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California Legislative History Research Guide: Step 6. Journals

Analyze the Senate and Assembly Journals

Look at the indexes to the Journal of the Assembly ( KFC5 5th Floor Stacks) (1854-2006) and the Journal of the Senate ( KFC5 5th Floor Stacks) (1852-2004) for the year the bill passed. The index is usually in the last volume of the Journal for each year. (Some of the Journals do not have indexes; these can be accessed by looking at the Final History or Calendar volumes ( KFC14 - 5th Floor Stacks).

The Bill Action Index lists all of the page numbers in the Journals where the bill is mentioned.

The Alphabetical Index lists other legislative history documents included in the Journals. Look in the index for "Legislative Counsel Opinions" and "Legislative Intent." Also check the listings for "Journal, Print in" or "Print in Journal" for letters of clarification and communication regarding bills, which usually contain additional information on intent.

The Assembly and Senate Journals contain committee and floor roll call votes, Governor’s veto messages, legislators' letters of intent, and Legislative Counsel’s Opinions if printed. While only a few legislative counsel opinions are reprinted each year, they can be very valuable. For the journals for the years before the 1970s, check for an appendix; committee reports on passed or pending legislation were sometimes printed in these appendices.

Other items included in the Journals may not be helpful, such as the mere mention that the bill was read on the Assembly floor on a particular date.