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Inventory of the Diane Watson Papers
LP374  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • State Senate, 1979-1998
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Collections at the California State Archives
  • Oral History
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Diane Watson Papers
    Dates: 1979-1998
    Collection number: LP374
    Creator: Diane Watson, California Legislator
    Collection Size: 25 cubic feet
    Repository: California State Archives
    Sacramento, California
    Abstract: The Diane Watson Papers consist of 25 cubic feet of records reflecting Watson's activities during her Senatorial career. The records contain Bill Files, 1979-1998; Subject Files, 1977-1986; Chronological Correspondence, 1979-1991; Constituent Correspondence, 1989-1994; Correspondence of Jane Uitti, 1985-1991; and Legislative Black Caucus Files, 1981-1983.
    Physical location: California State Archives
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Administrative Information

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    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 collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Diane Watson Papers, LP374:[folder number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

    Acquisition and Custodial History

    The California State Archives acquired the Diane Watson Papers following her final term in the State Legislature.

    Biography

    Diane Watson, Democrat was elected to represent California's 30th Senatorial District (Los Angeles) in 1978. Redistricting in 1982 relocated Senator Watson in the 28th district where she remained until redistricting in 1994 moved her to the 26th district. A native Californian, Watson earned a B.A. degree in education from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1956. Watson went on to earn an M.S. degree in psychology from California State University, Los Angeles in 1967. Diane Watson also received a Ph.D. in educational administration from Claremont Graduate School in 1987.
    Diane Watson began her professional career in 1956 as a teacher at the Coeur D'Alene Avenue Elementary School. Following several years of teaching Watson became the acting principal of Selma Avenue School, Assistant Supervisor in Child Welfare and Attendance and a School Psychologist. A fluent speaker of several languages, she then taught gifted children in Okinawa and France. Upon her return to the United States, Watson took on the role of Associate Professor of Education, Department of Guidance, California State University, Los Angeles. Watson went on to serve as Deputy Director of the Secondary Schools Allied Health Professions Project, a program at UCLA. Watson was then appointed to the State Department of Education as a Health Occupation Specialist. In 1975, Watson was elected to the Los Angeles City Board of Education where she worked to desegregate the school district. In taking her senatorial oath on December 4, 1978, Diane Watson became just the second woman and the first African American woman elected to the California State Senate.
    As chairperson of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee for seventeen years, Watson authored many laws dealing with health care related issues. Diane Watson staunchly opposed plans to cut welfare and Medi-Cal benefits for low-income residents. In 1992, Watson authored legislation to regulate surrogate parenting, and a bill to make it a crime for a peace officer to allow unlawful violence committed by another peace officer to go unreported. Watson also introduced bills to allow needle exchange programs to control the spread of AIDS, although these bills were vetoed.
    According to the California Legislature at Sacramento (Handbooks), Watson served on the following committees:

    State Senate, 1979-1998

    • Standing and Interim Committees
    • Business and Professions, 1981-1988
    • Budget and Fiscal Review, 1989-1998
    • Constitutional Amendments, 1981-1982
    • Criminal Procedure, 1995-1996
    • Education, 1979-1998
    • Health and Human Services, 1979-1998
    • *Vice Chair, 1979-1980
    • *Chair, 1981-1998
    • Housing and Land Use, 1997-1998
    • Industrial Relations, 1983
    • Insurance Claims and Corporations, 1993-1994
    • Judiciary, 1983-1994
    • Local Government, 1979-1980, 1997-1998
    • Natural Resources and Wildlife, 1979-1982
    • Public Employment and Retirement, 1987-1990
    • Public Safety, 1997-1998
    • Select Committees
    • Select Committee on Children and Youth, 1987-1992
    Diane Watson could not run for re-election to the State Senate in 1998 due to term limits. In 2001, however, Diane Watson was elected to the United States House of Representatives.

    Scope and Content

    The Diane Watson Papers consist of 25 cubic feet of records reflecting Watson's activities during her Senatorial career. The records contain Bill Files, 1979-1998; Subject Files, 1977-1986; Chronological Correspondence, 1979-1991; Constituent Correspondence, 1989-1994; Correspondence of Jane Uitti, 1985-1991; and Legislative Black Caucus Files, 1981-1983.
    The bill files document her legislative activity during her term as a member of the California State Legislature. The bills introduced by Diane Watson include a wide array of subjects but she consistently legislated for publicly funded programs to help the economically or socially challenged. Senator Watson was an advocate for greater restrictions on firearm possession, protecting the rights of sexual assault victims, and protecting women's rights to obtain an abortion.

    Related Collections at the California State Archives

    Senate Health and Welfare Committee and Senate Health and Human Services Committee Records
    Legislative Black Caucus Records

    Oral History

    Diane Watson, Oral History Interview, conducted 1999 by Susan Douglass Yates, Oral History Program, University of California, Los Angeles for the State Government Oral History Program available at the California State Archives and other repositories.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Watson, Diane
    Discrimination Law and legislation
    Gun control