Affecting California’s Legislative Process

Section Eleven – The Executive Branch Role in the Legislative Process
Chapter 78:     Governor’s Role in the Lawmaking Process
Chapter 79:     Governor’s Constitutional Provisions
Chapter 80:     Enrolled Bill Reports and the Governor

Section Twelve – The Budget Process
Chapter 81:     Overview of the Budget Process       
Chapter 82:     The Impact of the State Budget on California Public Policy
Chapter 83:     Appropriations Measures
Chapter 84:     Governor’s Line-Item Veto Authority

Section Thirteen – Legislative Process Misconceptions and Reforms
Chapter 85:     Common Misconceptions about California’s Legislative Process           
Chapter 86:     Possible Legislative Process Reforms

Chris Micheli

Chris Micheli is a founding partner of the Sacramento governmental relations and advocacy firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc. As a legislative advocate, Micheli frequently testifies before policy and fiscal committees of the California Legislature, as well as a number of administrative agencies, departments, boards, and commissions. He regularly drafts legislative and regulatory language and is considered a leading authority on state tax law developments, California's knife laws, and the state legislative process. The Wall Street Journal called him "one of the top three business tax lobbyists in the state" and the Los Angeles Times described him as an "elite lobbyist."

Over the last twenty years, he has published hundreds of articles and editorials in professional journals, newspapers, and trade magazines, whose diverse subjects range from tax incentives to transportation funding. He wrote a bi-monthly column on civil justice reform for five years for The Daily Recorder, Sacramento's daily legal newspaper. He has served on the editorial advisory board for CCH's State Income Tax Alert, a nationwide publication, as well as State Income Tax Monitor, another national newsletter, and Sacramento Lawyer, a monthly legal journal.

Micheli has been an attorney of record in several key cases, having argued before the Supreme Court of California (just two years out of law school), as well as the Court of Appeal several times. He has filed more than fifteen amicus curiae briefs in California courts and is admitted to practice law before all of the state and federal courts in the state.

He has published six peer-reviewed law review articles and is the co-editor and co-author of the book “A Practitioner’s Guide to Lobbying and Advocacy in California,” as well as the author of “Understanding the California Legislative Process,” both published in 2020 by Kendall-Hunt Publishing Company. His most recently-published books released in 2021 are “Introduction to California Government” and “An Introduction to Legislative Drafting in California.” He is also the co-author of “Guide to Executive Branch Agency Rulemaking.” He also published two law school casebooks entitled “The California Legislature and Its Legislative Process – Cases and Materials” and “Cases and Materials on Direct Democracy in California.”

He is a graduate of the University of California, Davis with a B.A. in Political Science – Public Service and the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law with a J.D. degree. He currently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at McGeorge where he co-teaches the course Lawmaking in California, as well as a Lecturer in Law at the University of California, Davis, King Hall School of Law where he co-teaches the course Legislative Drafting. He resides in Sacramento, California with his wife, Liza, two daughters, Morgan and Francesca, and son, Vincenzo.


California’s influence on public policy nationwide is widely acknowledged, but the process by which the State Legislature tackles these often complex issues is not well understood. Chris Micheli’s review of California’s lawmaking process succinctly provides a valuable roadmap, including explaining the important role of legislative committees in crafting legislation and the oversight function the Legislature plays in the budget process. This book is a must for practitioners and citizen advocates alike. “
Professor Cathy Christian
Legislative and Public Policy Clinic
Pacific McGeorge School of Law

Understanding the California Legislative Process is a must-have for anyone working in or around the California Capitol. This book is an essential guide for learning the ins-and-outs of the California legislative process from a procedural and insider perspective. From commonly used terminology to understanding the direction a bill is heading, this book is a great tool that any lobbyist, staffer, or student can put to use immediately. You will find yourself reaching back to this book time and time again.
Shoeb Mohammed | Policy Advocate

No better author!
Jim Lites | California Strategies

Chris is a true master of the legislative process.  Whenever I need the right answer to a question regarding the legislative process, Chris is my first call.
Mark Sektnan | Vice President
American Property Casualty Insurance Association

One of the greatest aspects of this book is that both students learning about the legislative process for the first time and veterans that work in the Legislature can benefit from the information.  Whether reading the book start to finish or using it as a reference for a particular question, Chris Micheli has a way of explaining how the process works in a very relatable and clear manner.
Kirstin Kolpitcke | Consultant
California State Assembly

Chris Micheli is a well-respected political science expert and practitioner of the utmost integrity. I have worked with Chris in and around the State Capitol for over 26 years. A mentor and colleague, Chris is one of those lobbyists you can call on for advice and information. His book on the California legislative process is required reading for practitioners, historians, and political science students.
Pamela E. Gibbs, JD | Education Advocate

Understanding the California Legislative Process should be a must read for any candidate, newly elected lawmaker, lobbyist or student of California politics. This book is a one-of-its-kind compilation of quite literally all of the key elements that determine the fate of bills in the halls of the California State Capitol. Micheli provides extremely thorough real world process detail in a way that is readable, digestible, and ultimately very compelling. I highly recommend it to any prospective participant in California’s lawmaking process.
Chris Micheli has compiled the most comprehensive look at the lawmaking process in the most populous state in the country. This is a truly unique product that not only is a deep dive into the nuances of legislative process, but also offers insight and practitioner’s expertise that can only come from a veteran of California’s legislative battles. It is a must read for those who want to understand California legislating and governing beyond a superficial level.
As a veteran lawmaker, I was surprised to discover for the first-time certain details and nuances of the lawmaking process when reviewing Micheli’s Understanding the California Legislative Process. Micheli captures all of the intricacies of how legislating works in the most populous state in America, and offers insight that can only come from a professional practitioner of legislative advocacy.
Kevin Mullin | Assembly Speaker pro Tem,
California State Assembly

For those who want to understand how ideas become law in California, this is the perfect resource. Chris Micheli has a knowledge of the California legislative process that is simply unmatched. 
Ashley Hoffman | Policy Advocate
Sacramento, CA

Chris Micheli’s passion for California’s Legislative process comes through in this book.  If you are on the road to mastering the art of public policy development in Sacramento then you will want to fully understand the rules of engagement.  This book unravels the complexities associated with the process of managing legislation in California and is one of the most important roadmaps written on legislative procedure in some time.  It deserves to be read by all serious students of California legislative politics.
Jamie Taylor | Senate Fellows Director
Sacramento State University

Related ISBN's: 9781792401510, 9781792416774




ISBN 9781792401510

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