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Preliminary Guide to the John Vasconcellos Papers
HPA Mss 47  
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Additional Information

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: John Vasconcellos Papers,
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1946-2003
    Collection number: HPA Mss 47
    Creator: Vasconcellos, John
    Extent: ca. 110 linear feet ()
    Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Dept. of Special Collections
    Santa Barbara, California 93106-9010
    Physical location: Del Norte (Series III, VII); Annex 2 (Series I-II, IV-VI, VIII)
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access restrictions


    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    John Vasconcellos Papers. HPA Mss 47. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information

    Donated by John Vasconcellos, ca. 1986-2004; future additions anticipated.


    The following biographical sketch was prepared by Sen. John Vasconcellos' legislative office. See also his web site at: http://democrats.sen.ca.gov/senator/Vasconcellos/
    April 25, 2003
    At age 71, Senator John Vasconcellos is serving as the Dean of the California Legislature. Currently in his last term 'Representing the Heart of Silicon Valley', Vasconcellos is known for his innovative and sometimes radical approaches to transforming the traditional roles of politics and government to better serve the human potential toward self-realization and peace. He often repeats the most compelling personal/political calling of our times:
    We must become both hospice workers to support the peaceful dying and letting go of our traditional culture of fear and cynicism, and midwives to gently usher in our emerging culture of trust and mutual regard - and with it a more hopeful human future.
    Throughout his 37 years in public office, Vasconcellos has made his way with integrity, faith, transparency and partnership - all in the midst of a society undergoing profound revolutions and transformations, chaos and change. He's been characterized as 'A Pragmatic Idealist', 'The Conscience of the California Legislature', and 'The Johnny Appleseed of Self Esteem.'
    Vasconcellos is redefining leadership, believing that the true leader is that person who inspires and enables other persons to recognize, and then to realize, their innate capacity for becoming their own leaders. He is realigning the purpose of government to facilitate the growth and healthy development of whole human beings who are fully able to lead lives of freedom and responsibility, integrity and compassion, characteristics of a truly democratic society. He delivers a challenge for all of us in California and throughout the nation:
    to transform every level of governance according to a more faithful view of our human nature, so as to empower each and all of us to realize our innate human capacities, and the promise of our multicultural democracy, with gender equity, in the global economy, in this age of technology!
    Born in San Jose, California, John Vasconcellos was the eldest son of three children to parents of Portuguese (father) and German (mother) descent. His father was a California public school teacher and administrator for 40 years. His mother was a devoted homemaker and bank teller.
    After attending public schools (where his father was a top administrator), Vasconcellos was formally educated by the Jesuits. He began as a boarding student at Bellarmine College Preparatory, then went on to Santa Clara University where he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor's Degree in history (after changing majors 3 times). He was the only triple crown winner in the university's history - student body president, valedictorian of his class, and winner of the Nobili Medal awarded to the most outstanding graduate.
    Until this time Vasconcellos had given no thought to a career in politics. Upon graduation his counselor Steve Earley urged him to consider a career in politics. Vasconcellos prepared a résumé and took it to California Attorney General Edmund G. 'Pat' Brown. Brown wrote Vasconcellos assuring him that he'd provide him opportunity for gaining experience and exposure, both essential for an aspiring politician seeking to establish his credibility and candidacy.
    Upon completing his undergraduate education, Vasconcellos' ROTC commitment led him into two years as a lieutenant in the United States Army, first in officers basic training at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, then 18 months of service in Giessen, Germany. After returning home he entered Santa Clara University's law school where he again served as student body president and graduated first in his class in 1959.
    Vasconcellos joined the prestigious San Jose law firm of Ruffo & Chadwick. After practicing law for one year he got another call from Pat Brown, then governor, inviting him to join his staff as Assistant Secretary for Travel. After three weeks of arduous struggle within himself (and nearly turning down the offer), Vasconcellos succumbed to the advice of a mutual friend of his and the governor who said "John, the Governor needs good people around him. You've got to go!"
    Vasconcellos served on Brown's staff for a year, including many thrilling encounters like accompanying the governor and John F. Kennedy (a special hero and role model for Vasconcellos) on Kennedy's campaign tours throughout California - during which he got plenty of 'experience and exposure.' Vasconcellos then returned to his law practice in San Jose, immersing himself in local civic and religious endeavors.
    Then in 1966, when Assemblyman Al Alquist ran for a new Senate seat opened up by the Baker vs. Carr decision, Vasconcellos finally was persuaded by friends to become one of 6 Democratic candidates vying to become the party's nominee, in what was a strongly leaning Democratic district. After nearly a year of full-time campaigning, Vasconcellos won the 6-person primary with 48% of the vote and went on to a fairly easy election that November. At that time Vasconcellos was considered too liberal by some, yet too conservative by other Democrats - probably because he wasn't really sure who or what he was, himself.
    That same year and all throughout his first election campaign, Vasconcellos suddenly found himself in profound pain and confusion and went looking for help. Still a Roman Catholic he was referred to Leo Rock, a Jesuit priest and psychologist who was a protégé of pioneering humanistic psychologist, Carl Rogers. Thereupon the highly accomplished yet suffering politician began psychologically restructuring himself, a long public odyssey with many diversions and false starts.
    He explored various therapies and personal growth experiences which today Vasconcellos characterizes as having lead to "a radical change in [his] personal identity, [his] social condition and capacities" - in particular his sense of himself and of his emerging self esteem. Leo Rock introduced Vasconcellos to the pioneers of humanistic psychology. He devoured all (what would today be considered) the classics such as Sidney Jourard's The Transparent Self, Carl Rogers' On Becoming A Person, Abraham Maslow's Toward a Psychology of Being, Rollo May's Man's Search for Himself, and close to 100 self-help books in the vein of humanistic psychology.
    By 1968-69, fueled by both his personal growth/self awareness and the assassinations of Robert Kennedy (for whom he worked in the 1968 primaries) and Martin Luther King, Jr., Vasconcellos started his move away from traditional liberalism toward a more radical humanistic political ideology. He participated in a series of 8 workshops at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, a leading retreat center for exploring the frontiers of human potential, and kindred centers across California. His mentors in this series included Jourard, Rogers, Maslow, May, James Bugental, James Fadiman, Richard Farson and John Heider.
    His personal discoveries and insight into himself and the human experience inspired his developing an ever more holistic approach to politics and government. He began actively cross-fertilizing the tenets and goals of humanistic psychology with his work in legislative public policy-making - particularly in the fields of natural childbirth, education and holistic health.
    Between 1970-1980, Vasconcellos actively lobbied for community-based nonviolent conflict resolution projects and university peace-study programs, as well as promoting student representation on all the major governing boards in California higher education. Vasconcellos also initiated three leading-edge legislative efforts:
    1. The California Task Force on Alternative Birthing Practices (x2)
    2. The California Task Force on Positive Parenting
    3. The California Commission on Crime Control and Violence Prevention
    All the while Vasconcellos (less than secretly) continued his diligent search for himself and his healing toward becoming a whole person. Talk therapy enabled him to turn around his mindset regarding himself and his human nature from negative to positive. Then, having engaged in both individual and group encounter efforts, he sought to liberate himself and his emotions from the constraints of his guilt and shame-ridden Roman Catholic childhood. In 1970 he took the most profound step of his recovery and he began working weekly (for most of the next 13 years) in the breathing and body experiences of bioenergetics with Stanley Keleman.
    At one point in their work Keleman halted the process to check in with Vasconcellos regarding a dilemma they were facing. "You have a lot of energy," Keleman advised him, "which being in politics you use up well. Yet you have so much rage locked away inside you, that if we proceed and we open you up to all that, I'm not sure we'll be able to keep you from blowing your top, and in the midst of that, blowing your entire political career! Do you want us to continue, or would you prefer to stop here?"
    Vasconcellos believed that having come so far, there was no way he could stop now, that they must go on. It caused such a fallout that the State Assembly created a team of colleagues who rushed to his side when he and his rage erupted, and held his hands while he blew until he settled down. Eventually, he outgrew both his rage and his need for such support.
    In the mid 1970's Vasconcellos and two close friends, each feeling alienated from politics-as-usual, co-founded an innovative humanistic association called Self-Determination: A Personal/Political Network. At its peak it boasted 1800 members who were dually committed to their own personal growing self-awareness and socially-aware political engagement.
    He also pleaded for far-reaching changes in the economic structure of California, moving from competition to cooperation, from materialism to humanness. Vasconcellos grew into recognizing (under the tutelage of legendary Republican industrialist David Packard) that most of the impetus for economic development and prosperity must come from outside the public domain, and continues to be skeptical about only creating large public-sector programs. Vasconcellos maintained that a healthy private sector is generated by nurturing a smart strategic sense of public/private partnership.
    By this time Vasconcellos was developing a reputation among his colleagues for being 'more than a maverick' and for possessing well-developed skills in mediation and conflict-resolution. He began describing himself less as an 'alternative role model' and more as an 'anti-establishment member of the establishment.' He was conscious of the living paradox inherent therein, saying "That the most radical political act is taking responsibility for becoming the first person to know who I am." And he began to transform his sense of politics from 'the art of the possible' to 'the art of the practical'.
    He was growing ever more popular in human growth circles, and in 1979 he completed his first book entitled A Liberating Vision: Politics for growing human beings. It both told the story of his personal odyssey of self-discovery during his first 15 years in politics and public office, and was his first attempt to synthesize the principles of a whole new humanistic politics. He talked ever more loudly and insistently about his hopes to 'humanize politics and politicize humanists.'
    In his book he wrote: "My major goal over the years has been unity, unity between my inner and outer self, between who I am as a person and who I am politically. I've tried to live without any masks, to be open to all of who I am, to all my deepest feelings, doubts, needs, anger, fears, and to all my tenderness, lovingness, vulnerability and compassion."
    In 1980 Vasconcellos began by far the longest tenure in California legislative history as Chair of the most powerful committees in the State Assembly, the Committee on Ways and Means, which had jurisdiction and responsibility for both preparation of California's annual state budget, and processing every piece of legislation which proposed to appropriate any taxpayer money. He held that position longer than any person in the Committee's hundred year history (including throughout California's deep recession of the early 1990's).
    He also deployed a provocative 'whole child as learner' vision for education by serving on the Assembly Education Committee, chairing both the policy and budget subcommittees on higher education. In both the early 1970's and the late 80's he chaired comprehensive and ambitious legislative reviews of California's legendary 'Master Plan for Higher Education.'
    By this time, Vasconcellos had also become a senior member of the Assembly, second only to his good friend and legendary Speaker of the Assembly, Willie L. Brown, Jr. (now Mayor of San Francisco). Then came a time of awful legislative misconduct that sent several of his colleagues to prison. Vasconcellos urged Speaker Brown to initiate some action 'to clean up the mess,' and upon his return to the Capitol for the 1989-90 legislative session Vasconcellos learned from the Capitol press corps that Speaker Brown had announced his appointment as Chair of the Assembly's Select Committee on Ethics.
    Vasconcellos immediately selected his smartest Democratic colleagues to comprise the majority on that committee, and invited his Republican Vice-Chair to operate instead as his Co-Chair. The ensuing effort produced for the State and People of California the toughest code of legislative ethics in the nation at the time. Never had a legislative committee operated in such an open and bipartisan manner, and at a time which especially needed a credible counter-force to the public's growing cynicism. The work product of the Select Committee went onto the June 1990 primary ballot and was overwhelmingly enacted into law. There have been no legislative ethics scandals in California since that time.
    About that time his friend Lonnie Barbach, a sexuality therapist, advised him she'd been asked to run for President of AHP (The Association of Humanistic Psychology), but was concerned about whether she could handle its workload. Vasconcellos suggested they run together as Co-Presidents. Many AHP members who would have never elected either a politician or a sexuality therapist were at least disarmed (perhaps even charmed) by the 'odd couple' and elected them both for a year of service.
    Then came, as a further function and expression of his growing self-awareness, Vasconcellos' most notorious, most profound political effort to fuse the insights of humanistic psychology and the practices of government and society. In 1984 with the help of self esteem teacher Jack Canfield, Vasconcellos created and introduced legislation to create the California Task Force to Promote Self Esteem and Personal & Social Responsibility.
    In 1987 Vasconcellos succeeded as the chief architect of the most controversial, notorious, and profound achievements of his legislative career. He enlisted strong bipartisan support in the Legislature and persuaded a very conservative Republican governor to sign the legislation into law.
    The Task Force had four primary goals:
    1. To compile research on the correlation between self-esteem and six major social concerns (crime and violence, drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, child and spousal abuse, chronic welfare dependency, and failure to achieve in school);
    2. To examine three critical questions:
      1. What constitutes self esteem?
      2. How is self esteem lost?
      3. How can self esteem be rehabilitated?
    3. To explore the government's appropriate role in promoting these strategies and self esteem, and to identify model programs and specific applications of remedial strategies which are grounded in an explicit self-esteem component;
    4. To broadcast the good news emerging in the findings of the Self Esteem Task Force, and to assist in helping to create county self-esteem task forces in each of California's 58 counties.
    The legislation was subject to an avalanche of satire and criticism. The Task Force received more requests to be appointed (400) than any commission in the state's history. Its members included both Jack Canfield, who later went on to become the lead author of the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books, and Virginia Satir, one of the leading founders of family therapy. Its final report was produced in January of 1990 after 12 public hearings and 15 task force meetings. Toward a State of Esteem broke all records by selling more than 60,000 copies and becoming by far the #1 best seller of all time for State of California publications.
    The most obvious proof of its success was its spin off of 49 county-level task forces. In the wake of California's endeavor, at least fourteen other states began exploring ways to create their own efforts in regard to the appreciation and understanding of the interior person, and the applications and cures regarding healthy self esteem.
    Most significantly, the Task Force succeeded in transforming healthy self esteem from a secretive matter laced with taboo into one of the most cherished insights and values in post-modern society. The influence of the Task Force can be seen around the world, and is now attended to by the ongoing International Self Esteem Council. Vasconcellos made his mark, building a reputation for working both the idealistic and practical dimensions of government and politics.
    In the early 90's Vasconcellos found himself and his fellow Democrats under siege as the California economy sunk into deep recession. His response was ADEPT (the Assembly Democratic Economic Prosperity Team) which over the next two years he took throughout California, engaging in more than 55 dialogues with various sectors of California business.
    The effort produced the historic report, Toward an ADEPT California. It coincided with the Republican Governor's Commission on the California Economy, which together led to legislation setting the conditions for California's astonishing recovery and technological leadership throughout the mid to late-90's.
    Other Vasconcellos initiatives which may have received less media attention but constitute essential spokes in his commitment to promulgating a whole new political agenda (proceeding from, and grounded in, humanistic psychology's faithful view of our human nature, included the following:
    1. California Leadership - a nonprofit and nonpartisan enterprise that, recognizing California's shift toward becoming a much more diverse state, sought to identify and train especially talented young women and persons of color to become the future leaders of California. A Latina member of its first class is now one of two finalists to become the next President Pro Tempore of the California State Senate. A female African-American graduate of its last class was recently President of the Board of the Los Angeles Unified School District. California Leadership served to unite current and future state leaders in a decision-making process that was 'collaborative in practice, multicultural in representation, and proactive in problem-solving.'
    2. The California Human Corps - a statewide program enacted in the late 1980's which strongly expected and encouraged every student in the University of California and California State University systems to engage in 30 hours of community service per year during her/his college career to remediate such issues as illiteracy, environmental contamination, alleviation of hunger and care for the elderly.
    3. Vasconcellos also promoted a variety of social wellness projects including:
      1. California Preventing Violence
      2. The Latino Advancement Project
      3. The Senior Partners Program
      4. Parents as Teachers
    With the passage of a rigid Constitutional amendment imposing term-limits upon California legislators, Vasconcellos was in 1996 prohibited from standing for reelection to the California State Assembly. Fortuitously, his State Senator was that same year termed out. Vasconcellos stood for election to the California State Senate and won, once again 'Representing the Heart of Silicon Valley.'
    During his first Senate term, Vasconcellos chaired the challenging and controversial Public Safety Committee which had hitherto been named the Committee on Criminal Procedure. The Vasconcellos 'Tough & Smart Public Safety Program' took a more long-range, holistic, and preventive approach to public safety, and stopped cold the decade-long rush to more penalties and more prisons.
    He managed that assignment without making himself or his fellow Democrats vulnerable to 'soft-on-crime' labels from the other side. Vasconcellos lead the effort to transform prisons and the lives of inmates from torture chambers that produce greater threats to public safety, toward institutions and programs that truly seek to live up to its name as the Department of Corrections.
    In this his final term of his legislative career, Vasconcellos Chairs the Senate Committee on Education, whose jurisdiction extends to both pre-K-12 public education and California's legendary higher education system. In his first year he enacted a program which was signed into law that provided $200million annually for California students in the lowest performing schools. In his second year he moved onto the California law books the most comprehensive and elegant methodology for preventing school violence, steeped again in the vision and practices of humanistic psychology.
    As Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Aging and Long-Term Care he convened the 15 most out-of-the-box thinkers in that field asking them what could be accomplished during his final 3 years in the Legislature that would most profoundly improve the lives of aging Californians. This year as Chair of the Senate's Select Committee on Economic Development he aims to create our nation's leading comprehensive system of spending accountability for all State efforts and subsidies seeking to spur economic development.
    As he rapidly approaches the end of his final term in the California Legislature, Vasconcellos and his colleagues decided in the Fall of 2001 to create The John Vasconcellos Legacy Project. The original scope of the project was simply to identify and bring together all the various initiatives generated over four decades in the California Legislature into a coherent and sustaining body of work that would not dissipate and disappear upon his departure from the Capitol.
    Today the Legacy Project seeks to articulate a whole new politics - The Politics of Trust - a progressive orientation to governance whose faithful vision is best expressed by the eminent humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers who said:
    I've been doing psychology for 60 years, and I've come to believe we human beings are innately inclined toward becoming life-affirming, constructive, responsible and trustworthy.
    With this foundational assumption and worldview, the Politics of Trust constitutes a powerful antidote to the self-defeating and debilitating practices of traditional politics, offering instead a liberating approach to democracy and healthy self-governance. In his book A Conflict of Visions, political economist Thomas Sowell concedes "that the central fulcrum issue facing all of us in politics today is our basic assumption regarding ourselves and our human nature."
    Vasconcellos is now dedicating the rest of his life to further discerning, developing, and promulgating the Politics of Trust with the aim of elevating its principles, policies, practices and programs into the mainstream of California, U.S. and global politics. For more information visit www.PoliticsofTrust.net.
    Perhaps more than any other elected public office holder in the United States, John Vasconcellos has lived out his commitment to the faithful vision of our human nature and potential, espoused by humanistic psychology and the human potential movement. He has lived and acted transparently and authentically, both privately and publicly, and established an alternative model for future legislators and radically innovative programs for their engagement and commitment.
    Early in his legislative career, he assessed what was deficient in himself as a leader and as a human being, and courageously decided to seek assistance in unlocking and developing as much of his potential as he could. Like two of his mentors, Carl Rogers and Sidney Jourard, he now emphasizes the process of becoming (rather than outcomes), with all its false starts, mistakes, regressions, imperfections, and fumbles, along with a deep conviction that he and others are capable of realizing the very best that we human beings can be/come.
    The vision of Senator John Vasconcellos recasts in modern terms the philosophical and psychological justification for restructuring self and society so that the ancient values of freedom and responsibility, democratic empowerment and cooperation, self-realization and community become primary in the functioning of individuals and political systems. Building trust, he contends, is the path to this new reality. In his words:
    It is only by building trust, on a large-scale, that we can change, and change fundamentally, both ourselves and the pathologies of our social and political systems. Our most important public policy is our personal policy; our individual visions, beliefs, and value systems regarding human beings and human nature which necessarily underlie all our hopes and expectations, all our relationships and all our public policies.
    Our society is in crisis. Our time is come. We owe it to ourselves, and to the persons and causes we hold dear, to fully invest and commit ourselves, come together to lead lives of faith and hope and love, and realize the promise and the peace that is built into our human genes, that is our human calling, that is meant to become our human destiny!

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection currently is being processed; with additions received on a regular basis. It contains the following series: Series I: Personal/Biographical Series II: Humanistic Psychology Series III: Campaigns Series IV: Legislative Files Series V: Artifacts Series VI: Audiovisual Series VII: Oversize

    Additional Information


    The California Legislature is bicameral (a legislature consisting of two houses): the Senate and Assembly. The Senate, also known as the upper house, consists of 40 members elected from districts apportioned on the basis of population, and who are elected for no more than two-four year terms. The Assembly is composed of 80 members, elected from districts based on the basis of population, but the term of service is no more than three-two year terms. The Legislature serves multiple functions, including lawmaking, overseeing the governor and state bureaucracy, representation, administration, and recruitment. Lawmaking, however, is the primary function of the legislature. The lawmaking process involves the expenditure of many man-hours: bill drafting, introduction and assignment, committee hearings, lining up votes and floor action.
    In California all laws are enacted through constitutional amendments, resolutions, and bills. Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds affirmative vote by both houses of the legislature, and must be adopted and ratified by the majority of the people of state to become part of the State Constitution. Resolutions are in effect form expressions of opinion, which may be offered to the legislature for approval. There are three types of resolutions: Joint Resolutions, Concurrent Resolutions, and House Resolutions. Joint Resolutions are proposals directed by both houses to the Federal Government or other governmental agencies. Generally, Joint-Resolutions are used to approve or disapprove of Federal laws and policies. Concurrent Resolutions are proposals authored by one house, and approved of by the other. Generally the Concurrent Resolutions relate to the adoption of Joint Rules, the formation of joint committees, and report directives. Assembly and Senate Resolutions are rules that affect only one house. Usually these resolutions are used to amend house rules, create committees, or request a committee of that house to study a particular subject.
    Bills are proposed law constructed and presented to the legislature for consideration of adoption during session. Prior to the first presentation or introduction of a new bill or resolution legislators-both Senators and Assembly members, send the proposed law to the Legislative Council, where it is drafted into an actual bill, and sent back to the author/legislator for introduction during session. This initial process is commonly referred to as "putting the bill across the desk."
    Once the bill has been returned from Legislative Council, a legislator can introduce the bill for the first reading. The introduction of bills for first reading requires presentation of the prospective bill to either the Secretary of the Senate or the Chief Clerk's desk in the Assembly, who assigns the bill a number. After presentation to the respective houses, a printed cover is attached to the bill, and is accompanied by a digest-showing the changes in an existing law, and contains the number of votes needed to pass the bill. After the bill assignment has been administered, the bill is then read for the first time, and assigned to a Standing Committee for a hearing. The bill cannot be heard or acted upon until 30 days after its initial introduction, unless it is a Budget Bill, or a bill introduced during an Extraordinary Session. In the Assembly, all introduced bills must be printed immediately, before being sent on to the Assembly Rules Committee for committee assignment. Senate rules require that the bill is assigned to the appropriate committee before being printed.
    The next step in the process involves the Standing Committee hearing of the bill, which generally includes testimony from the author/authors of the bill, citizens, experts, lobbyists, and those opposing the bill. A schedule or calendar of bills (public notice) must be proposed by each hearing via publication in the Daily File at least four days prior to the scheduled hearing. Hearings for all proposed bills can be postponed, but a bill can be set for a hearing no more than three times. The Standing Committee can vote to pass, amend, or defeat the bill. Once the hearing has taken place, the committee will make recommendations in a report to the house indicated by a "do pass" or "do pass, as amended," or any other determinations made by the committee. The original bill and report are attached and read a second time, to insure that the original bill and amendments have been properly reported or engrossed. Both houses are responsible for the engrossing of all bills, and each house has an Engrossing and Enrolling Clerk responsible for making all technical corrections or changes to the printed bill.
    Bills passed by the committee are heard a second time in the house of origin and then placed on file for a third and final reading. In the third and final reading the bill is explained by the author, discussed by the Members and voted on by a roll call vote. Bills submitted in the third reading can be amended by a majority vote. The amended bill is sent out to be reprinted and re-engrossed, and is returned to the reading file for a final vote. Once the bill has passed the house of origin it proceeds to the other house where the same procedure is repeated. If the second house makes any alterations in the way of amendments, the bill must move back to the other house, where an agreement must be reached. If a resolution of agreement between the two houses cannot be accomplished, a conference committee composed of three members from both houses convenes. If a final agreement is made, the bill is returned to both houses, where it is signed, and forwarded to the Governor for consideration. The Governor can sign the bill into law, allow it to become law without his signature, or veto it. The two houses can override a veto with two- thirds vote in both houses. Most bills, once signed by the Governor, go into effect on January of the next year.

    Legislative Terms (abbreviations)

    Bill presented to the legislature for consideration from the Assembly
    Bill presented to the legislature for consideration from the Senate.
    Assembly Constitutional Amendment
    Senate Constitutional Amendment
    Assembly Joint Rules
    Senate Joint Rules
    Assembly Concurrent Resolution
    Senate Concurrent Resolution
    House (Assembly) Resolution
    Member's Resolution
    Senate Resolution


    Further information on California government and the legislative process can be found on the Internet. Some relevant websites, as of the date of this guide, are:
    • California Government Home Page: http://www.ca.gov/
    • California Senate: http://www.senate.ca.gov/
    • California Assembly: http://www.assembly.ca.gov/
    • California legislative information: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/
    • Full text of California legislative bills: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html
    • California law: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html
    • California State Archives: http://www.ss.ca.gov/archives/archives.htm
    • California State Library: http://www.library.ca.gov/