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

Using Letters to the Daily Journals for Determining Legislative Intent in California

2022 Legislative Session Update of Assembly and Senate Letters from Bill Authors

By Chris Micheli, January 2, 2023 6:53 am

One method to help ascertain the legislative intent behind a specified measure is a letter that is published in the Assembly Daily Journal or the Senate Daily Journal by the bill’s author. These letters, for which there are many each year, may be used by the bill’s author to explain an ambiguity in the bill or explain the purpose of particular changes in the law as done by the bill.

The courts in this state can utilize these letters as extrinsic aids in determining the intent of the Legislature. Different versions of the bill, committee and floor analyses, and other items are generally given greater weight than these letters. Nonetheless, a Journal letter may be the best indicator available regarding the intent of the bill’s author and so they should be consulted.

In an effort to assist those conducting legislative history and intent research, in Fall 2018, I reviewed 23 years’ worth of Assembly Daily Journals and 16 years’ worth of Senate Daily Journals in order to compile these records. Below are the updated for the 2022 California Legislative Session.

The charts below list the bill number, bill author, subject matter of the bill, and page number from the respective Daily Journal where the letter can be found and cited.

2022 Legislative Session – California State Senate

Bill Number Author Date Page Number Topic
SB 7 Atkins June 9 4125 Environmental quality: Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2021
SB 54 Allen June 30 4572 Solid waste: reporting, packaging, and plastic food service ware
SB 54 Allen August 31 5402 Solid waste: reporting, packaging, and plastic food service ware
SB 179 Pan August 31 5403 Budget Act of 2022
SB 222 Dodd August 30 5339 Water Rate Assistance Program
SB 277 Archuleta August 18 4892 Fireworks: dangerous fireworks: seizure: management
SB 679 Kamlager August 31 5417 Los Angeles County: affordable housing
SB 846 Dodd Sept. 1 5428 Diablo Canyon powerplant: extension of operations
SB 886 Wiener August 31 5404 California Environmental Quality Act: exemption: public universities: university housing development projects
SB 887 Becker August 31 5405 Electricity: transmission facility planning
SB 905 Caballero August 31 5406 Carbon sequestration: Carbon Capture, Removal, Utilization, and Storage Program
SB 942 Newman August 24 5107 Low Carbon Transit Operations Program: free or reduced fare transit program
SB 1013 Atkins August 31 5417 Beverage container recycling
SB 1302 Portantino August 31 5408 Pupil health: school-based health centers: grant program: Mental Health Services Act: Mental Health Services Fund
AB 205 Budget August 31 5424 Energy

2022 Legislative Session – California State Assembly

Bill Number Author Date Page Number Topic
AB 178 Ting August 31 6631 Budget Act of 2022
AB 185 Ting August 31 6631 Education finance: education omnibus trailer bill
AB 205 Budget June 29 5633 Energy
AB 371 Jones-Sawyer August 29 6364 Shared mobility devices: insurance and tracking
AB 655 Kalra August 30 6492 California Law Enforcement Accountability Reform Act
AB 988 Bauer-Kahan August 31 6632 Mental health: 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
AB 1886 Cooper August 31 6689 Public works: definition
AB 2135 Irwin August 31 6632 Information security
AB 2251 Calderon August 22 5971 Urban forestry: statewide strategic plan
AB 2273 Wicks August 31 6634 The California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act
AB 2322 Wood August 31 6633 California building standards: fire resistance: occupancy risk categories
AB 2752 Wood August 31 6635 Broadband infrastructure and video service: mapping: subscriber information
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