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Guide to the Barry Keene Papers
LP311:1-2289, LP195:221-299, LP196:1-143, LP213:237-261  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • California State Assembly, 1972-1978
  • California State Senate, 1978-1992
  • Scope and Content
  • Accruals
  • Related Materials
  • Related Collections at Other Repositories
  • Oral History
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Barry Keene Papers
    Dates: 1967-1992
    Collection numbers: LP311:1-2289, LP195:221-299, LP196:1-143, LP213:237-261
    Creator: Barry Keene, California Legislator
    Collection Size: 85 cubic feet
    Repository: California State Archives
    Sacramento, California
    Abstract: Barry Keene, Democrat served in the California State Assembly 1972-1978 and California State Senate, 1978-1992. The Barry Keene papers contain eighty-five feet of records representing many of Keene's concerns and goals for his districts and California as a whole during his twenty years in the California State Legislature.
    Physical location: California State Archives
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Administrative Information


    While the majority of the records are open for research, any access restrictions are noted in the record series descriptions.

    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], Barry Keene Papers, LP [number]: [folder number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

    Acquisition and Custodial History

    Throughout his legislative career, Barry Keene periodically deposited his political papers in the State Archives. One of the first acquisitions was a small collection of subject files, press releases, and speeches, apparently sent after Keene's term in the Assembly, which were processed by Archives staff, and now form parts of LP195, LP196, and LP213. Others soon followed, with a final transfer of files shortly after Keene's retirement in 1992. The vast majority of the collection focuses on Keene's fourteen years in the Senate, although the files listed below comprise his Assembly political papers.


    Hailing from California's politically liberal north coast, Barry Keene has been one of the Golden State's most outspoken Democratic legislators. Born in 1938 in New Jersey, he went on to earn Bachelor of Arts and Jurisprudence degrees from Stanford University in 1960 and 1964, respectfully. After a brief career as an attorney in Santa Rosa, Keene was elected to the California State Assembly in 1972. Keene represented California's 2nd Assembly District, encompassing Del Norte, northern Sonoma, Humboldt, Mendocino, and Lake counties. During his time in the Assembly, Keene chaired the Committee on Health, authoring key legislation designed to reform medical malpractice lawsuits and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs). In 1978, Keene was elected to represent the 2nd Senatorial District in the California State Senate, where he chaired the Judiciary Committee and served as majority leader from 1985 to 1992. Addressing concerns in his home district, Keene authored numerous bills on environmental protection throughout his political career. A controversial figure in many respects, he also authored a number of idealistic bills that were ultimately defeated, including one to split the state in two, and another to decriminalize marijuana. After several conflicts with San Francisco politician Willie Brown and Governor George Deukmejian, Keene became disillusioned with politics, retiring from the State Senate in 1992.
    He went on to pursue a number of different opportunities in higher education, including research and teaching positions at Stanford University, California State University, Sacramento, and the University of California, at Berkeley as well as authoring two casebooks on public decision-making. In 2000, Keene was appointed as Director of the Department of General Services and served until 2001. In 2008, Barry Keene was appointed to the California Student Aid Commission.
    During his term in the State Legislature, Keene was a member of the following committees:

    California State Assembly, 1972-1978

    • Standing Committees
    • Agriculture, 1973-1978
    • Governmental Organization, 1973-1976
    • Health, 1973-1978
    • Chair, 1974-1978
    • Local Government, 1973-1975
    • Vice-Chairman, 1973-1975
    • Resources, Land Use, and Energy, 1975-1978
    • Water, 1975-1976
    • Subcommittees
    • Health Care Investigations, 1975-1978
    • Chair, 1975-1978
    • Health Personnel, 1975-1978
    • Land Use, 1977-1978
    • Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, 1975-1978
    • Select Committees
    • Genetic Diseases, 1977-1978
    • Health Sciences Education, 1973-1976
    • Manpower Development, 1973-1974
    • North Coast Timber Economy, 1973-1974
    • Chair, 1973-1974
    • Veterans Affairs, 1977-1978
    • Western States Forest Industries Task Force, 1973-1978
    • Joint Committees
    • Fairs Allocation and Classification-Agricultural Code 4531, 1973-1975
    • Health Sciences Education-ACR210, 1973-1975
    • Public General Hospitals, 1977-1978
    • Wildlife Conservation Board, 1973-1978

    California State Senate, 1978-1992

    • Standing Committees
    • Appropriations, 1987-1988
    • Banking and Commerce, 1981-1988
    • Budget and Fiscal Review, 1989-1990
    • Business and Professions, 1989-1992
    • Elections and Reapportionment, 1978-1980
    • Chair, 1978-1980
    • Energy and Public Utilities, 1979-1986
    • Governmental Organization, 1981-1992
    • Insurance and Financial Institutions, 1978-1979
    • Insurance and Indemnity, 1980-1981
    • Vice-Chair, 1981
    • Insurance, Claims, and Corporations, 1983-1992
    • Local Government, 1981-1984
    • Natural Resources and Wildlife, 1978-1992
    • Vice-Chair, 1978-1979
    • Judiciary, 1983-1992
    • Chair, 1983-1986
    • Rules, 1980-1981
    • Toxics and Public Safety Management, 1985-1986
    • Subcommittees
    • Administration of Justice, 1982-1983
    • Corrections and Law Enforcement Agencies, 1985-1992
    • Disabled, 1982-1983
    • Energy, 1978-1979
    • Energy Management and Reform, 1978-1979
    • Governmental Organization, 1980-1992
    • Horseracing, 1989-1992
    • Justice, Corrections, Resources, and Agriculture, 1989-1990
    • Veterans Affairs, 1983-88
    • Select Committees
    • California's Wine Industry, 1987-1992
    • Coastal Fisheries and Aquaculture, 1981-1982
    • Forest Land Issues, 1981-1984
    • Forest and Range Land Issues, 1985-
    • Forest Resources, 1987-1991
    • Chair, 1987-1991
    • Health Care Delivery Systems, 1987-1988
    • Vice-Chair, 1987-88
    • Maritime Industry, 1983-1992
    • Pacific Rim, 1985-1992
    • Public Pension Fund Investments, 1985-
    • Sierra Cascade Klamath Watersheds, 1985-1991
    • Upper Sacramento Valley Economic Resources and Rangeland Issues, 1987-1988
    • Western States Forestry Task Force, 1978-1979
    • Joint Committees
    • Fisheries and Aquaculture
    • Chair, 1981-1992
    • Legislative Retirement Committee, 1983-1992
    • Organized Crime and Gang Violence, 1987-1988
    • Public Pension Fund Investments, 1981-1992
    • Tort Liability, 1989-1992
    • Boards and Commissions
    • Aquaculture, Advisory Committee, 1978-1979
    • Commission on Corporate Governance, Shareholder Rights and Securities Transactions, 1987-1992
    • Debt Advisory Commission, 1981-1984
    • Judicial Council, 1983-1984
    • Law Revision Commission, 1983-1984
    • Pacific Fisheries Legislative Task Force, 1987-1992
    • Sea Grant Research Projects, 1984-1988
    • State Coastal Conservancy, 1979-1984
    • Wildlife Conservation Board, 1978-1979

    Scope and Content

    The Barry Keene papers contain eighty-five feet of records representing many of Keene's concerns and goals for his districts and California as a whole during his twenty years in the California State Legislature. The records are arranged in the following record series: Bill Files, Coded Files, Subject Files, Natural Death Act Files, Northwest Pacific Railroad Abandonment Files, I.T. Corporation/Toxic Waste Files, Marijuana Project Files, Timber Reform Files, Lungren Investigation Files, Correspondence Files, Speech Files, Press Files, and the Medical Malpractice Committee Files. Subjects found throughout the collection include, environmental protection, governmental reforms, childcare, education, marijuana decriminalization, and reforms of the medical and insurance industries. This collection will be useful for the researcher interested in the efforts of Keene and the California State Legislature to: balance environmental protection for California's natural resources while providing for a vibrant California economy, expand the use of renewable resources, initiate tort reforms for the insurance and medical community, revise campaign finance laws, and improve the efficiency and transparency of California's government.
    The Bill Files contain legislative documents and related material reflecting many of Keene's interests. Keene legislation frequently concerned the creation and revision of California laws regarding the protection of the environment, health care and medical malpractice, the use of renewable resources and cogeneration, improvements in California's educational system, and expanding California's economy. Of note to the researcher are legislative bills that challenged proposals to scuttle nuclear submarines (SJR27, 1981-1982) and dump nuclear wastes into the ocean (SB444, 1983), as well revise requirements for nuclear liability (SJR54, 1985-1986), underground fuel tank clean-up efforts (SB539, 1987-1988; SB299 and SB2004, 1989-1990; SB853 1990-1991), and oil spills (SB7 and SB2040, 1989-1990).
    The subject and coded files provide background to legislative bills through materials such as reports, newspaper and magazine articles, scholarly analyses, correspondence, maps, and photographs. Many of the subjects reflect local concerns within Keene's districts that Keene represented, as wells as topics that concerned California as a whole. In addition to these two series, the researcher will find additional series highlighting some of Keene's major reform efforts while a California legislator. The Marijuana Project files contain reports, background information, newspaper and magazine coverage of Keene's efforts to revise the criminalization of marijuana in California. The Timber Reform Files outline Keene's efforts to balance long-term protection of California's timber through sustained yield policies with the economic needs of communities reliant upon the timber industry. The I.T. Corporation/Toxic Waste files concern violations at toxic waste sites, namely in Benicia, and legislative efforts to ascertain safety procedures and criminal liability. The Northwestern Pacific Railroad Abandonment files chronicle the effort to sustain railroad service to northern California counties when Northern Pacific desired to close its routes due to economic considerations. The Lungren Investigation files contain materials related to Deukmejian's appointment of Dan Lungren to State Treasurer and the suitability of his qualifications.
    The Barry Keene collection also contains press and correspondence files that provide the researcher with a wealth of communications between Keene, his constituents, and federal and state officials. The Press files consist of articles relevant to Keene legislation, a collection of his office newsletter Keenews, and some audiocassette tapes of Keene appearances on local radio.


    No further accruals are expected.

    Related Materials

    Dan Hauser Papers
    Braun and Company Records

    Related Collections at Other Repositories

    Catalogue II of the Regional Oral History Office: 1980-1997, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, 94720-6000

    Oral History

    Barry Keene, Oral History Interview, Conducted 1994 by Carole Hicke, Regional Oral History Office, University of California, Berkeley, for the California State Archives State Government Oral History Program.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Keene, Barry
    Marijuana - Law and legislation
    Logging --Environmental aspects