April 2021

The Legislative Process in the Assembly

This is a broad summary of the legislative process in the Assembly.  The process is the same in the Senate.  There are many details in the process that can affect a bill since the Legislature makes its own rules and can amend or suspend them.

Bill Introduction

  • Upon suggestions received from Agencies, Citizens, Governor and Lobbyists a bill is prepared by the Legislative Counsel.  It is then introduced by the member, given a number, read out loud and printed.
  • The Rules Committee then assigns the bill to a committee (there are 29 standing committees). The bill may not be heard by the committee until the 31stday after it has been introduced.


The Committee Hearing

  • At this point there is testimony from the chair, members, the bill author, citizens, experts and lobbyists.  After this process, if the bill is held in committee it is with very few exemptions, dead.  If the committee makes recommendations and passes the bill out of committee it then goes to a second Assembly reading.  (The second reading is just that:  the clerk actually reads the bill out loud).
  • Bills with monetary implications must be re-referred to the proper fiscal committee in each House before they are sent to the second reading.
  • There is then a third Assembly reading, debate and a vote.  If passage is refused, the bill dies.


Passage in the Assembly


  • When a bill passes in the Assembly it goes to the Senate for a first Senate reading.  The Senate Rules Committee then assigns the bill to a committee.  The committee hearing process then follows he same procedure as the Assembly regarding testimony.
  • After the bill is heard in the Senate and it if is held in committee it is for all practical purposes, dead.  If the committee passes the bill with recommendations the bill goes for a second Senate reading.  Bills with monetary implications must re-referred to the proper Senate fiscal committee before the second reading.
  • At this point the bill goes for a third Senate reading. If passage is refused the bill dies. If there are amendments then there is a revised reading and a vote.
  • If the bill is passed with Senate amendments then the bill is returned to the Assembly floor for a vote in concurrence.
  • If the Assembly agrees the bill goes directly to the Governor.


Conference Committee


  • If the Assembly does not agree the bill goes to a Conference Committee which consists of three Assembly members and three Senate members.  A conference report is issued.
  • If the Assembly and the Senate adopt the Conference report the bill goes to the Governor.  If the Conference Committee does not adopt the report and the issues cannot be resolved the bill does not go to the Governor.
  • If the Governor vetoes the bill, the Legislature has 60 days (not including joint recesses) to override the veto with a 2/3 vote from each house.


The Best Time for Citizen Action


It is as the point when the bill is assigned to the Rules Committee that it becomes very important for citizens concerned about the bill to learn what committee it has been assigned to and the names of committee members. This is the first time that contacts should be made to legislators regarding the bill.  Letters and phone calls from individual constituents and interested groups do affect how members vote.  Members should be contacted during debate periods and in fact throughout the process.  

An excellent web site to help in researching the various bills and the legislators who are introducing them is It is a fairly easy site to navigate and makes it very simple to monitor the bills that your representative is introducing.

There are three ways to effectively contact legislators: mailed letters, e-mails without attachments (write your letter directly in the e-mail) and phone calls to local legislative offices.  

Here is the contact information for legislators who represent Sonoma County.


Cecilia Aguiar-Curry- 4thAssembly District - Covers Rohnert Park in Sonoma County, Glen Ellen.                   

(916) 319-2004                                   Fax: (916) 319-2104                           Room 5144


Jim Wood– 2ndAssembly District - Del Norte, Trinity, Humboldt, Mendocino and Northwest Sonoma County  

(916) 319-2002                                   Fax: (916) 319-2102                           Room 6005


Mark Levine– 10thAssembly District - Covers southern part of Sonoma County

(916) 319-2010                                   Fax: (916) 319-2110                           Room 5135


Mike McGuire – Senate District 2 - Covers Del Norte, Trinity, Humboldt, Mendocino and Sonoma County

(916) 651-4002                                                                                               Room 5061


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