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Key State Government Provisions of the California Constitution

The State of California is an inseparable part of the United States of America

By Chris Micheli, June 6, 2022 6:14 am

Article III, relating to the State of California, was added to the California Constitution by Proposition 6 on the November 7, 1972 ballot. This article contains nine sections and several relate directly to the operations of state government.

Section 1 specifies that the State of California is an inseparable part of the United States of America, and the United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land.

Section 2 states that the boundaries of the State are those set forth in the state Constitution of 1849 as modified pursuant to statute and that Sacramento is the capital of California.

Section 3 provides that the powers of state government are legislative, executive, and judicial and that persons charged with the exercise of one power may not exercise either of the others except as permitted by this Constitution.

Section 3.5 states that an administrative agency, including an administrative agency created by the Constitution or an initiative statute, has no power:

(a) To declare a statute unenforceable, or refuse to enforce a statute, on the basis of it being unconstitutional unless an appellate court has made a determination that such statute is unconstitutional;

(b) To declare a statute unconstitutional; or

(c) To declare a statute unenforceable, or to refuse to enforce a statute on the basis that federal law or federal regulations prohibit the enforcement of such statute unless an appellate court has made a determination that the enforcement of such statute is prohibited by federal law or federal regulations.

Section 4 provides that salaries of elected state officers may not be reduced during their term of office. This section also contains provisions related to salaries of judges.

Section 5 allows suits to be brought against the State in a manner and in courts as shall be directed by law.

Section 7 specifies that the retirement allowance for any person, all of whose credited service in the Legislators’ Retirement System was rendered or was deemed to have been rendered as an elective officer of the State whose office is provided for by the California Constitution, other than a judge and other than a Member of the Senate or Assembly, and all or any part of whose retirement allowance is calculated on the basis of the compensation payable to the officer holding the office which the member last held prior to retirement, or for the survivor or beneficiary of such a person, cannot be increased or affected in any manner by changes on or after November 5, 1986, in the compensation payable to the officer holding the office which the member last held prior to retirement.

Section 8 creates the California Citizens Compensation Commission which consists of seven members appointed by the Governor. The commission must establish the annual salary and the medical, dental, insurance, and other similar benefits of state officers. In addition, this section provides who comprises the commission, limitations on membership, public hearings are to be conducted, and other related provisions. At or before the end of each fiscal year, the commission must adjust the annual salary of state officers by a resolution adopted by a majority of the membership of the commission.

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