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Preliminary Guide to the Omer L. Rains Papers
Mss 102  
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Collections

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Omer L. Rains Papers
    Dates: 1973-1982
    Collection number: Mss 102
    Creator: Rains, Omer L.
    Collection size: 35 linear ft. (31 boxes)
    Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Dept. of Special Collections
    Santa Barbara, CA 93106
    Abstract: Bill files, committee files, legislation, campaign and election files, press releases, speech files, subject files, and binders with biographical information pertaining to Rains, a California legislator (State Senate), 18th Senatorial District (Santa Barbara/Ventura). Includes files on abortion, alcoholism, drugs, marijuana, Medi-Cal, Medi-Care, medical malpractice, and smoking.
    Location: SRLF (Boxes 1-30); Del Sur (Box 31).
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Donated by Omer L. Rains, 1989


    BULK OF COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.

    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

    [Identification of item], Omer L. Rains Papers, Mss 102, Department of Special Collections, University Libraries, University of California, Santa Barbara.


    [Much of the following biographical information is drawn from Oral History Interview with Omer L. Rains: California State Senator, 1974-1982 (Sacramento, California: California State Archives, State Government Oral History Program, 1990)].
    Senator Omer L. Rains (OLR) was born in the state of Missouri on September 25, 1941. His father had played professional baseball with the San Francisco Seals in the late twenties and early thirties. Following World War II, he relocated his family to Bakersfield, California where he worked as a salesman. Rains attended elementary school and high school in Bakersfield. In 1959 he received his B.A. from the University of California where he majored in political science. He earned his law degree at Boalt Hall, the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in 1966. During his time in law school Rains began his interest in the areas of political ethics and civil rights. These would remain focal points throughout his career. He was active in the California Democratic Council, the strongest grass roots Democratic organization in the country in the late fifties. Rains was also involved in the civil rights movement during the early sixties, travelling to the South on several occasions. In 1960 he participated in voter registration efforts on behalf of John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign.
    Rains began his own political career with the Ventura County District Attorney's office in 1966. In 1969 he entered private practice and subsequently chaired the Ventura County Bar Association Ethics Commission and the Ventura Planning Commission. Rains has attributed his service in the former organization to his earlier interest in ethics and to a sense of inequity that he perceived within the system of American jurisprudence. Rains was involved in a wide array of community activities centered in Ventura. He estimates that he served on fifteen different city, regional, or state commissions or committees, of which he chaired twelve. In 1974 he entered electoral politics. Following the reapportionment mandated by the California Supreme Court in 1974, Rains was elected to the California State Senate in a special election held on July 2 of that year. This election was necessary to fill a vacancy in what eventually was to become the Eighteenth District. Due in part to the district reapportionment, Rains faced four separate elections that year. He was elected to a full four-year term in November to represent the newly constituted senatorial district. He served there from 1974 to 1982.
    During his career in the Senate, Rains served on numerous committees. These involved the areas of education, finance, nuclear waste disposal, property tax legislation, and social and welfare issues. He headed the Consumer Fraud Unit and chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee. Other legislative committees on which he served included: chairman, Senate Committee on Elections and Reapportionment; chairman, Senate Subcommittee on Political reform; chairman, Joint Committee on Legal Equality; vice chairman, Joint Committee on Revision of the Elections Code.
    Following an unsuccessful attempt to win the Democratic nomination for the office of California Attorney General in 1982, Rains left politics. He returned to his private legal practice where he has specialized in international law and finance.

    Scope and Content

    Papers of a California state senator whose district included the Santa Barbara and Ventura areas of California. The collection has been partially processed and is arranged to the box level for some series, and to the folder level for other series, especially those pertaining to OLR's legislation.

    Series Description

    Series I: Bill Files. Includes copies of bills, as well as related research material and correspondence. Arranged by year, then by bill number; related material also in Legislation series.
    Series II: Committee Files. Includes subcommittees and joint committees on which OLR was chair or played a key role. Arranged alphabetically.
    Series III: Legislation. Formerly placed in binders, includes copies of bills, press releases, and committee notes from Senate Democratic Caucus, for bills introduced by Rains. Arranged by year and bill number. Related material in Bill Files.
    Series IV: Political. Includes material on campaigns for State Senate, 1974 and 1978, and Attorney General, 1982, as well as files relating to the Carter Presidential campaigns, 1976, 1980, and the Democratic Party, 1974-1980.
    Series V: Press Releases. Arranged chronologically, 1974-1982.
    Series VI: Speech Files. Arranged alphabetically by topic, in binders, with a table of contents at the front of each binder. Major topics include crime, education, environment, and judicial concerns.
    Series VII: Subject Files. Includes extensive material on criminal justice/judiciary, drugs, environment, health and social problems, labor/industry, law enforcement, political reform, Santa Barbara County, transportation/motor vehicles, and Ventura County. Arranged alphabetically. Some folders have alpha-numeric designations, e.g. G8, apparently reflecting a previous office filing system.
    California Legislative Process
    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)
    • AB = Bill presented to the legislature for consideration from the Assembly
    • SB = Bill presented to the legislature for consideration from the Senate
    • ACA = Assembly Constitutional Amendment
    • SCA = Senate Constitutional Amendment
    • AJR = Assembly Joint Rules
    • SJR = Senate Joint Rules
    • ACR = Assembly Concurrent Resolution
    • SCR = Senate Concurrent Resolution
    • HR = House (Assembly) Resolution
    • SR = Senate Resolution

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Rains, Omer L.
    California. Legislature.
    Public welfare -- California.
    Education -- California.
    Legal ethics -- California.

    Related Collections

    Further information on California government and education also can be found on the Internet. Some relevant sites, as of the date of this guide, are: