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California Constitution. (Photo: www.sos.ca.gov)

Selected Highlights from California’s Constitution, Part lll

The California Constitution is one of the longest of all fifty states

By Chris Micheli, July 15, 2019 6:15 am

The California Constitution, one of the longest of the fifty states, has 32 articles (even though the last one is numbered 35), and three articles contain subparts (Articles 10, 13 and 19). There are approximately 365 sections contained in those articles. The following is an overview of the specific provisions of the state constitution.

Part ll is HERE with Articles lV – Vll

Part l is HERE with Articles l – lll

ARTICLE IX EDUCATION [Sections 1 – 16]

Article 9 was adopted in 1879 as part of the state constitution. This article contains the following sixteen sections:

Section 1 provides that a general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people, the Legislature shall encourage by all suitable means the promotion of intellectual, scientific, moral, and agricultural improvement.

Section 2 provides that a Superintendent of Public Instruction shall be elected by the qualified electors of the State at each gubernatorial election. No Superintendent of Public Instruction may serve more than two terms.  

Section 2.1 specifies that the State Board of Education, on nomination of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, shall appoint one Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction and three Associate Superintendents of Public Instruction who shall be exempt from state civil service and whose terms of office shall be four years.

Section 3 provides that a Superintendent of Schools for each county may be elected by the qualified electors thereof at each gubernatorial election or may be appointed by the county board of education, and the manner of the selection shall be determined by a majority vote of the electors of the county voting.

Section 3.1 states that the Legislature shall prescribe the qualifications required of county superintendents of schools and for these purposes shall classify the several counties in the State.  

Section 3.2 provides that any two or more chartered counties, or non-chartered counties, or any combination thereof, may, by a majority vote of the electors of each such county voting on the proposition at an election called for that purpose in each county, establish one joint board of education and one joint county superintendent of schools for the counties so uniting. 

Section 3.3 notes that it shall be competent to provide in any charter framed for a county under any provision of this Constitution, or by the amendment of any charter, for the election of the members of the county board of education of such county and for their qualifications and terms of office. 

Section 5 requires that the Legislature provide for a system of common schools by which a free school shall be kept up and supported in each district at least six months in every year, after the first year in which a school has been established.

Section 6 states that each person, other than a substitute employee, employed by a school district as a teacher or in any other position requiring certification qualifications shall be paid a salary which shall be at the rate of an annual salary of not less than twenty-four hundred dollars for a person serving full time.

Section 6.5 allows the formation of districts for school purposes situated in more than one county or the issuance of bonds by such districts under such general laws as have been or may be prescribed by the legislature; and the officers mentioned in such laws shall be authorized to levy and assess such taxes and perform all other acts as may be prescribed for the purpose of paying such bonds and carrying out the other powers conferred upon districts.  

Section 7 specifies that the Legislature shall provide for the appointment or election of the State Board of Education and a board of education in each county or for the election of a joint county board of education for two or more counties.  

Section 7.5 requires the State Board of Education to adopt textbooks for use in grades one through eight throughout the State to be furnished without cost as provided by statute.

Section 8 states that no public money shall ever be appropriated for the support of any sectarian or denominational school, or any school not under the exclusive control of the officers of the public schools; nor shall any sectarian or denominational doctrine be taught, or instruction thereon be permitted, directly or indirectly, in any of the common schools of this State. 

Section 9 provides that the University of California shall constitute a public trust, to be administered by the existing corporation known as “The Regents of the University of California,” with full powers of organization and government, subject only to such legislative control as may be necessary to insure the security of its funds and compliance with the terms of the endowments of the university.

Section 14 provides that the Legislature shall have power, by general law, to provide for the incorporation and organization of school districts, high school districts, and community college districts, of every kind and class, and may classify such districts.

Section 16 allows provisions for the manner in which, the times at which, and the terms for which the members of boards of education shall be elected or appointed, for their qualifications, compensation and removal, and for the number which shall constitute any one of such boards.

ARTICLE X WATER [Sections 1 – 7]

Article 10 was added by Proposition 14 on the June 8, 1976 ballot. The article contains the following seven sections:

Section 1 provides that the right of eminent domain is hereby declared to exist in the State to all frontages on the navigable waters of this State. 

Section 2 provides that because of the conditions prevailing in this State the general welfare requires that the water resources of the State be put to beneficial use to the fullest extent of which they are capable, and that the waste or unreasonable use or unreasonable method of use of water be prevented, and that the conservation of such waters is to be exercised with a view to the reasonable and beneficial use thereof in the interest of the people and for the public welfare. 

Section 3 specifies that all tidelands within two miles of any incorporated city, city and county, or town in this State, and fronting on the water of any harbor, estuary, bay, or inlet used for the purposes of navigation, shall be withheld from grant or sale to private persons, partnerships, or corporations.

Section 4 states that no individual, partnership, or corporation, claiming or possessing the frontage or tidal lands of a harbor, bay, inlet, estuary, or other navigable water in this State, shall be permitted to exclude the right of way to such water whenever it is required for any public purpose, nor to destroy or obstruct the free navigation of such water.

Section 5 notes that the use of all water now appropriated, or that may hereafter be appropriated, for sale, rental, or distribution, is declared to be a public use and subject to the regulation and control of the State, in the manner to be prescribed by law. 

Section 6 specifies the right to collect rates or compensation for the use of water supplied to any county, city and county, or town, or the inhabitants thereof is a franchise and cannot be exercised except by authority of and in the manner prescribed by law. 

Section 7 provides that, whenever any agency of government, local, state, or federal, hereafter acquires any interest in real property in this State, the acceptance of the interest shall constitute an agreement by the agency to conform to the laws of California as to the acquisition, control, use, and distribution of water with respect to the land so acquired.


Article 10A was added by Proposition 8 on the November 4, 1980 ballot. It contains the following eight sections:

Section 1 provides that the people of the State provide the following guarantees and protections in this article for water rights, water quality, and fish and wildlife resources. 

Section 2 specifies that no statute amending or repealing, or adding to, the provisions of the statute enacted by Senate Bill No. 200 of the 1979–80 Regular Session of the Legislature which specify the manner in which the State will protect fish and wildlife resources.

Section 3 notes that no water shall be available for appropriation by storage in, or by direct diversion from, any of the components of the California Wild and Scenic Rivers System, as such system exists on January 1, 1981, where such appropriation is for export of water into another major hydrologic basin of the State, as defined in the Department of Water Resources Bulletin 160-74.

Section 4 prohibits any statute from amending or repealing, or adding to, the provisions of the Delta Protection Act shall become effective unless approved by the electors in the same manner as statutes amending initiative statutes are approved; except that the Legislature may, by statute passed in each house by roll call vote entered in the journal, two-thirds of the membership concurring, amend or repeal, or add to, these provisions if the statute does not in any manner reduce the protection of the delta or fish and wildlife.  

Section 5 specifies that no public agency may utilize eminent domain proceedings to acquire water rights, which are held for uses within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, or any contract rights for water or water quality maintenance in the Delta for the purpose of exporting such water from the Delta.

Section 6 provides that the venue of any of the following actions or proceedings brought in a superior court shall be Sacramento County.

Section 7 provides that state agencies shall exercise their authorized powers in a manner consistent with the protections provided by this article. 

Section 8 mandates that this article shall have no force or effect unless Senate Bill No. 200 of the 1979–80 Regular Session of the Legislature is enacted and takes effect.


Article 10B was added by Proposition 132 on the November 6, 1990 ballot. It contains the following sixteen sections:

Section 1 specifies that this article shall be known and may be cited as the Marine Resources Protection Act of 1990.

Section 2 provides the following definitions: “District,” “Ocean waters,” and “Zone.”  

Section 3 specifies that from January 1, 1991 to December 31, 1993, gill nets or trammel nets may only be used in the zone pursuant to a nontransferable permit issued by the Department of Fish and Game.

Section 4 specifies that gill nets and trammel nets may not be used to take any species of rockfish.

Section 5 provides that the Department of Fish and Game shall issue a permit to use a gill net or trammel net in the zone for the period specified to any applicant who meets certain requirements.  

Section 6 specifies that the Department of Fish and Game shall charge the fees for permits pursuant to a specified schedule.  

Section 7 notes that, within 90 days after the effective date of this section, every person who intends to seek the compensation provided shall notify the Department of Fish and Game, on forms provided by the department, of that intent.

Section 8 states that there is hereby created the Marine Resources Protection Account in the Fish and Game Preservation Fund.  

Section 9 provides that any funds remaining in the Marine Resources Protection Account in the Fish and Game Preservation Fund on or after January 1, 1995 shall, with the approval of the Fish and Game Commission, be used to provide grants to colleges, universities and other bonafide scientific research groups to fund marine resource related scientific research within the ecological reserves established by Section 14 of this act. 

Section 10 specifies that, on or before December 31 of each year, the Director of Fish and Game shall prepare and submit a report to the Legislature regarding the implementation of this article including an accounting of all funds. 

Section 11 states that it is unlawful for any person to take, possess, receive, transport, purchase, sell, barter, or process any fish obtained in violation of this article. 

Section 12 provides that, to increase the State’s scientific and biological information on the ocean fisheries of this State, the Department of Fish and Game shall establish a program whereby it can monitor and evaluate the daily landings of fish by commercial fishermen who are permitted under this article to take these fish.  

Section 13 specifies that the penalty for a first violation of the provisions of Sections 3 and 4 of this article is a fine of not less than one thousand dollars and not more than five thousand dollars and a mandatory suspension of any license, permit or stamp to take, receive, transport, purchase, sell, barter or process fish for commercial purposes for six months.  

Section 14 notes that, prior to January 1, 1994, the Fish and Game Commission shall establish four new ecological reserves in ocean waters along the mainland coast.

Section 15 provides that this article does not preempt or supersede any other closures to protect any other wildlife, including sea otters, whales, and shorebirds.  

Section 16 specifies that, if any provision of this article or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this article which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this article are severable.


Article 11, dealing with local government, was added to the California Constitution by Proposition 2 on the June 2, 1970 ballot. This article contains the following fifteen sections: 

Section 1 provides that the State is divided into counties which are legal subdivisions of the State. The Legislature will prescribe uniform procedure for county formation, consolidation, and boundary change.  

Section 2 requires that the Legislature prescribe uniform procedures for city formation and provide for city powers. 

Section 3 provides that, for its own government, a county or city may adopt a charter by majority vote of its electors voting on the question. 

Section 4 specifies that county charters provide specified conditions.  

Section 5 states that it shall be competent in any city charter to provide that the city governed may make and enforce all ordinances and regulations in respect to municipal affairs, subject only to restrictions and limitations provided in their several charters and in respect to other matters they shall be subject to general laws.

Section 6 provides that a county and all cities within it may consolidate as a charter city and county as provided by statute. 

Section 7 specifies that a county or city may make and enforce within its limits all local, police, sanitary, and other ordinances and regulations not in conflict with general laws. 

Section 7.5 prohibits a city or county measure proposed by the legislative body of a city, charter city, county, or charter county and submitted to the voters for approval from doing specified items.  

Section 8 states that the Legislature may provide that counties perform municipal functions at the request of cities within them.  

Section 9 provides that a municipal corporation may establish, purchase, and operate public works to furnish its inhabitants with light, water, power, heat, transportation, or means of communication.

Section 10 specifies that a local government body may not grant extra compensation or extra allowance to a public officer, public employee, or contractor after service has been rendered or a contract has been entered into and performed in whole or in part, or pay a claim under an agreement made without authority of law.  

Section 11 provides that the Legislature may not delegate to a private person or body power to make, control, appropriate, supervise, or interfere with county or municipal corporation improvements, money, or property, or to levy taxes or assessments, or perform municipal functions.  

Section 12 specifies that the Legislature may prescribe procedure for presentation, consideration, and enforcement of claims against counties, cities, their officers, agents, or employees.  

Section 13 notes that the provisions of this article relating to matters affecting the distribution of powers between the Legislature and cities and counties, including matters affecting supersession, shall be construed as a restatement of all related provisions of the Constitution in effect immediately prior to the effective date of this amendment, and as making no substantive change.

Section 14 states that a local government formed after the effective date of this section, the boundaries of which include all or part of two or more counties, cannot levy a property tax unless such tax has been approved by a majority vote of the qualified voters of that local government voting on the issue of the tax. 

Section 15 specifies the allocation of revenues derived from taxes imposed pursuant to the Vehicle License Fee Law that does not exceed 0.65 percent of the market value of the vehicle.

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