California Legislative Information
The California Legislative Information website is a great place to start for general research into the California codes or more recent legislation. To help walk you through this site, let’s research some more recent California legislative history step by step. To view as many steps as possible let’s assume that we only know a current California Code citation and work backwards from there. For this example, let’s look into California Business and Professions Code § 6125.
Working Back from a California Code Citation
First, we can look up the current Section 6125 on the California Legislative Information website. From the this link, you can use the “Quick Code Search:” option circled in the screenshot below, selecting the Code Title and section number.
Alternately, you can also click “California Law” taking you to a listing of all current California Codes for you to browse, seen in the image below.
For this example, click “Business and Professions Code”
This will lead you to a listing of all the California Business and Professions Code Sections, organized hierarchically. Because we are looking for Section 6125, we will click on Division 3, shown below, as it contains code sections “[5000 – 9998.11]” inclusive.
From the next page, all the code sections are arranged by Articles, so click on “Article 7” which contains Sections 6125 – 6133 inclusive.
Section 6125 will be the first section at the top of the page, shown below. There is some legislative history at the end of this and every California Code section listed on the California Legislative Information page.
The most recent action on the California Code section is circled below.
The statute citation, “Stats. 2018, Ch. 659” indicates that Statutes 2018, Chapter 659 is the last law amending this section. This citation also indicates that Stats. 2018, Ch. 659 began as AB 3249, or Assembly Bill 659 from the 2017-2018 session. The bill number is not always listed, but frequently is for more recent citations.
Finding a California Statute and Bill Versions
Now that we have the statute citation, “Stats. 2018, Ch. 659,” let’s find the text of the statute itself. We can look up any statute from 1999 to current day from the California Legislative Information website. First, click on the “Bill Information” header, as shown in the image below.
From the next page, you will enter the statute information. For this example, enter “2018” into the “Statute Year:” box and enter “659” in the “Chapter Number:” box, then click “Search.”
Note: Make sure you are entering this information into the appropriate boxes as there are several other options on this page.
The full text of Stats. 2018, Ch. 659 is presented on this page, with links to many pieces of legislative history and intent in the header. All of the bill versions of AB 3249 can also be found by selecting the option from the “Version:” dropbox in the upper-left portion of the screen, circled in green in the image below, and clicking “Go.”
The bill versions will be listed in complete, reverse-chronological order in the dropbox.
The text of amended versions will show new text in blue and text removed from the previous version in red.
Many researchers use these changes to intuit intent in the changes, but this bill also has analyses to consult.
Finding a Bill Analysis
The bill analyses can be found, along with many other pieces of legislative history and intent can be found in the header of AB 3249, shown below. The bill analyses are the most requested pieces of legislative intent.
Clicking “Bill Analysis” in the header brings you to a page of all the committee analyses available for this bill.
Each bill analysis will contain a summary of the bill at that stage, comparisons to existing law, fiscal analysis, comments, and more.
With this information, you should be able to us the California Legislative Information website to:
- Find a California Code citation
- Find a specific statute
- Find the bill versions of that statute
- Find the bill file analyses
These processes can be repeated for any citation from 1999 through the current day using the California Legislative Information page, making it a comprehensive resource for many modern legislative history and intent needs.