Inventory of the Sam Farr Papers

Processed by David O'Brien
California State Archives
1020 "O" Street
Sacramento, California 95814
Phone: (916) 653-2246
Fax: (916) 653-7363
© 2008
California Secretary of State. All rights reserved.

Inventory of the Sam Farr Papers

Collection number: LP391

California State Archives

Office of the Secretary of State

Sacramento, California
Processed by:
David O'Brien
Date Completed:
December 2008
Encoded by:
Jessica Knox
© 2008 California Secretary of State. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Sam Farr Papers
Dates: 1980-1994
Collection number: LP391
Creator: Sam Farr, California Legislator
Collection Size: 19 cubic feet
Repository: California State Archives
Sacramento, California
Abstract: Sam Farr served as a California State Assemblyman from 1980-1993, representing the 27th and 28th Assembly Districts. The Sam Farr Papers consist of 19 cubic feet of records reflecting the interests and political activities of Farr during his 12 years in the California State Legislature, with an emphasis on the issues of economic development, educational excellence, and environmental protection.
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], Sam Farr Papers, LP391:[folder number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

Acquisition and Custodial History

The California State Archives acquired the Sam Farr Papers following his final term in the State Legislature.


California legislator Sam Farr was born July 4, 1941, in San Francisco. He received a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Biology from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, in 1963, and later attended graduate school at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, and law school at the University of Santa Clara. He served for two years as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in Columbia from 1964 to 1966. His first experience in California politics was serving as a budget analyst to the Legislature from 1969 to 1971, then as chief consultant to the Assembly Constitutional Amendments Committee from 1971 to 1975.
Farr first served in elective office as a member of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, from 1975 to 1980. On June 3, 1980, he won the four-way Democratic primary election for the 28th Assembly District (encompassing part of Monterey County and all of Santa Cruz County) with 41.8 percent of the vote; he won the November 4 general election with 53.3 percent and was sworn in as the 28th District Assembly Member on December 1. He did not face a serious primary or general election challenger for the remainder of his Assembly career. His subsequent winning percentages were 71.1 percent (1982), 72.9 percent (1984), 72.1 percent (1986), 70.8 percent (1988), 71.5 percent (1990), and 60.7 percent (1992).
Following the 1991 reapportionment of California's state and federal legislative districts, Farr's district became the 27th Assembly District, but continued to encompass Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties. Comparison of graphs representing the two districts in the 1991 and 1993-1994 editions of Who's Who in the California Legislature indicate that the district may have shifted south somewhat. Voter registration changed somewhat: the 28th A.D. was 54.7 percent Democratic in October 1990, and the 27th A.D. was 50.9 percent Democratic in October 1992. This may account for the ten-point decrease in Farr's election percentage across those years (from 71.5 to 60.7 percent).
In 1993, U.S. Representative Leon Panetta (D-17) was appointed Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget by President Clinton, and subsequently resigned his seat in Congress. A special election was held April 13 to fill the 17th Congressional District seat; Farr came in first in the all-party primary, receiving 25.8 percent of the vote against more than two dozen other candidates. A runoff election was held between the top vote-getters of each party on June 8; Farr won with 52.3 percent and subsequently resigned his Assembly seat on June 15 to begin his service in the House of Representatives. On June 10, to commemorate his departure, the State Assembly unanimously passed House Resolution 23, commending Farr "for his outstanding record of dedicated service to his constituents and to all of the people of California, and convey to him their best wishes for success in his work in Washington."

State Assembly, 1980-1993

  • Standing Committees
  • Business and Professions, 1980-1982
  • Constitutional Amendments, 1980-1982
  • *Vice Chair, 1980-1982
  • Economic Development and New Technologies, 1983-1990
  • *Chair, 1983-1990
  • Education, 1980-1993
  • Energy and Natural Resources, 1980-1982
  • Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials, 1985-1986
  • Finance and Insurance, 1989-1990
  • Governmental Efficiency and Consumer Protection, 1989-1990
  • Higher Education, 1991-1993
  • Intergovernmental Relations, 1985-1986
  • International Trade and Intergovernmental Relations, 1987-1988
  • Local Government, 1983-1984; 1991-1993
  • *Chair, 1991-1993
  • Natural Resources, 1983-1993
  • Policy Research Management, 1983
  • *Vice Chair, 1983
  • Televising the Assembly, 1991-1993
  • Utilities and Commerce, 1987-1990
  • Joint Committees
  • Arts Commission, 1984-1993
  • *Vice Chair, 1984-1993
  • Fisheries and Aquaculture, 1982-1993
  • Science and Technologies, 1984-1986
  • Select Committees
  • National Endowment for the Arts Commission, 1989-1993
  • Oil Spill Prevention and Response Preparedness, 1989-1990

Scope and Content

The Sam Farr Papers consist of 19 cubic feet of records reflecting the interests and political activities of Farr during his 12 years in the California State Legislature. The records contain six series: bill files, subject files, press clippings, press releases, correspondence, and campaign files.
The bill files, which are the most comprehensive and informative series in the collection, focus largely on the three issues Farr prioritized in the legislature - his "three E's" of economic development, educational excellence, and environmental protection. Farr was a strong opponent of President Reagan's proposal to open up certain sections of the California coastline to offshore oil drilling, and he introduced several resolutions urging Congress to oppose it as well. (His efforts were successful; the federal moratorium on offshore oil drilling has been in place since 1981.) Farr was a strong proponent of animal rights; in 1981-1982 he proposed banning certain types of steel-jawed animal traps, and one of his 1989-1990 bills would have increased state regulations on the transportation of horses to slaughterhouses. Other landmark proposals covered issues ranging from banning corporal punishment in public schools, requiring the labeling of all agricultural products sold in California by their country of origin, and authorizing the installation of ignition interlock ("Breathalyzer") devices in automobiles operated by drivers with DUI convictions. The series description contains more detailed information about most of these bills.
Subject files, press clippings, press releases and correspondence all deal with many of these same subjects, though not as in depth or comprehensively as do the bill files.

Related Material at the California State Archives

Assembly Economic Development and New Technologies Committee Records

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Farr, Sam
Environmental protection


Series 1 Bill Files 1981-1994

Physical Description: 240 file folders


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

Scope and Content Note

Most bill files include all or some of the following items: bill analyses, amendments and resolutions, author's statements, press releases, newspaper clippings, and correspondence. Of particular interest are bills that focused on Farr's "three E's" which he prioritized in the legislature: economic development, educational excellence, and environmental protection. Farr was a strong opponent of President Reagan's proposal to open up certain sections of the California coastline to offshore oil drilling; his AJR19 of 1981-1982 urged Congress to uphold a federal moratorium on drilling. He authored AB2600 in 1981-1982, which would have outlawed the use of certain steel-jawed animal traps. In 1984, his AB2099 became Proposition 18 on the statewide ballot; it sold general obligation bonds to finance improvements and upgrades to state parks (it passed, 63 to 37 percent). Also in 1984, a constitutional amendment of Farr's, ACA6, made it onto the statewide ballot as Proposition 34 (it failed, 53 to 47 percent). In the 1985-1986 session, he proposed divesting all state funds from companies doing business with apartheid-era South Africa (AB1300); banning corporal punishment in public schools (AB1617); requiring agricultural companies to label their products by country of origin (AB1630); allowing judges to require convicted drunk drivers to install ignition interlock ("Breathalyzer") devices in their cars (AB 3939); and holding oil companies fully liable for the negative effects of oil spills (AB4044). The Farr Act of 1987-88 (AB4327) increased state regulation of art dealers, with the intent of reducing fraudulent art sales. A strong supporter of environmental regulation, Farr introduced the Ozone Protection Act of 1993 (AB2358) just before departing the Assembly for Congress.
1981-1982: AB227-AB3802, ACR4-ACR152, AJR19-AJR126 (27ff) LP391:1-27
1983-1984: AB43-AB3979, ACA6-ACA76, ACR4-ACR170,AJR15-AJR95 (41ff) LP391:28-68
1985-1986: AB123-AB4251, ACR60-ACR170, AJR8-AJR42 (75ff) LP391:69-143
1987-1988: AB7-AB4634, ACR37-ACR92, AJR23-AJR72 (30ff) LP391:144-173
1989-1990: AB409-AB4305, ACA35-ACA50, ACR2-ACR112,AJR13-AJR114, AB30X-AB41X, SB14X (33ff) LP391:174-206
1991-1992: AB6-AB3783, ACA17-ACA44, ACR53-ACR74,AJR3-AJR88 (33ff) LP391:207-235
1993-1994: AB160-AB2358, ACR22 (5ff) LP391:236-240

Series 2 Subject Files 1980-1993

Physical Description: 237 file folders


Subject files are arranged alphabetically by subject headings.

Scope and Content Note

Subject Files expand upon topics found in the bill files and include additional background information on topics Farr considered most important as a legislator: arts in education, offshore oil drilling, state parks, local school district issues, and general issues of the 1980s such as abortion, crime, Proposition 13, taxes and welfare.
Included in Subject Files are correspondence from constituents and other legislators, news clippings, government reports, internal memoranda between Farr and his staff, and transcripts of speeches given by Farr.
For a complete list of subjects, see Appendix A in Master Finding Aid at the California State Archives.

Series 3 Press Clippings 1983-1986

Physical Description: 4 file folders


Press clippings are arranged chronologically by year into four years: 1983, 1984, 1985, and 1986.

Scope and Content Note

Press clippings consist of photocopied newspaper articles pertaining to Sam Farr - both his legislation and his activities within his district.

Series 4 Press Releases 1982-1986

Physical Description: 6 file folders


Press releases are arranged chronologically by year into five years: 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, and 1986.

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of official press releases from Farr's Assembly office, the Assembly Committee on Economic Development and New Technologies which he chaired, and the Friends of Farr Committee (his election campaign committee).

Series 5 Correspondence 1980-1990

Physical Description: 3 file folders


Correspondence is arranged chronologically by year.

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence covers a variety of subjects, ranging from impending legislation (including Farr's legislation and proposals by other legislators), controversial issues of the day, and local issues and problems constituents requiring Farr's assistance. Correspondence is not comprehensive and most, if not all, of the subjects addressed in the correspondence files are addressed in greater detail in the Subject Files and Bill Files of this collection.

Series 6 Campaign Files 1988

Physical Description: 1 file folder


Campaign files are arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content Note

Campaign files consist of reports filed with the Secretary of State and the Fair Political Practices Commission, internal memoranda between campaign staff, press releases, news clippings, and campaign literature.