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

What is a Resolution?

Resolution is mentioned several times in Article IV of the California Constitution

By Chris Micheli, December 18, 2019 8:19 am

What is a “resolution”? Although resolutions and concurrent resolutions are mentioned several times in Article IV of the California Constitution, neither term is defined in that document. There also is not a definition for either term in the Government Code. A traditional definition of a resolution is a written motion that is considered for adoption by a legislative body.

Fundamentally, a resolution is a written measure that expresses the will of the Legislature. As opposed to a bill, once adopted, a resolution does not have the force or effect of law. In California, there are several types of resolutions. California’s Legislative Counsel provides definitions for concurrent and joint resolutions as follows:

Concurrent Resolution

A measure introduced in one house that, if approved, must be sent to the other house for approval. It requests action or states the Legislature’s position on an issue. The Governor’s signature is not required. These measures usually involve the internal business of the Legislature. The Assembly version uses the acronym ACR, while the Senate version uses SCR.

Joint Resolution

A resolution expressing the Legislature’s opinion about a matter within the jurisdiction of the federal government, which is forwarded to Congress for its information. Requires the approval of both Assembly and Senate but does not require signature of the Governor. The Senate version uses the acronym SJR, while the Assembly version uses AJR.

There is also a house resolution and a memorial resolution. A memorial resolution is one used to convey the sympathy of the Legislature on the passing of a constituent or dignitary. A house resolution is used to adopt rules for the individual house. They involved the internal business of a single house of the Legislature and they only require passage in that particular house. The Assembly version uses the acronym HR, while the Senate version uses SR.

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