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California Legal Research: Legislative Law

This guide has been archived and may have outdated information or broken links.

California legislative law and history of legislative law, is scattered among various sets of books, microfiche, and online sources. This section is broken into three catagories: Annotated Codes, Session Laws, and Current Laws.


Deering's California Codes Annotated [Floor 2 (Ref) - KFC 30.5 .D4] (http://suncat.csun.edu/record=b2129382)

  • The State of California does not publish an official code. Lawyers in California do rely on commercially published sets of annotated codes. A few of the commercially published sets are:
    • Deering's California Codes Annotated by Matthew Bender & Company, Inc.
    • Advance Legislative Service to Deering's Califonria Codes Annotated.
    • West's Annotated California Codes.
    • West's California Legislative Service.
  • Within each title volume(s) of Deering's California Codes Annotated, a statement of the law is provided, as are a legislative history, cross references to other pertinent code sections, and collateral references to legal encyclopedias and dictionaries which are also published by Lexis, e.g., Cal Jur III. As new laws are passed, it is important to check the pocket parts and supplements to the codes to remain up-to-date.

LARMAC Consolidated Index to the Constitution and Laws of California [Ref Room - KFC 40 .L3] (http://suncat.csun.edu/record=b1388977). Provides subject access to the California Codes and is published annually.

The California Code is available at the Official California Legislative Information web site at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes.xhtml. You can browse the table of contents of the codes and/or search multiple codes by keyword.

Session Laws

Earlier Laws

Statutes of California and Amendments to the Codes [Floor 2 (Ref) - KFC 30 .A1] (http://suncat.csun.edu/record=b1442573)

  • Bills passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor become effective January 1 of the following year and become statutes. Statutes are assigned a "chapter number," and published in chronological order by session of the legislature in Statutes of California and Amendments to the Codes. If one knows the bill number, the cross reference tables can be checked and the appropriate chapter number determined. Check the "Statutory Record" listing to locate the year, chapter, and effective date for a particular section of the code. A subject index is also included in the last volume for each session's statutes.
  • Internet access: The Official Publications Archives at the California State Assembly Office of the Chief Clerk website includes older statutes, from 1850 to recent years (http://www.assembly.ca.gov/clerk/billslegislature/BILLSLEGISLATURE.HTM).

Current Laws

Advance Legislative Service to Deering's California Codes Annotated [Floor 2 (Ref) - KFC 25 .A33D4] (http://suncat.csun.edu/record=b1369692)

  • All laws enacted at the Regular and Extraordinary legislative sessions are included. If the chapter number is known, look it up to read a copy of the statute as enacted. If you have a subject but not the chapter number, check the cumulative subject index for a particular session. Another useful feature of this service is that it provides a brief summary of the law and further explanatory notes.
  • Internet Access: Advance Legislative Service to Deering's California Codes Annotated since 1993 are available at the Official California Legislative Information web site (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/statute.html) & from LexisNexis Academic avalible from the Oviatt Library (http://suncat.csun.edu/record=b1923454). You can search by chapter number, browse all statutes for a particular year, or search by keywords.


Bills, Resolutions, & Constitutional Amendments

  • d their status, history, votes, analyses, and veto messages can be accessed since 1993 from the Bill Information page at the Official California Legislative Information web site (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html). 
  • You can search by bill number, author or keyword, or browse a list of bills by number or author for each session.

Indexes to Bills

  • In addition to the Bill Information Internet access outlined above, consult the Legislative Index [Floor 2 (Ref) - KFC 14 .L45] or the online Legislative Index) by subject to determine the bill number. Then, to track the status of a bill, using the bill number, check the Senate Weekly History [Floor 2 (Ref) - KFC14 .L42] or the Assembly Weekly History [Floor 2 (Ref) - KFC14 .L4] or the online Assembly Weekly History).