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Inventory of the Robert Presley Papers
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Series Descriptions

folder LP220:30-79, LP228:57-114, LP347:1-347

Series 1  Bill Files 1975-1994

Physical Description: 455 file folders


Arranged chronologically by legislative session and numerically by bill number.

Scope and Content Note

Bill files created by Robert Presley document legislation he authored while serving as a member of the State Senate. An average file may contain drafts of bills, analyses by committees and state agencies, comments by constituents or other interested parties, notes by Presley and his staff, relevant background reports or newspaper articles, correspondence in support of or opposed to legislation, veto messages, notices from the legislative counsel about related bills and other miscellaneous materials. Depending on the extent of the bill file, they help reveal the legislator's intent for the measure.
Among his significant initiatives was a package of ten bills that proposed to reform the California's Corrections policy in 1991. The bills sought to redistribute the power at California prisons. In a press release from February13, 1991 Presley stated, ". . . wardens have too much control and do not take enough direction from the Director to assure a standardized statewide operation." Therefore, he introduced SB346 and SB345, which attempted to put medical and educational decisions at prisons in the hands of professional physicians and educators. SB 343 proposed to require wardens to obtain a Master's Degree and deputy wardens a Bachelor's Degree in an appropriate field such as criminology or business administration. Other bills focused more on prisoners and their interactions with correctional officers. SB223 sought to extend Presley's SB1913 (Stats. 1988, ch. 1579) which permitted prison officials to demand a prisoner be tested for AIDS if there is a possibility either an officer or a fellow inmate may have contracted AIDS from that individual. Several bills proposed positive solutions to the state's overcrowded prisons problem. SB187, the Community Offender Re-Entry Act, would provide judges and parole and probation officers with more options than incarceration for the punishment of non-violent criminals. During his nineteen years as a Senator, Presley maintained one of the greatest percentages of getting bills passed. However, nearly all of the bills in this prison reform package failed to become law.
Presley was much more successful with other corrections legislation. He passed legislation to protect Peace Officers physically by allowing them to carry weapons while off-duty (SB1445, Stats. 1982, ch.1086) and protected them from retaliation by making their personal information confidential (SB241, Stats. 1984, ch. 399). Presley also focused on the Courts and in 1984 introduced SB365 (Stats. 1984, ch. 1311) to increase the number of Superior Court Judges in several counties, including Riverside, in order to decrease the 40-year case backlog. Presley continuously addressed the problem of overcrowded prisons in California and in 1982 he proposed and passed two bills to build new prisons in southern California and northern California (SB1574, ch. 1549; SB1609, ch.1548).
Presley regularly proposed unconventional solutions to society's chronic problems. One such example of this method was his idea to help society cope with domestic violence. Every two-year session Presley introduced a bill that would increase marriage license fees by about $5 to provide more funding for domestic abuse centers through out the state. For example, in 1982 he introduced and passed SB1330 (1982, chaptered 522), which increased the fees to $13 then the following session Presley's SB1364 (1984, chaptered 112) further increased the fees to $19. He continued this pattern for the duration of his legislative term. Presley's commitment to a cause he felt strongly about was characteristic of his political career.
1975-1976: SB203-SB2104; SCR38, SCR94; SJR11, SJR67 (16ff) LP220:30-45
1977-1978: SB56-SB2136; SCA20 (34ff) LP220:46-79
1979-1980: SB69-SB1982; SCA7, SCA17; SCR25, SCR52; SR25 (58ff) LP228:57-114
1981-1982: SB14-SB1988; SCR38, SCR39, SCR80; SJR36 (38ff) LP347:1-38
1983-1984: SB21-SB2278; SCA10; SCR48-85; SR43 (36ff) LP347:39-74
1985-1986: SB3-SB2562; SCR34-SCR56; SJR13, SJR28 (57ff) LP347:75-131
1987-1988: SB4-SB2868; SCR43-105; SJR15; SR39 (48ff) LP347:132-179
1989-1990: SB4-SB2882; SCR23-45; SJR65-74; SR62 (69ff) LP347:180-248
1991-1992: SB5-SB1958; SCA29; SCR39-83; SJR26, SJR55 (52ff) LP347:249-300
1993-1994: SB5-SB2056; SCA19; SCR52; SJR18-SJR26; SR29; SB13X-SB44X (47ff) LP347:301-347
folder LP347:348-389

Series 2  Subject Files 1973-1994

Physical Description: 42 file folders


Arranged alphabetically by subject heading.

Scope and Content Note

Subject files can contain newspaper clippings, press releases, correspondence, reports, notes, memorandums, and other materials. The subject files contain information gathered by Presley throughout his political career and demonstrate his wide array of political interests. Several files contain information concerning children and youth specifically the problems of runaway and missing children, and foster care. The subject files also provide more detail into Presley's environmental concerns such as toxic waste at the Stringfellow site in Riverside County and the Better Automotive Repair Program. Many files reflect Presley's involvement and commitment to the committees, which served as Chair. For example, Presley served as Chairman for Joint Prison committee's from 1984-1994 and the files he maintained on subjects such as prison construction and renovation, and improving the standards and hiring ethics of the Department of Corrections are well represented in the subject files.
A list of subject headings is available in Appendix A of the master finding aid at the California State Archives.
folder LP347:390-392

Series 3  Correspondence 1985-1990

Physical Description: 3 files folders


Arranged chronologically by date.

Scope and Content Note

The correspondence files include letters to Senator Presley from concerned constituents and in some cases his response to those constituents. Also included are letters to and from other public officials such as Governor George Deukmajian, Attorney General John Van de Kamp, fellow legislators, and local officials from his district. The series covers only the years 1985-1990, however, it shows Presley's strong commitment to respond to the concerns of his constituents both publicly and personally.
This correspondence series is distinct from the support and opposition letters found in the bill files. It includes support and opposition letters about bills that Presley did not author, but because he served as the Chair of several committees including the Senate Appropriations Committee, his vote was important. The majority of these support and opposition letters concern animal testing, gun control, and education funding and his responses explain his position on some of these issues. Also included are Presley's responses to invitations to events, congratulatory letters to constituents who were celebrating wedding anniversaries and graduations, as well as condolence letters to constituents who recently lost loved ones.