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California State Capitol. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Legislative Records Program at California Secretary of State

The State Archives assists with caring for and providing access to these records

By Chris Micheli, October 9, 2022 3:34 pm

The California Secretary of State (SOS), among numerous other programs that are administered by her office, has a legislative records program According to the SOS, “the Legislative Records Program (LegPro) works closely with the State Legislature to identify and preserve records and materials of enduring value to document California’s legislative history. The State Archives assists with caring for and providing access to these records, preserving the legacies of our elected officials.”

In that regard, the SOS explains that their “services include:

  • Assisting with the Senate, Assembly, and Committees on matters concerning legislative records.
  • Advising what is a historically-valuable record to be sent to Archives vs what can be destroyed.
  • Instructing offices and committees how to complete their Transfer Form, pack their boxes, and schedule their transfer.
  • Offering and conducting trainings on the Legislative Records Program, historically-valuable records vs not, reviewing the Legislative Packet, and the transfer process.

The SOS explains that “the California State Archives continues to collect, catalog, preserve, and provide access to the historic records of state government and some local governments. The Archives collection is primarily comprised of records from California state agencies, the governor’s office, the state legislature, and the State Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal. The records are organized under the name of the agency or office that transferred the records to the Archives. The collections also include some private papers that have been donated to the Archives.”

SOS offers: “Taken together, these records represent the legal foundation of state government and are frequently used by the courts, the legal community, state and local governments, and the public.”

The California Information Practices Act, which is found in Civil Code Sections 1798, et seq., as well as the California Public Records Act, which is found in Government Code Sections 6250, et seq., are the main sources of law for access to public records, such as those maintained by the Secretary of State.

Legislative records are available at the State Archies, including the records of over 300 state legislators. What legislative records are available at SOS and the State Archives?

There are legislative committees’ bill files since 1960 and hearing files since 1940. The Archives also contain legislators’ author bill files since 1950, as well as the following records:

  • Democratic and Republican Caucus bill files since 1973
  • Senate Floor Analyses bill files since 1993
  • Assembly and Senate video recordings of hearings and floor sessions since 1988
  • Numerous state agency bill analyses

Finally, the State Archives have California statutes since 1850, Deering’s California Codes Annotated, Senate and Assembly Journals since 1850, and Final Histories since 1877.

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