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California State Senate
California State Legislature
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
Term limits
Elected before 2012:
2 terms (8 years)
Elected 2012 and after:
3 terms (12 years)
History
New session started
December 5, 2022
Leadership
Eleni Kounalakis (D)
since January 7, 2019
Toni Atkins (D)
since March 21, 2018
Majority Leader
Mike McGuire (D)
since January 19, 2022
Minority Leader
Brian Jones (R)
since December 5, 2022
Structure
Seats40
Composition of the California State Senate
Political groups
Majority
  Democratic (32)

Minority

  Republican (8)
Length of term
4 years
AuthorityArticle 4, California Constitution
Salary$114,877/year + $211 per diem
Elections
Nonpartisan blanket primary
Last election
November 8, 2022 (20 seats)
Next election
November 5, 2024 (20 seats)
RedistrictingCalifornia Citizens Redistricting Commission
Motto
Senatoris est civitatis libertatem tueri
("It is a senator's duty to protect the liberty of the people.")
Meeting place
State Senate Chamber
California State Capitol
Sacramento, California
Website
senate.ca.gov

The California State Senate is the upper house of the California State Legislature, the lower house being the California State Assembly. The State Senate convenes, along with the State Assembly, at the California State Capitol in Sacramento.

Due to a combination of the state's large population and a legislature that has not been expanded since the ratification of the 1879 Constitution,[1] the State Senate has the largest population per state senator ratio of any state legislative house. In the United States House of Representatives, California is apportioned 52 U.S. representatives, each representing approximately 750,564 people,[2] while in the California State Senate, each of the 40 state senators represents approximately 931,349 people; almost exactly the population of the entire state of Delaware.[3] This means that California state senators each represent more people than California's members of the House of Representatives, and more than that of five entire U.S. states.

In the current legislative session, the Democratic Party holds 32 out of the 40 seats, which constitutes an 80% majority—well over the two-thirds supermajority threshold of 27.

History

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April 2013)

The 1849 Constitution of California provided that the "number of Senators shall not be less than one third, nor more than one half of that of the members of the Assembly..."[4] The 1849 Constitution also provided that Senators served two-year terms and were to be elected bienally, with the total number of senators being divided into two classes so that one half of the Senators would be elected annually.[4]

Following the ratification of the 1879 Constitution of California, the Constitution prescribed that the Senate is composed of 40 Senators and that all Senators must have resided within California for three years and their district for one year.[5] Such districts were to be "as nearly equal in population as may be, and composed of contiguous territory". There was to be one Senate district for each Senator. Such districts were also required to preserve political boundaries: "In the formation of such districts, no county, or city and county, shall be divided, unless it contain a sufficient population within itself to form two or more districts; nor shall a part of any county, or of any city and county, be united with any other county, or city and county, in forming any district."[6]

Between 1933 and 1967, state legislative districts were drawn according to the "Little Federal Model" by which Assembly seats were drawn according to population and Senate seats were drawn according to county lines.[7] The guidelines were that no Senate district would include more than three counties and none would include less than one complete county. This led to the situation of a populous county such as Los Angeles County (1960 population of 6 million) being accorded the same number of state senators (one) as less populous counties such as Alpine County (1960 pop. 397). The Senate districts remained unaltered from 1933 to 1967, regardless of the changes in the population distribution. In Reynolds v. Sims, the United States Supreme Court compelled all states to draw up districts with equal population. As such, boundaries were changed to comply with the ruling.

Leadership

The lieutenant governor is the ex officio president of the Senate, and may only cast a vote to break a tie. The president pro tempore is elected by the majority party caucus, followed by confirmation of the full Senate. Other leaders, such as the majority and minority leaders, are elected by their respective party caucuses according to each party's strength in the chamber.

The current president pro tempore is Democrat Toni Atkins of San Diego. The minority leader is Republican Brian Jones of Santee.

Terms of office

Each state senator represents a population roughly equivalent to the State of Delaware. As a result of Proposition 140 in 1990 and Proposition 28 in 2012, members elected to the legislature prior to 2012 are restricted by term limits to two four-year terms (eight years), while those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years in the legislature in any combination of four-year State Senate or two-year State Assembly terms.[8]

Members of the State Senate serve four-year terms. Every two years, half of the Senate's 40 seats are subject to election. This is in contrast to the State Assembly, in which all 80 seats in the Assembly are subject to election every two years.

Meeting chamber

The red tones of the California State Senate Chamber are based on the British House of Lords, which is outfitted in a similar color. The dais rests along a wall shaped like an "E", with its central projection housing the rostrum. The lower tier dais runs across the entire chamber, there are several chairs and computers used by the senate officers, the most prominent seat is reserved for the secretary who calls the roll. The higher tier is smaller, with three chairs, the two largest and most ornate chairs are used by the president pro tempore (right chair) and the lieutenant governor (left chair). The third and smallest chair, placed in the center, is used by the presiding officer (acting in place of the pro tem) and is rarely sat in as the president is expected to stand. There are four other chairs flanking the dais used by the highest non-member officials attending the senate, a foreign dignitary or state officer for example. Each of the 40 senators is provided a desk, microphone and two chairs, one for the senator, another for guests or legislative aides. Almost every decorating element is identical to the Assembly Chamber. Along the cornice appears a portrait of George Washington and the Latin quotation senatoris est civitatis libertatem tueri ("It is a senator's duty to protect the liberty of the people").

Composition

32 8
Democratic Republican
Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Total
Democratic Republican Vacant
End of previous legislature 31 9 40 0
Begin[9] 31 8 39 1
Current 32 8 40 0
Latest voting share 80% 20%

Past composition of the Senate

Main article: Political party strength in California

Officers

Position Name Party District
Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis Democratic California
President pro tempore Toni Atkins Democratic 39th–San Diego
Majority Leader Mike McGuire Democratic 2nd–Healdsburg
Assistant Majority Leader Susan Eggman Democratic 5th–Stockton
Democratic Caucus Chair Monique Limón Democratic 19th–Santa Barbara
Majority Whip Lena Gonzalez Democratic 33rd–Long Beach
Assistant majority whips Angelique Ashby Democratic 8th–Sacramento
María Elena Durazo Democratic 24th–Los Angeles
Susan Rubio Democratic 22nd–Baldwin Park
Minority leader Brian Jones Republican 40th–Santee
Secretary Erika Contreras
Sergeant-at-Arms Jodie O. Barnett III
Chaplain Sister Michelle Gorman, RSM

The Secretary, the Sergeant-at-Arms, and the Chaplain are not members of the Legislature.

Members

District Name Party Residence First elected Term limited Notes
1 Brian Dahle Republican Bieber 2019† 2024 Previously served as Minority Leader of the California State Assembly
2 Mike McGuire Democratic Geyserville 2014 2026 Majority Leader
3 Bill Dodd Democratic Napa 2016 2024
4 Marie Alvarado-Gil Democratic Jackson 2022† 2034
5 Susan Eggman Democratic Stockton 2020 2024
6 Roger Niello Republican Fair Oaks 2022 2028
7 Steve Glazer Democratic Orinda 2015† 2028
8 Angelique Ashby Democratic Natomas 2022 2034
9 Nancy Skinner Democratic Berkeley 2016 2024
10 Aisha Wahab Democratic Hayward 2022 2034
11 Scott Wiener Democratic San Francisco 2016 2028
12 Shannon Grove Republican Bakersfield 2018 2026 Served as Minority Leader from 2019 to 2021
13 Josh Becker Democratic Menlo Park 2020 2032
14 Anna Caballero Democratic Merced 2018 2030
15 Dave Cortese Democratic San Jose 2020 2032
16 Melissa Hurtado Democratic Bakersfield 2018 2030
17 John Laird Democratic Santa Cruz 2020 2028 Previously served from 2002 to 2008
18 Steve Padilla Democratic Chula Vista 2022 2034
19 Monique Limón Democratic Santa Barbara 2020 2028
20 Caroline Menjivar Democratic Panorama City 2022 2034
21 Scott Wilk Republican Santa Clarita 2016 2024 Served as Minority Leader from 2021 to 2022
22 Susan Rubio Democratic Baldwin Park 2018 2030
23 Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh Republican Yucaipa 2020 2032
24 Benjamin Allen Democratic Santa Monica 2018 2030
25 Anthony Portantino Democratic Burbank 2016 2024
26 María Elena Durazo Democratic Los Angeles 2018 2030
27 Henry Stern Democratic Malibu 2016 2028
28 Lola Smallwood-Cuevas Democratic Los Angeles 2022 2034
29 Josh Newman Democratic Fullerton 2020 2028 Previously served 2016–2018
30 Bob Archuleta Democratic Pico Rivera 2018 2030
31 Richard Roth Democratic Riverside 2012 2024
32 Kelly Seyarto Republican Murrieta 2018 2030
33 Lena Gonzalez Democratic Long Beach 2019† 2032
34 Tom Umberg Democratic Santa Ana 2018 2026
35 Steven Bradford Democratic Gardena 2016 2024
36 Janet Nguyen Republican Huntington Beach 2022 2028 Previously served in State Senate from 2014 until 2018
37 Dave Min Democratic Irvine 2020 2032
38 Catherine Blakespear Democratic Encinitas 2022 2034
39 Toni Atkins Democratic San Diego 2016 2024 President pro tempore. Previously served as Speaker of the State Assembly
40 Brian Jones Republican Santee 2018 2026 Minority Leader

Seating chart

President
Kounalakis
Niello Ochoa Bogh Hurtado Archuleta Smallwood-Cuevas Gonzalez Roth Dodd Alvarado-Gil Becker Wiener Allen
Grove Jones Seyarto Dahle Eggman Menjivar Portantino Rubio Limón Blakespear Min Stern
Nguyen Wilk Caballero Bradford Newman Umberg Laird Ashby Skinner Wahab Cortese Glazer
Padilla Atkins McGuire Durazo

Standing Committees

Current committees, chairs and vice chairs include:[10]

Committee Chair Vice Chair
Agriculture Melissa Hurtado (D) Shannon Grove (D)
Appropriations Anthony Portantino (D) Brian Jones (R)
Banking and Financial Institutions Monique Limón (D) Roger Niello (R)
Budget and Fiscal Review Nancy Skinner (D) Roger Niello (R)
Business, Professions and Economic Development Richard Roth (D) Janet Nguyen (R)
Education Josh Newman (D) Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R)
Elections and Constitutional Amendments Steve Glazer (D) Janet Nguyen (R)
Environmental Quality Ben Allen (D) Brian Dahle (R)
Governance and Finance Anna Caballero (D) Kelly Seyarto (R)
Governmental Organization Bill Dodd (D) Scott Wilk (R)
Health Susan Eggman (D) Janet Nguyen(R)
Housing Scott Wiener (D) Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R)
Human Services Marie Alvarado-Gil (D) Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R)
Insurance Susan Rubio (D) Janet Ngyuen (R)
Judiciary Tom Umberg (D) Scott Wilk (R)
Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Dave Cortese (D) Scott Wilk (R)
Military and Veterans Affairs Bob Archuleta (D) Shannon Grove (R)
Natural Resources and Water Dave Min (D) Kelly Seyarto (R)
Public Safety Aisha Wahab (D) Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R)
Rules Toni Atkins (D) Shannon Grove (R)
Transportation Lena Gonzalez (D) Roger Niello (R)

Offices

See also

References

  1. ^ "California Constitution of 1879, prior to any amendments" (PDF). California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Retrieved August 11, 2021.
  2. ^ "Apportionment Data". United States Census Bureau.
  3. ^ "Senate Roster". State of California.
  4. ^ a b Cal. Const. Art. IV § 6 (1849)
  5. ^ Cal. Const. Art. IV § 4 (1879)
  6. ^ "California Constitution of 1879, prior to any amendments" (PDF). CalPolyPomona. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  7. ^ "JoinCalifornia - Redistricting". www.joincalifornia.com. Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  8. ^ "California Constitution Article 4; Legislative". California Office of Legislative Counsel. Archived from the original on February 23, 2019. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  9. ^ Democrat Melissa Hurtado (District 16) was prevented from being sworn-in until her 20-vote re-election was certified.
  10. ^ "Committees". August 28, 2021. Retrieved August 28, 2021.