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INTERNET LEGISLATIVE USER’S GUIDE

(Including excerpts from "The California State Senate WWW User's Guide")

A. INTERNET ACCESS. The Legislative Counsel Bureau is responsible for making legislative information available to the public via the Internet. These services are used widely by DOF budget staff. Some of the more commonly used:

California Law consists of 29 codes, covering various subject areas, the State Constitution and Statutes. The Information presented reflects laws currently in effect. You can display the Table of Contents for a code, select a code and then click on Search to find a particular section of that code so that you can view, print or copy and paste. You can You can also search by keywords.

LL ID’s. At the time a bill is introduced it is assigned a unique bill-id. The bill-id is in two parts: the bill-type and the bill number. The bill-type is one of the following codes:

  • AB Assembly Bill
  • ACA Assembly Constitutional Amendment
  • ACR Assembly Concurrent Resolution
  • AJR Asembly Joint Resolution
  • HR Assembly House Resolution

If the bill is introduced in an Extraordinary Session, then the bill-type will have a suffix denoting which extraordinary session. Examples:

  • SBX1 Senate Bill, First Extraordinary Session
  • ABX2 Assembly Bill, Second Extraordinary Session

(NOTE: For purposes of DOF’s Legislative Information System (LIS) and the "Bills and Chapters, Historical Index" in BAG, the extraordinary session designation is used instead as a prefix, e.g., X1SB1, X2AB 15.)

The bill number is a one to four digit serial number starting from 1 for each bill type. Examples of complete bill-ids:

  • SB 1
  • SB 1004
  • SR 5, hr 8
  • SCRX1 5

C. LAWMAKING PROCESS PUBLICATIONS available:

  • Senate Daily File -- Tells what bills are scheduled to be heard in Senate committee or on the Senate Floor on that day.
  • Assembly Daily File -- Gives the same information for the Assembly's daily schedule.
  • Legislative Calendar -- Gives the key dates and legislative deadlines for the current two year legislative session; the last day to introduce bills, when bills must move out of committee, the last day for the Governor to sign or veto bills, etc.

D. LEGISLATION information available about each bill:

  • Bill Text -- Complete text of bills with annotations to identify material added/removed due to amendments
  • Bill History -- Chronological listing of legislative activity for each bill (where the bill was heard, if amended, approved, etc.)
  • Bill Status -- Current location of a bill and pending action
  • Bill Analyses -- Staff reports describing the history and impact of the legislation and arguments of the groups supporting and opposing the bill
  • Votes -- Record of votes in committee and on the floor
  • Vetoes -- Text of Governor's veto message
  • Bill Tracking -- You can "subscribe" to a bill which means that you will automatically be sent the above information on each bill you subscribe to.
  • Bill Searching -- If you don't know the bill number of the legislation you are interested in, you can search by key word or code section number. The computer will return a list of all bills that contain the key word you specify. For example, if you specified "gun", you would get a list of all current bills that contain "gun" in the text.
  • Index of bills -- An index of bills by author (with bill number and topic information) or by bill number (showing author and topic information).
  • Chaptered Bills (Statutes) -- After legislation has been signed into law and chaptered, it is referred to as a statute. You can get the text of a chaptered bill via Internet
  • California Codes -- You can get the text of the California Codes (The laws of California are organized by subject matter into 29 codes; i.e. the Civil Code, the Insurance Code, etc.) over the Internet.
  • California Constitution -- You can also get the text of the California Constitution.

E. KEYWORDS FOR SEARCHES. Keywords are case-insensitive (upper-case and lower case letters are all treated the same during the search). You may include multiple keywords following the guidelines below:

Boolean Expressions

"Boolean Expression" is a term for what you type when you wish to specify two or more keywords. When you use two or more keywords, you must separate them with "boolean connectors". A boolean connector is a word or symbol which denotes the way in which the keywords will be used in the search process.

  1. Searches may use AND, OR, NOT boolean connectors (a space between keywords is treated as AND).
  2. Multiple ANDs, ORs and NOTs can be given.
  3. Upper and lower case are ignored (case-insensitive).
  4. Keywords may be truncated with an '*' as the last character of the root-word.

Examples:

  • SUPREME COURT = both supreme and court
  • SUPREME AND COURT = both supreme and court
  • LAW OR LEGAL = either law or legal
  • CONSTIT* = any word beginning with 'constit'
  • COURT NOT SUPREME = all entries with 'court' but excluding any with 'supreme'

You can give boolean expressions with parenthesized sub-expressions as in:

  • SUPREME AND (COURT OR BUDGET)

which will match article names that contain 'supreme' and 'court' or articles that have names that contain 'supreme' and 'budget'. When in doubt about order of evaluation, parenthesize the expression.

F. GLOSSARY OF LEGISLATIVE TERMS, from "amendment" to "veto".

G. LEGISLATIVE PROCESS. See DOF’s "Legislative Process", an explanation of the legislative process.


(December 3, 1997)(BOS/PBM/APBM)