Inventory of the Diane Watson Papers

Processed by Sven Kennedy
California State Archives
1020 "O" Street
Sacramento, California 95814
Phone: (916) 653-2246
Fax: (916) 653-7363
Email: ArchivesWeb@sos.ca.gov
URL: http://www.sos.ca.gov/archives/
© 2007
California Secretary of State. All rights reserved.

Inventory of the Diane Watson Papers

Collection number: LP374

California State Archives

Office of the Secretary of State

Sacramento, California
Processed by:
Sven Kennedy
Date Completed:
July 2007
Encoded by:
Sara Roberson
© 2007 California Secretary of State. All rights reserved.

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


Series Descriptions

LP374:1-364

Series 1 Bill Files 1979-1998

Physical Description: 364 file folders

Arrangement

Bill files are arranged chronologically by legislative session and then numerically by bill number.

Scope and Content Note

Bill files created by Diane Watson document legislation she authored while serving as a member of the State Senate. Bill files may contain bill drafts, committee analyses, veto messages, correspondence in support of or opposed to legislation, and comments from organizations and constituents. Additionally, bill files may include notes, reports, newspaper articles, bill amendments, and other documents relevant to each individual bill. Bill files typically reveal the legislator's intent for the measure.
1979-1980: SB314-SB1986 (19ff) LP374:1-19
1981-1982: SB20-SB1999; SCR7-9; SJR49; SR23-35 (32ff) LP374:20-51
1983-1984: SB63-SB2308; SCA29; SCR6-SCR77; SR35; Prop. Leg. (31ff) LP374:52-82
1985-1986: SB4-SB2372; SCR20; SJR10-SJR36, SR8-SR24 (39ff) LP374:83-121
1987-1988: SB13-SB2854; SCR20; SJR27 (40ff) LP374:122-161
1989-1990: SB19-SB2721; SCA26; SCR18-SCR106; SJR21; SR27 (48ff) LP374:162-209
1991-1992: SB99-SB2012; SCA36-SCA41; SCR69; SJR8-SJR32 (48ff) LP374:210-257
1993-1994: SB30-SB2092; SCR42; SR30 (40ff) LP374:258-297
1995-1996: SB227-SB2141; SCR27-SCR69; SJR52-SJR56; SB23XX-SB25XX (31ff) LP374:298-328
1997-1998: SB160-SB2222; SCR17-SCR105; SJR21; SR26 (36ff) LP374:329-364
LP374:365-452

Series 2 Subject Files 1977-1986

Physical Description: 88 file folders

Arrangement

Subject Files are arranged alphabetically by subject heading.

Scope and Content Note

Subject files contain newspaper clippings, correspondence, reports, and other materials. The subject files include documents gathered by Watson throughout her career in the State Senate and demonstrate her areas of legislative activism. Many of the subject files contain information concerning children, women, and public education. The subject files also provide more detail into Watson's health and welfare concerns. Specifically, Watson maintained subject files dealing with issues such as abortion, domestic violence, childcare, and the California Youth Authority. A complete list of subject headings can be found in Appendix A of the master finding aid at the California State Archives.
LP374:453-456

Series 3 Chronological Correspondence 1979-1991

Physical Description: 4 file folders

Arrangement

Correspondence arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content Note

The chronological correspondence files include selected letters to and from Senator Watson regarding a variety of topics including appointments to committees and boards and requests for information or assistance.
LP374:457-461

Series 4 Constituent Correspondence 1989-1994

Physical Description: 5 file folders

Arrangement

Correspondence arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent.

Scope and Content Note

Constituent correspondence files contain selected letters to Senator Watson from her constituents accompanied with her response. The vast majority of this correspondence relates to their agreement or opposition to legislation or certain aspects of legislation.
LP374:462-463

Series 5 Jane Uitti Correspondence 1985-1991

Physical Description: 2 file folders

Arrangement

Correspondence arranged in original filing order.

Scope and Content Note

This correspondence series contains selected letters sent or referred to and from the Jane Uitti, senior consultant on the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. The majority of correspondence in this series deals with issues related to grants and services for the physically or developmentally disabled. Other correspondence deals with issues related to drug addiction, the spread of AIDS, and mismanagement in publicly funded health agencies.
LP374:464-465

Series 6 Legislative Black Caucus Files 1981-1983

Physical Description: 2 file folders

Arrangement

Legislative Black Caucus files are arranged chronologically by date.

Scope and Content Note

This series contains correspondence, memoranda, news clippings, agendas, and reports reflecting Diane Watson's participation in the Legislative Black Caucus. Many of the documents contained in this series deal with topics related to racial discrimination and racially motivated terrorism now commonly referred to as "hate crimes." However, correspondence contained herein typically relates to either support or opposition to matters discussed by the Legislative Black Caucus.