Scope and Content
Related Collections at the California State Archives
Title: California State Senate Governmental Organization Committee Records
Collection number: See series descriptions.
Senate Governmental Organization Committee
62 cubic feet
California State Archives
Abstract: The Senate Governmental Organization Committee evolved from the Senate Governmental Efficiency Committee, and was renamed
the Governmental Organization Committee by Senate Resolution 9 of the 1970 regular session. The committee heard legislation
relating to judges and other public employment, horseracing, governmental organization and public lands, the National Guard,
veterans, public gaming, and alcoholic beverages. The Senate Governmental Committee Records consist of approximately 62 cubic
feet of textual records covering the period 1970-2004.
Physical location: California State Archives
Languages represented in the collection:
Collection is open for research.
For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the California State Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication
is given on behalf of the California State Archives as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility
for possible infringement which may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives
[Identification of item], Senate Governmental Organization Committee Records, LP[number]:[folder number], California State
Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.
The California State Archives acquired the Senate Governmental Organization Committee records according to state law.
The Senate Governmental Organization Committee evolved from the Senate Governmental Efficiency Committee, which itself derived
from the Senate Interim Committee on Governmental Reorganization. It was renamed the Governmental Organization Committee by
Senate Resolution 9 of the 1970 regular session. It originally was comprised of 13 members, which was reduced to 11 in 1975,
then to 9 in 1980. It was restored to 11 members in 1981, where it remained until 1999. Membership was increased to 12 senators
in 1999-2000, and to 13 in 2001-2002, before being reduced again to 11 in 2005-2006, and to 10 in 2007-2008.
The original jurisdiction of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee was all legislation relating to judges and other
public employment, horseracing, governmental organization and public lands, the National Guard, and veterans. Over time the
committee's jurisdiction was expanded to include public gaming, alcoholic beverages, management of public safety emergencies
and disaster response. It also lost jurisdiction over certain matters as other committees were created - the Senate Public
Employees and Retirement Committee now deals with bills relating to state and local non-school public employees, and the Senate
Veterans Affairs Committee has jurisdiction over bills concerning veterans, military affairs, and armories.
The chairs of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee committee from 1970 and forward were as follows:
Sherman, Lewis F. (Rep), 1970
Way, Howard (Rep), 1970
Dills, Ralph C. (Dem), 1970-1998
Perata, Don (Dem), 1999-2000
Vincent, Edward (Dem), 2001-2004
Florez, Dean (Dem), 2005-2008 [present]
Scope and Content
The Senate Governmental Committee Records consist of approximately 62 cubic feet of textual records. The records cover the
years 1970-2004, and are organized into five series: bill files, hearing files, staff reports, records of bills, and committee
files. It is anticipated that the Archives will receive further records from the Senate Governmental Organization Committee,
as it remains a functional standing committee in the California State Senate. Researchers should inquire with the reference
archivist about recently received, unprocessed records of the committee.
The bill files consist of 56 cubic feet of textual records spanning the years 1970-2004. The majority of the bill files pertain
to topics within the committee's jurisdiction - primarily horseracing; regulation of the alcoholic beverage industry; gambling
establishments; Indian gaming; disaster response; public employees and their contracts; and the creation, abolition and reorganization
of state agencies, boards, commissions and departments.
Of the various topics addressed within the committee bill files, the most controversial involve the regulation of gambling
and gambling establishments, and of the alcoholic beverage industry. Typical correspondence on any bill which is seen as an
expansion of gambling in any way entails letters of support from casinos, Indian tribes involved in gambling, and lobbyists
in favor of expanded gambling; and letters of (often strong) opposition from anti-gambling groups, often with religious ties.
In the area of alcoholic beverages, bills which are perceived as modifying the state's existing "tied-house" laws for the
benefit of alcoholic beverage companies are accompanied by letters of support from those companies and lobbyists working for
them, and (again, often strong) opposition letters from anti-alcohol groups, many of which are the same groups opposed to
A frequent topic addressed by the committee is the California State Lottery. There are several bills from both pro- and anti-Lottery
forces within the legislature to either expand or reduce the scope of the Lottery, by either restricting or widening the range
of games which it may conduct. There is substantial correspondence from individuals and organizations both supportive of,
and opposed to, expansion of the Lottery in any way. There is also correspondence from the Lottery Commission itself. Several
bills, in an effort to either (a) increase state funds from Lottery revenues that go to education, (b) increase the size of
Lottery prizes in order to encourage more people to play, thus increasing education revenues, or both, proposed reducing the
designated percentage of revenues the Lottery may use for administrative purposes. Two such bills heard in the Senate Governmental
Organization Committee were Assembly Bill 201 (Bowen) of 1997-1998, and Senate Bill 329 (Perata) of 2003-2004. As expected,
the strongest opposition to such proposals comes from the Lottery itself, with support coming from individuals and organizations
lobbying on behalf of increased public education funding. Also included are two proposed constitutional amendments - one to
eliminate the Lottery (SCA43 of 1991-1992) and one to ban all gambling in California (SCA29 of 1993-1994), neither of which
The committee also addressed, in the early 1990s, the contentious issue of affirmative action. Prior to the passage of Proposition
209, which banned racial or gender preferences in all state programs, in 1996, at least two bills were proposed to effectively
end race-based affirmative action - Senate Constitutional Amendment 10 (Kopp) and Senate Bill 938 (Campbell). Both bills were
heard in the Governmental Organization Committee during the 1995-1996 session, but neither passed. These should be of interest
to researchers documenting the politics of affirmative action in California.
Several bills address proposed Indian gaming compacts between Native American tribes and the governor. Others address Memoranda
of Understanding (MOUs) - labor contracts - between the state and public employee unions. Researchers looking into either
Indian gaming or public employee unions will find this information useful.
Hearing files address many of the same areas as the bill files - alcoholic beverages and the "tied-house" laws, the reorganization
of state government, horseracing, and access to employment and higher education for veterans. Additional topics include the
licensing of professional astrologers, the issuance of bonds to fund the California Pollution Control Financing Authority,
and state regulations requiring the installation of smoke detectors and flame-retardant roofs in public buildings. One topic
of interest addressed was Proposition 13 of 1976, which would have legalized gambling on greyhound racing. Researchers should
be aware that this is not the same initiative as Proposition 13 from 1978, which sharply reduced property tax rates throughout
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in
the library's online public access catalog.
California State Senate Governmental Organization Committee
Alcoholic beverage industry
Related Collections at the California State Archives
Assembly Governmental Organization Committee Records
Ralph C. Dills Papers
Ralph C. Dills, Oral History Interview, conducted 1989 by Carlos Vasquez, Oral History Program, University of California,
Los Angeles for the State Government Oral History Program available at the California State Archives and some other repositories.
Note to researchers
Researchers interested in this committee are advised to check the papers of its Chairs. Committee Chairs often kept materials
relating to committee operations among their personal files. For Chair papers available at the California State Archives or
other repositories, this information can be found in the committee history.