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Inventory of the John Stephen (Steve) Peace Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • State Assembly, 1982-1993
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Material at the California State Archives
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: John Stephen (Steve) Peace Papers
    Dates: 1982-2002
    Collection number: LP384
    Creator: Steve Peace, California Legislator
    Collection Size: 42 cubic feet
    Repository: California State Archives
    Sacramento, California
    Abstract: John Stephen (Steve) Peace, Democrat, was a State Assembly Member, 1982-1993, and a Senator, 1993-2002. The Steve Peace Papers consist of 42 cubic feet of textual records covering 1983-2002. The collection is organized into five series: Bill Files, Worker's Compensation Reform Committee Files, Correspondence Files, the Select Committee on International Water Treatment and Reclamation Files, and the Select Committee on Low Level Nuclear Waste Files.
    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], John Stephen (Steve) Peace Papers, LP385:[folder number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

    Acquisition and Custodial History

    The California State Archives acquired the John Steven (Steve) Peace Papers Papers following his final term in the State Legislature.


    John Stephen (Steve) Peace, Democrat, was a State Assembly Member, 1982-1993, and a Senator, 1993-2002. From 1982-1992, his Assembly District 80 included all of Imperial County and parts of San Diego County and Imperial City, most of Chula Vista, and southerly portions of the city of San Diego. Following redistricting in 1992, he represented the 79th Assembly District which included cities within San Diego County but excluded Imperial County. His Senate District 40 included half of San Diego City, Chula Vista, National City, and El Cajon in San Diego County.
    Steve Peace was born on March 30, 1953 in San Diego. The son of two teachers, Steve served as Student Body President at Bonita Vista High School in Chula Vista, and played football and basketball. He graduated from the University of California at San Diego with a degree in Political Science. Before becoming a state legislator, Peace was a writer, director, actor, and producer. Peace was the Chief Financial Officer of Four Square Productions, a multimedia production company he co-founded in 1972, and was San Diego's largest producer of commercial and corporate films, videotapes, and multi-media presentations. The company, though, was best known for its original feature film, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and its three sequels, as well as a Killer Tomatoes Saturday morning animated series on the Fox Children's Network. He married his wife, Cheryl, in 1974 and has three children, Clint, Bret, and Chad.
    Throughout his career Peace remained tied to the community. He has been president of a homeowners association in the San Diego area, co-chair of Citizens for Clean Water, a Little League baseball coach, and a member of National City's Chamber of Commerce.
    Before joining the Assembly, he was a legislative aid for six years to Wadie Deddeh and Larry Kapiloff. Steve Peace was elected to the State Assembly in 1982 and to the State Senate in December 1993 through a special election to replace Senator Wadie Deddeh. Peace served as the Majority Whip from 1985-1986. In 1988 he was a member of the "Gang of Five" and lost his committee assignments for that year. His legislative concerns were the environment, worker's compensation, education, public utilities and deregulation, public safety, and consumer protection. Additionally, his fellow legislators considered him one of the most intelligent and hardworking legislators.
    During his term in the Legislature, Steve Peace was a member of the following committees according to the California Legislature at Sacramento (Handbooks) and the California Blue Book:

    State Assembly, 1982-1993

    • Standing Committees
    • Aging and Long Term Care, 1983-1984
    • *Vice Chair, 1983-1984
    • Agriculture, 1983-1984
    • Banking, Finance, and Bonded Indebtedness, 1991-1992
    • *Chair, 1991-1992
    • Elections and Reapportionment, 1985-1986
    • Elections, Reapportionment, and Constitutional Amendments, 1991-1993
    • Environmental Safety and Toxic Material, 1993
    • Finance and Insurance, 1987
    • Finance, Insurance, and Public Indebtedness, 1993
    • *Chair, 1993
    • Human Services, 1989-1990
    • Insurance, Utilities, and Commerce, 1991-1992
    • Local Government, 1987-1988
    • Revenue and Taxation, 1989-1990
    • Rules, 1987
    • Televising the Assembly, 1993
    • Utilities and Commerce, 1983-1987, 1989-1993
    • Water, Parks, and Wildlife, 1983-1987, 1989-1992
    • Ways and Means, 1985-1987, 1989-1992
    • Subcommittees
    • Employee Compensation, 1985-1986
    • Resources, Agriculture and the Environment, 1989-1990
    • Resources and Parks, 1985-1986
    • Unemployment and Disability Insurance, 1985-1986
    • Worker's Compensation, 1985-1986
    • *Chair, 1985-1986
    • Select Committees
    • California-Mexico Affairs, 1991-1992
    • California Youth, 1983-1984
    • International Water Treatment and Reclamation, 1983-1993
    • *Chair, 1983-1993
    • Low Level Nuclear Waste, 1985-1986
    • *Chair, 1985-1986
    • Property Tax and Local Government Finance, 1991-1992
    • Radioactive Waste Disposal and Fusion Technology, 1989-1990
    • *Chair, 1989-1990
    • Joint Committees
    • Prison Construction and Operation, 1989-1990
    • Special Committees
    • Community Colleges, 1983-1984
    • Policy Research Management, 1989-1990
    • Commissions
    • Commission of the Californias, 1983-1986, 1991-1992
    • State Allocation Board, 1991-1992
    • Governor's Task Force
    • Governor's Taskforce on Long Term Care, 1986

    State Senate, 1993-2002

    • Standing Committees
    • Appropriations, 1997-2004
    • *Chair, 2001-2004
    • Agriculture and Water Resources, 2001-2004
    • Education, 1997-2004
    • *Chair, 1999
    • Equalization, 1997-1999
    • Elections and Reapportionment, 2002
    • Environmental Quality, 1997-1998
    • Natural Resources and Wildlife, 1997-2004
    • Revenue and Taxataion, 1997-2004
    • *Chair, 1997-1998
    • Special committees
    • Community Colleges, 1983-1984
    • Policy Research Management, 1989-1990
    • Select Committees
    • Agriculture and Water Resources, 1997-2000
    • Appropriations, 1996
    • Budget and Fiscal Review, 1993-2002
    • *Chair, 1999-2002
    • Education, 1995
    • Energy and Public Utilities, 1993-1994
    • Energy, Utilities, and Communications, 1995-2000
    • *Chair, 1995-1998
    • Insurance, 1997-1998
    • Insurance, Claims, and Corporations, 1993-1996
    • Judiciary, 1999-2002
    • Privacy, 2001-2002
    • *Chair, 2001-2002
    • Toxics and Public Safety Management, 1995-1996
    • Transportation, 1993-1994
    • Joint Committees
    • Coordination of Public Policy Research, 1996-1998
    • *Chair, 1996-1998
    • Investigate Financial Institution Mergers and Acquisitions, 2001-2002
    • Legislative Audit, 1998-2002
    • Legislative Budget, 1999-2002
    • *Chair, 2001-2002
    • Oversight on Lowering the Cost of Electric Services, 1995-2000
    • *Vice Chair, 1995-2000
    • Oversight of the State Library, 1995
    • *Chair, 1995
    • Public Policy, 1999-2000
    • *Chair, 1999-2000
    • Worker's Compensation, 1994-2000
    • *Chair, 1994-2000
    • Joint Subcommittee
    • Special Subcommittee on State Expenditures to Purchase Electricity, 2002
    • Taskforce
    • Taskforce on Personal Information and Privacy, 1998

    Scope and Content

    The Steve Peace Papers consist of 42 cubic feet of textual records covering 1983-2002. The collection is organized into five series: Bill Files, Worker's Compensation Reform Committee Files, Correspondence Files, the Select Committee on International Water Treatment and Reclamation Files, and the Select Committee on Low Level Nuclear Waste Files. The bill files document Peace's legislative activity during his term as a member of the California State Legislature. The bills introduced by Steve Peace include a wide array of subjects, including such topics as the environment, worker's compensation, education, public utilities and deregulation, public safety, and consumer protection. His bills reflect both local and statewide concerns.
    Steve Peace focused on the pollution of rivers in his district. One of his most intensely fought battles was over the New River near the United States and Mexico border. He authored many bills designed to force the Mexican government to clean up the pollution flowing into the United States from the river. The cross-border issue was complicated because the federal government was responsible for all international treaties and Peace hoped to use California laws to force Mexico to spend money and build a water treatment plant. He successfully engaged the federal government to promise to work on a solution.
    Peace's environmental concerns went beyond river pollution. He chaired the Assembly Select Committee on Low Level Nuclear Waste, 1985-1986, and the Assembly Select Committee on Radioactive Waste Disposal and Fusion Technology, 1989-1990. Both select committees investigated potential dump sites in southern Californian deserts. One particular issue was creating radioactive waste disposal sites on Native American territory. In addition to the work of these committees, Peace also addressed the issue when he authored AB240 during the 1991-1992 session. The bill expanded state regulatory oversight to waste disposal sites located on reservations.
    Another one of Peace's most intensely fought battles was over worker's compensation reform. In the 1993-1994 session, Steve Peace worked with Governor Pete Wilson and other legislators to cut worker's compensation costs and increase benefits to workers. Chaptered in 1993, AB110 marked Peace's triumph in restructuring the system to cut costs and increase benefits to workers in need. He authored many other bills on the subject and spent many years on committees concerned with worker's compensation reform. Worker's compensation reform bill files and other information can be found in the subject files of Joint Committee on Worker's Compensation--a committee he created with SCA29 (1993-1994) and on which he served as the chair.
    The most infamous issue included within the collection is the electricity industry deregulation. Public utilities and pay rates were an issue Peace dealt with throughout his legislative career and deregulation of the electricity industry was an attempt to lower energy costs for both consumers and the power companies throughout the entire state. During the 1995-1996 session, Peace was a principle coauthor of AB1890 (Brulte), which deregulated the electricity industry. Although this collection does not contain a file for AB1890, he authored numerous bills relating to deregulation including SB1139 (1995-1996) and SB1141 (1995-1996), which were chaptered into state law.
    Education was an issue Steve Peace focused on during his legislative career. In addition to serving on various education-related committees, he authored many bills concerning state regulation of schools, colleges, and universities. Peace fought to reduce fees at all the University of California, California State University, and Community Colleges campuses, which SB1896, 1997-1998, did.
    Public safety was a recurrent theme throughout the collection. Peace authored many public safety bills. Most of the public safety bills focused on increasing sentences for offenders convicted of murder or rape, especially involving children. In the 1993-1994 session, he authored AB560, which lowered from 16 to 14 the age at which minors engaged in violent crimes can be tried and sentenced as adults. Another concern in public safety was gun control. Numerous successful and unsuccessful bills throughout the collection increase the state's ability to track firearms.
    In the 1999-2000 session, Peace authored SB28, changing California's Primary elections from an "open" to a modified "closed" primary. This was in response to the Supreme Court decision that listed the previous system unconstitutional.
    Personal privacy appeared throughout the collection as well. One of the most important contributions to privacy was SB129, 1999-2000, which created the Office of Privacy Protection within the Department of Consumer Affairs to monitor consumer privacy issues. Also, Peace authored bills protecting recipients of mail from identity theft and unwanted solicitation; SB458 (1997-1998) to stop the Franchise Tax Board's practice of putting Social Security numbers on mailing labels used on the outside of tax form envelopes; and SB185 (1999-2000) which prohibited any business from listing a customer's marital status - "single or married woman" - as a part of a customer's mailing address on a billing statement, correspondence, or enclosing envelope. In the 1995-1996 session, Peace authored SB1659, creating the Joint Task Force on Personal Information and Privacy.
    Steve Peace's interest in local business also appeared throughout his entire tenure in the legislature. He authored many bills focusing on local businesses throughout his legislative term. These bills focused on protecting local business from international competition and on preventing the state government from undermining local businesses. Peace authored many bills regulating "grey markets" such as AB3363 in 1985-1986 session and AB124 in 1987-1988.

    Related Material at the California State Archives

    Assembly Committee on Banking, Finance, and Bonded Indebtedness
    Assembly Committee on Finance, Insurance, and Public Indebtedness
    Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review
    Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Communications
    Senate Committee on Privacy
    Joint Legislative Budget Committee

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Peace, Steve
    Public safety
    Workers' compensation