Below is the step by step process of how a Bill becomes Law in California.  

 By clicking on the California Secretary of State  site one can review canidate finance reports.  These reports reveal who or what organizations are giving the canidates the most money which in turn can play a role in their decision making.


Initial Steps by Author:

  • Idea   Anyone can come up with an idea for a new bill; you don’t have to be an elected official. An individuaIdea Anyone can come up with an idea for a new bill; you don’t have to be an elected official. An individual, a group like Farm Bureau or government agencies can sponsor a billl.
  • Drafting  That idea must be drafted into a formal bill with an accompanying summary in simple terms explaining its purpose.
  • Intoduction The bill must formally be introduced by a senator or Assembly member. At this point it receives a number proceeded by either an “SB” or an “AB” to indicate which house it was introduced in, either Senate or Assembly. The bill is then assigned to a committee.

Action in the First House:

  • Floor Debate and Vote  Legislators debate the bill. Votes are recorded for each legislator. Most bills need a simple majority to pass, but some, such as the budget, require a two-thirds vote to pass
  • Second Reading  After passing through committee, the bill is considered by all members of that house and scheduled for floor debate.
  • Committee Committee hearings allow different stakeholders to provide testimony in support or opposition of the bill. The bill can pass as drafted, the committee can amend the bill or it can fail in, committee. One bill may move through multiple committees depending on jurisdiction, which is decided by the rules committee.

Action in the Second House:

  • Reading  The bill is read and assigned to a committee
  • Committee Stakeholders have another opportunity to provide comment on the bill. The committee may pass the bill as is, amend it or forward it to another committee.
  • Second Reading  Once through the committee process, the bill is sent to the floor of the second house for consideration. The bill is scheduled for floor debate.
  • Floor Debate and Vote  If the bill, as it passes in the second house, is the same version that passed the first house, it gets sent directly to the governor for his action. If the bill was amended in the second house, it gets sent back to the house of origin so it can consider the passage of the amended bill.


  • Sign or Veto?  The governor has 12 days to sign a bill, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature. At the end of the legislative session, the governor gets a flurry of bills and has 30 days to take action. A veto can be overridden if two-thirds of the Legislature votes in favor of the bill

Resolution of Two-House Differences:

  • Concurrence  Rather than going to conference, the House of origin can decide to accept and vote on the second House’s amended bill.
  • Conference  Differences in the bill can be resolved through a conference committee made up of legislators from both houses. The recommended compromise then has to be voted on and passed by both houses.
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