From time-to-time, a state legislator chooses to resign his or her seat in the California Legislature. This has happened in several instances during the 2021 calendar year. How do resignations work in the Legislature?
Government Code Title 1 (General), Division 4 (Public Officers and Employees), Chapter 4 (Resignations and Vacancies) deals with resignations and vacancies in all state offices, whether appointed or elected positions. Article 1 concerns resignations and contains Sections 1750 to 1752. Section 1750 requires all resignations to be in writing.
Section 1750(c) provides that, for Members of the State Senate or State Assembly, resignations are made in writing to the presiding officers of their respective houses. As a result, an Assembly Member submitting his or her resignation writes to the Speaker of the Assembly. A State Senator submitting his or her resignation writes to the President pro Tempore of the Senate.
Section 1750(c) thereafter requires the presiding officer to immediately transmit the resignation to the Governor. As a resignation results in the creation of a vacancy in a state legislative office, the Governor is thereafter required to call a special election to fill the vacant Assembly or Senate seat. This is covered in Government Code Sections 1770 – 1782.