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California Legislative History

A guide to researching legislative history in California

California legislative history

This guide will show you how to find documents created during the legislative process in California. 

Pre- or post- 1993?

When was the legislation passed? Starting in about 1993, a large amount of California legislative materials are digitized. For research pre-1993, you will need to do print research, and, in some cases, visit the State Archives in Sacramento.

Steps for finding legislative documents: 

  1. Gather identifying information. Before you start, you must collect the identifying about the statute. WRITE THIS INFORMATION DOWN. 

  2. Read the code annotationsWest's and Deering's annotated codes may briefly summarize amendments to the code or provision, refer you to other related code sections, and cite legislative documents, such as committee reports, legislative counsel opinions,  law revision commission reports, attorney general opinions, regulations, and more. 

  3. Read the law as it was enacted

  4. Locate the Legislative Counsel’s Digest.

  5. Locate the bill’s final history (Assembly or Senate).

  6. Locate analyses of the bill.

  7. Examine all versions of the bill as it passed through the legislature.

  8. Go to the State ArchivesThis is often a necessary step if you are researching pre-1993 (pre-Internet) legislation. 

  9. Check for legislative histories that have already been compiled.


Additional resources

For more information on the legislative process see: