Inventory of the Marian Bergeson Papers

Processed by Chris Deutsch
California State Archives
1020 "O" Street
Sacramento, California 95814
Phone: (916) 653-2246
Fax: (916) 653-7363
© 2009
California Secretary of State. All rights reserved.

Inventory of the Marian Bergeson Papers

Collection number: See Series Descriptions.

California State Archives

Office of the Secretary of State

Sacramento, California
Processed by:
Chris Deutsch
Date Completed:
June 2009
Encoded by:
Jessica Knox
© 2009 California Secretary of State. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Marian Bergeson Papers
Dates: 1979-1994
Collection number: See Series Descriptions.
Creator: Marian Bergeson, California Legislator
Collection Size: 21 cubic feet
Repository: California State Archives
Sacramento, California
Abstract: Marian Bergeson served as a California Legislator from 1979 to 1994. She was a member of the Republican Party. The Marian Bergeson Papers consist of 21 cubic feet of textual records from her term as an Assembly Member, 1979-1984, and from her term in the Senate, 1985-1992.
Physical location: California State Archives
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

Administrative Information


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

Acquisition and Custodial History

The California State Archives acquired the Marian Bergeson Papers following her final term in the State Legislature.


Marian Bergeson was a California State Assembly member from 1979 to 1984 and a California State Senator from 1985-1994. She was a member of the Republican Party. She was initially elected to represent the 74th Assembly District from 1979 until 1982, which encompassed the Orange and San Diego County coastline, including Newport Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, and San Clemente. After reapportionment, her district's boundaries changed in 1983 for her final Assembly term. The district became the 70th Assembly District, stretching from Newport Beach to the North Tustin area, San Juan Capistrano, and Laguna Beach. Her first Senate District was Senate District 37. The multi-county district contained the entire Orange County coast, northeastern San Diego County, Hemet-Sun City area of Riverside County, and all of Imperial County. Following legislative reapportionment in 1992, Bergeson represented the 35th Senate District, encompassing all of the Orange County shoreline, from Seal Beach to Laguna Beach and reaching inland to Tustin, including most of Irvine and parts of Anaheim.
According to the Who's Who in the California Legislature, Marian Bergeson was born in West Los Angeles and attended University High School. She matriculated to University of California, Los Angeles and Brigham Young University (BYU), obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in education from the latter university. Afterward, she was a schoolteacher. She served on two school boards of education between 1964 and 1977: from 1964 to 1965 on the Newport Beach City School District Board of Education, and from 1965 to 1977 on the Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board of Education. She served as president of the California School Boards Association for her final education position in 1978.
Bergeson received many awards before and during her legislative service. In 1974, the Orange County School Boards Association created the Marian Bergeson Community Service Award. The Parent Teacher Association conferred upon her the Life Membership and Continuing Service Award in 1975. And, in 1976 the American Association of University Women gave her their Community Service Award. While in the legislature, she received the 1980-1981 Distinguished Service Award from BYU, the University of California Student Association Senator of the Year Award in 1987, the League of California Cities Legislator of the Year Award in 1987, Senator of the Year by the California Business Properties Association in 1988, and the Outstanding State Senator of the Year Award from the California School Boards Association in 1991.
Never divorcing herself from her constituency, Bergeson remained active in her local community. She founded the Orange County's Coalition for Health Care Solutions and its Homeless Issues Task Force. Her board membership of United Way and the National Charity League reflected her commitment for local issues.
The 1990s saw two setbacks for Bergeson. In 1990, she made a failed attempt at the office of Lieutenant Governor, losing to the incumbent Leo T. McCarthy 51% to 42%. This loss was her only attempt at statewide elected office. In 1993, Governor Pete Wilson appointed her as the Superintendent of Public Instruction but the Assembly denied her confirmation.
Bergeson ended her legislative career in 1994, two years after her third Senate election. She ran for the Orange County Board of Supervisors and won 98% of the vote to represent the Fifth District. Ending statewide office by resigning to serve her county represented her commitment to local government.
According to the California Legislature at Sacramento (Handbooks), the Senate Final History, and the Assembly Final History, Bergeson served on the following committees:

State Assembly, 1979-1984

Standing Committees
Criminal Justice, 1979-1980
Economic Development and New Technology, 1984
Education, 1979-1983
*Vice Chair, 1979-1980
Labor and Government, 1981-1982
Public Employees and Retirement, 1981-1984
Resources, Land Use, and Energy, 1979-1980
Utilities and Commerce, 1984
Ways and Means, 1981-1984
Amusement Park Ride Safety, 1981-1982
County Justice System Subvention Program, 1979-1980
Education Reform, 1979-1982
Education, 1983-1984
Number 2- Education, 1981-1984
Select Committees
Acid Rain, 1981-1982
Economic Problems in Timber and Related Industries, 1979-1980
International Water Treatment and Reclamation, 1983-1984
Review of State Mandates on School Districts, 1981-1982
*Chair, 1981-1982
Joint Committees
Ad Hoc Educational Sunset Review Committee, 1979-1982
Revision of the Penal Code, 1979-1980

State Senate, 1985-1994

Standing Committees
Agriculture and Water Resources, 1985-1990
Appropriations, 1989-1994
Bonded Indebtedness and Methods of Financing, 1987-1988
Budget and Fiscal Review, 1987-1988
*Vice Chair, 1987-1988
Education, 1985-1994
*Vice Chair, 1985-1986
Elections and Reapportionment, 1989-1992
Health and Human Services, 1989-1994
Industrial Relations, 1993-1994
Local Government, 1985-1994
*Chair, 1985-1994
Natural Resources and Wildlife, 1991-1992
Public Employment and Retirement, 1985-1986
Revenue and Taxation, 1985-1986
Transportation, 1985-1992
Joint Committees
Organized Crime and Gang Violence, 1987-1990
Review of the Master Plan for Higher Education, 1985-1990
School Facilities, 1987-1990
Research Committees
Neighborhood Violence, 1987-1990
Select Committees
Bilingual Education, 1991-1994
Border Issues, Drug Trafficking, and Contraband, 1987-1992
Defense Base Closures, 1993-1994
Health Hazards in the Workplace, 1989-1990
Infant and Childcare Development, 1987-1994
Planning for California's Growth, 1985-1994
*Chair, 1985-1994
Source Reduction and Recycling Market Development, 1989-1994
Women in the Workforce, 1993-1994
Special Committees
Border Issues, 1991-1994
Greenhouse Effect, Ozone Depletion, and Pollution, 1990
University of California Admissions, 1987-1990
Agricultural Drainage Practices, 1985-1990
Minorities and Women and the 1990 Reapportionment, 1990
Redevelopment of Antiquated Subdivisions, 1985-1986
*Chair, 1985-1986
Water Marketing, 1985-1988
*Chair, 1985-1988
Task Forces
California Mexico Relations Task Force, 1987-1990
Committee on Legislative Ethics
Legislative Ethics, 1991-1992

Scope and Content

The Marian Bergeson Papers consist of 21 cubic feet of textual records from her term as an Assembly Member, 1979-1984, and from he term in the Senate, 1985-1992. Bill Files are the singular series. The papers were processed at two times. The 1979-1982 Bill Files were processed under LP223, while the 1983-1994 Bill Files were assigned LP398.
In the legislature, Marian Bergeson's career can best be summarized by the following advice by Senate President pro tempore Hugh M. Burns: "My advice to the kids when they come up Sacramento is: Remember your duty is to the people who elected you. Your first consideration should be your district, then the state, and then, if you want, the welfare of your party," from California Legislative Leaders: Oral History Transcript and Related Material, 1977-1981 (Volume 2). She focused most of her attention on local government, especially concentrating on Orange County. The principle that local governments enjoy autonomy from the state government, home rule, found a staunch supporter in Bergeson. Throughout her career, she championed wide-ranging issues with regional solutions. Her legislation typically empowered municipalities to implement regional solutions. In addition, the 1991-1992 Who's Who in the California State Legislature quoted her Lieutenant Governor campaign's self-description as a "pragmatic conservative."
As indicated, education remained her passion. As a former teacher and school board member, she continued to seek to improve California's education excellence. Despite believing strongly in home rule, her concern of California's public education system occasionally caused her to rely on statewide solutions, which overrode local authority. Other important issues included economic development, the environment, law and order, public employee retirement, worker's compensation, and transportation.
The collection benefits researchers interested in California's government in the 1980s and the 1990s. Bergeson's focus on local issues and solutions offers insight into the complex struggle between regional municipalities, such as city, county, and special districts, and the state government. Not only would the state government struggle with home rule but city and county governments also dueled over policy, occasionally adopting opposing positions on issues. Her legislative record reflects the tension created by these conflicts.
Other issues are present throughout the collection. Reflecting her local concern, she authored many bill files dealing with land development, such as transportation, the environment, housing, and municipal growth. All these issues were tackled with a focus on small business and the business environment. The collection details her attempts to streamline the development process while preserving the environment, specifically the coastline. She hoped to keep the California coast line pristine, preserving the vital Orange County tourism industry.
Her concern for children and their mental and physical health is seen not just in education bills, but also legislation related to health and human services. She authored legislation for poverty-stricken mothers and to fund education programs for their children. This legislation highlighted her pragmatic dedication to education, overriding her strong support of home rule.

Related Material at the California State Archives

Senate Committee on Education
Senate Committee on Local Government
Senate Committee on Transportation
Assembly Committee on Education

Oral History

Marian Bergeson, Oral History Interview, conducted 2000 by Susan Douglass Yates, Oral History Program, UCLA for the State Government Oral History Program available at the California State Archives and some other repositories.

Other Repositories

Additional records may be found at the Marian Bergeson Papers, Library Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California 92623-9557.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Bergeson, Marian
Local government

See below for LP Numbers.

Series 1 Bill Files 1979-1994

Physical Description: 398 file folders


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

Scope and Content Note

Bill files created by Marian Bergeson may include bill analyses, amendments and resolutions, author's statements, testimony, press releases, editorials and newspaper clippings, correspondence, committee statements, and other information.
Education issues are a prominent topic in Bergeson's bill files. She worked toward reforming California's credential program from the mid-1980s to early-1990s. SB868 (Chapter 989, Statutes of 1986) increased the Commission on Teacher Credentialing's (CTC) flexibility with implementing the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST), while allowing cooperating school districts to develop state basic skills proficiency tests. AB3600 (1983-1984) attempted to establish a 2-tier credentialing system but failed in the Assembly Committee on Education, whereupon she quit the committee. As a Senator, Bergeson introduced SB1605 (1985-1986) to completely revise the CTC and promote professional development. The bill died in the Assembly. The bill would later be resurrected as SB148 (Chapter 1355, Statutes of 1988), which redesigned teacher credentialing. The bill added subject matter tests for prospective teachers. It also established a 2-tier credentialing program and the California New Teacher Program (CNTP). SB1097, 1991-1992, was a vetoed bill to extend the CNTP; SB1422 (Chapter 1245, Statutes of 1992) successfully extended the program. SB654 (Chapter 809, Statutes of 1993) created both a combined physical science and a social science credential. SB22 (Chapter 42, Statutes of 1988) added an $800 million school bond to the November 1988 ballot.
Bergeson sought to shield local governments from a certain type of lawsuit. Following several court cases, governments became subject to lawsuits following injury or death while on undeveloped public land. SB433, 1985-1986, was the first attempt. SB1694, 1985-1986, was the second attempt. SB23 (Chapter 1209, Statutes of 1987) provided the sought after immunity. Reflecting her concern toward Orange County's fiscal stability, SB1147 (Chapter 1178, Statutes of 1987) allowed the county to convert special districts into county service districts, which increased the county's Gann Limit and property tax limit.
Additionally, California Department of Transportation's (Caltrans) workload concerned Bergeson. SB1902 (1985-1986) was an unsuccessful attempt to allow Caltrans to outsource engineering work to private companies, a move strongly opposed by Caltrans engineers. SB516 (1987-1988) was a failed attempt. The successful bill, SB1219 (Chapter 313, Statutes of 1991) approved Caltrans using private engineers. Another successful bill, SB1209 (Chapter 433, Statutes of 1993), further permitted outside engineers to work on Caltrans projects.
An important change to adoptions occurred following several multi-year court cases. Responding to the court decisions, Bergeson introduced SB1148 (Chapter 1353, Statutes of 1992) to restructure independent adoption rules. The bill reduced the time birth parents had to decide to finalize or end the adoption. A clean-up bill, SB792 (Chapter 758, Statutes of 1993) was introduced the next session.
Bergeson responded to the problem of violence against women and children with three bills. SB1343, 1991-1992, increased domestic violence sentences and was signed by Governor Pete Wilson but the Assembly double joined the bill with the vetoed SB25 (Lockyer). In response, during the 1993-1994 session, she reintroduced the bill as SB739 (Chapter 873, Statutes of 1994). SB26X (Chapter 14X, Statutes of 1993-1994) provided "one strike" for rape convictions.
1979-1980: AB172-AB3356, AJR21-AJR73, HR19 (23ff) LP223:23-45.
1981-1982: AB57-AB3520, ACA17-ACA34, ACR69-ACR132, AJR10 (26ff) LP223:46-71.
1983-1984: AB4-AB3728, ACA31-ACA32, ACR13-ACR120, AJR21-AJR66, Preprint AB14 (30ff) LP398:1-30.
1985-1986: SB118-SB2538, SCR48-SCR74, SJR41 (62ff) LP398:31-94.
1987-1988: SB22-SB2894, SCR88 (73ff) LP398:95-168.
1989-1990: SB1-SB2877, SCA19, SJR55 (62ff) LP398:169-230.
1991-1992: SB11-SB2039, SCR72-SCR90, SJR4-SJR39, SB9X (62ff) LP398:231-292.
1993-1994: SB11-SB2112, SCR22, SJR11-SJR49, SB26X-SB40X (57ff) LP398:293-349.