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California Legislative History Research

Introduction

There are a few different ways in which you can search for California committee reports and/or hearings, such as:

  • Using the Legislative Journals
  • Using Online Catalogs, and
  • Using Other Finding Aids

All these methods for finding California committee reports and/or hearings are described in further detail below. 

Using Legislative Journals

Selected legislative committee reports can be found in the Senate and Assembly Journals. Prior to 1970, these reports were published in the appendix volumes that accompany the main journal volumes.

The Journal of the Assembly can be accessed electronically via the California State Assembly webpage (click on "Offices & Caucuses", then on "Chief Clerk", and then on "Archives"). The Assembly Journals page provides access to the Journals from 1849 to the present.

Using Online Catalogs

Many libraries catalog individual California legislative documents that are contained in their print collections, including committee reports and hearings. USC's main library catalog as well as the Law Library's catalog ADVOCAT can both be used to identify and locate reports and hearings available on the USC campus. You can also search other library catalogs to see if the document(s) might be available at other libraries. For guidance on searching library catalogs, consult the USC Law Library guide Finding Library Materials Through Online Catalogs.

You can search online catalogs by keyword (e.g., California report farm subsidies), bill number (e.g., "AB 230"), and/or date. You can also search by author if you know the name of the committee that considered your bill (e.g., "California Legislature Assembly Committee on Health and Human Services").

The following two sources that were mentioned in the other sections of this guide may be useful in determining which committee(s) considered your bill:

  • Official California Legislative Information website's Bill Information page (for bills from 1993 to the present)

As mentioned previously, you can search by bill number on this site. From the list of documents for your bill, select "History," which will indicate which committees considered your bill.

  • Senate or Assembly Final History (for the legislative session in which your bill was considered)

The Law Library has a complete set of Final Histories for both the Senate and Assembly from 1969 to the present (as well as some additional selected Histories going back to 1921). These are shelved with the legislative journals in the library's California section on the Third Floor. A complete set of Histories going back to 1881 can be accessed electronically from the Assembly's Publications Archives.

Using Other Finding Aids

Located in the Law Library's Ready Reference collection (at the reference desk) are two additional finding aids that might be helpful in at least identifying the existence of a relevant California committee report or hearing:

  • California (Interim) Legislative Committees and Reports (1937-1973) (KFC20 .C35)
  • Hearings and Reports of Committees of the California Legislature: A Listing (1967-1984) (KFC20 .C3)

These publications consist of a series of booklets, arranged chronologically. Once you identify the name of the committee(s) that considered your bill, you can look up the committee(s) in the appropriate booklet(s) for your time period and see if there are any relevant reports or hearings pertaining to your bill. Both

If you are able to identify a relevant item from one of these sources, you can then either search one or more online catalogs by title to see if any libraries own that item or try to obtain that item by contacting the California State Archives (discussed under the "Additional Resources to Consult" tab of this guide).