California State Senate
|California State Legislature|
|Elected before 2012:|
2 terms (8 years)
Elected 2012 and after:
3 terms (12 years)
New session started
|December 5, 2022|
Length of term
|Authority||Article 4, California Constitution|
|Salary||$114,877/year + $211 per diem|
|Nonpartisan blanket primary|
|November 8, 2022 (20 seats)|
|November 5, 2024 (20 seats)|
|Redistricting||California Citizens Redistricting Commission|
|Senatoris est civitatis libertatem tueri|
("It is a senator's duty to protect the liberty of the people.")
|State Senate Chamber|
California State Capitol
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, 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, 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. 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.
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..." 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.
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. 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."
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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").
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
|End of previous legislature||31||9||40||0|
|Latest voting share||80%||20%|
Main article: Political party strength in California
|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|
|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.
|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|
|6||Roger Niello||Republican||Fair Oaks||2022||2028|
|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|
|15||Dave Cortese||Democratic||San Jose||2020||2032|
|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|
|26||María Elena Durazo||Democratic||Los Angeles||2018||2030|
|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|
|33||Lena Gonzalez||Democratic||Long Beach||2019†||2032|
|34||Tom Umberg||Democratic||Santa Ana||2018||2026|
|36||Janet Nguyen||Republican||Huntington Beach||2022||2028||Previously served in State Senate from 2014 until 2018|
|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|
Current committees, chairs and vice chairs include:
|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)|