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California Legislative History Research

Looking Up the Statute in the Code

The California annotated (statutory) codes sometimes include references to relevant legislative history material, including committee reports published in the Senate and Assembly journals (see step 4) as well as Law Revision Commission recommendations (see step 5). The code may also refer to relevant law journal articles and/or cases that discuss the statute's legislative history. For guidance on how to find a statute in one of the annotated codes, consult the USC Law Library guide Finding California Statutes, Regulations, and Related Cases (see link below).

Annotated Code

The annotated code is also a good source for identifying the year of enactment and chapter number for the particular act in which you are interested. In the code, you will typically see immediately after each statutory section a note that provides the year and chapter number of the act that created that section (e.g., "Added by Stats. 1994, c. 1009"). And if the code section was subsequently amended, the note will also include the year(s) and chapter number(s) of the amending act(s) (e.g., "Amended by Stats. 1995, c. 823").

It is important that you identify which chapter law introduced the particular statutory language in which you are interested. In the annotated code, there will be statutory notes accompanying the code section to help you determine if the language you are interested in was contained in the original version of the code section or if it was added in one of the subsequent amendments. Once you determine this, you can then select the appropriate chapter law number to use in your research.

Bill Number

Finally, for acts passed since the early 1990s, West's Annotated California Codes and Deering's California Codes Annotated provide the bill number, in addition to the chapter number, in the parenthetical notes (e.g., Stats. 1994, c. 1009 (S.B. 1927)). The bill number will be of help to you as you use some of the research tools discussed in this guide.