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California Legislative History

A guide to researching legislative history in California

Step 1: Gather identifying information

To find legislative documents:

You will need to collect identifying information about the bill as it made its way through the legislative process. WRITE THIS INFORMATION DOWN.

What you will need:

  1. Code and section number (e.g. Vehicle Code §21200)                                                                                                                                     
  2. Chapter number and year of enactment (e.g. Stats. 2018, ch. 139). This refers to the law as it was enacted by the legislature, prior to codification. You can find this information in the annotated codes, following the text of the code.

Where to find: 

  • Lexis:                      Search Deering's California Code Annotated for code section
  • Westlaw:                 Search California Statutes & Court Rules for code section or use California Statutes Find Template
  • Library:                   Deering's California Code Annotated, KFC 30.5 D41; West's Annotated California Codes, KFC 30.5 W45 

  1. Bill number (e.g., AB 1755 or SB 255).

Where to find (post-1993):

  • Online:                     California Legislative Information
  • Lexis or Westlaw:   Bill number appears in the credits that follow the text of the code section
  • Library:                    Deering's California Code Annotated, KFC 30.5 D41; West's Annotated California Codes, KFC 30.5 W45

Where to find (1993 & earlier):

  • Summary Digest. The Cross-Reference Table at the back of the volume for the year in which your statute was enacted converts the chapter number to the applicable bill number.

    • Library:                     KFC 38 .C35

  • Statutes and Amendments to the Codes.  In the first volume for the year in which your legislation is enacted, there a Table of Laws Enacted, which converts the chapter number to the applicable bill number. The Statutes and Amendments to Code is available in three places: