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Guide to the Gary K. Hart Collection
Mss 41  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Restrictions
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Gary K. Hart Collection
    Dates: 1970-1994
    Collection number: Mss 41
    Creator: Hart, Gary K.
    Collection size: 241 linear feet (258 boxes)
    Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Dept. of Special Collections
    Santa Barbara, CA 93106
    Abstract: Subject, bill, and general files, of a California state legislator representing the Santa Barbara area, first in the California State Assembly and then in the State Senate. Subjects such as children/youth/women/families, crime, education, employer/employee issues, energy, law, legislative/legislature concerns, medical/health issues, natural resources (land use, oil, and water), public assistance, taxes, and transportation are covered extensively.
    Shelf location: Boxes 1-257 at SRLF; Box 258 in SRLF Ready Area.
    Language: English.


    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], Gary K. Hart Collection, Mss 41, Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.


    Gary K. Hart was born in San Diego, California on August 13, 1943, while his father, a trained electrical engineer, was stationed in the South Pacific during WW II. His mother, Ruth Hart, was a homemaker. Hart spent his formative years living in the Los Angeles area, where he attended public schools in Santa Monica and Whittier. In 1959 his family moved to Santa Barbara, where he attended Santa Barbara High School. While at SBHS, Hart participated in student government-- he was elected student body president during his senior year, and was an All-CIF football player on the championship Santa Barbara High School Dons team. He received a football scholarship to attend Stanford University.
    At Stanford, Hart majored in history. He attended Stanford-in-Italy for six months during his sophomore year, worked as a Congressional intern in the nation's Capitol his junior year, and during his senior year was Chairman of the Stanford-in-Washington program which placed more than fifty Stanford students in summer internships in Washington, D.C. administrative and legislative offices.
    Upon graduation from Stanford in 1965, Hart left Santa Barbara to attend the Harvard School of Education, where he received a Master of Arts in Education the following year. He spent the summer of 1966 teaching in a black college in Tougaloo, Mississippi, under a Ford Foundation program, and participated in numerous freedom marches and other civil rights activities throughout Mississippi. Hart returned to Santa Barbara in the fall of 1966 to teach history at Santa Barbara High School. However, after one year of teaching, he moved to New York City where he worked with Allard Lowenstein in the national anti-Vietnam War effort, which eventually led to his involvement with the presidential campaign of Eugene McCarthy. After the November 1968 elections, Hart moved to Cuernavaca, Mexico to study Spanish and teach English. While in Mexico, Hart also worked with Ivan Illyich, a controversial former priest working for social change in Latin America.
    In the summer of 1969, Hart married Cary Smith from Princeton, New Jersey and moved back to Santa Barbara, where he returned to teach history at Laguna Blanca School in Hope Ranch. In the spring of 1970, he entered the local congressional race as a Democratic candidate, against long-term Republican Congressman, Charles Teague. Hart ran as an anti-war, grassroots reform candidate and easily won the Democratic primary. In the November general election he was defeated by Teague, although running a much stronger race than any other recent Democratic candidate against Teague.
    In 1972, Hart ran for the State Assembly and again easily won the Democratic primary. In the general election, however, he narrowly was defeated by then incumbent Republican W. Don MacGillivary. In 1973 he was appointed by then Speaker of the Assembly, Bob Moretti, to serve as one of the founding members of the California Coastal Commission (which had been created by voter initiative in the November 1972 election). Hart was a forceful advocate for coastal protection and environmental quality during his tenure on the Commission.
    In 1974, Hart again ran for the State Assembly and this time was successful, beating Santa Barbara Republican insurance executive, Tim Terry, in a close election. Elected in three subsequent terms by comfortable margins, he served from 1975 until 1982 in the State Assembly. His most notable legislative accomplishments were in the areas of education and environmental protection. In education, he authored major legislation concerning student and teacher testing, as well as important legislation revising California statutes concerning student suspensions and expulsions. On the environmental front, he was the principal co-author of major state bond measures for open space and park acquisitions, and authored California's landmark solar tax credit legislation, which quickly established California as the leading state promoting solar energy.
    In November of 1982, Hart defeated Ventura Assemblyman, Chuck Imbrecht, in a close election to become the State Senator representing portions of Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles counties. Hart was immediately named Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, a position he held for twelve years-one of the longest appointments in the history of the Senate. He authored many important education bills, including the major education reform and school finance measure of 1983 (SB 813), as well as legislation creating charter schools in California. He likewise was a leader in higher education, authoring more than $1 billion worth of capital outlay measures approved by the California electorate.
    Hart also authored an important endangered species bond measure, the first of its kind in state history, and consistently ranked at the top of state environmental organizations who rated the voting records of state legislators. Additionally, he was very active in legislation affecting women and authored a major child support reform law, as well as legislation expanding childcare in California for low and moderate-income families. A legislator known for honesty and diligence, he was repeatedly ranked by the non-partisan, The California Journal, as the Senator with the greatest integrity.
    In 1988, Hart challenged incumbent Republican Congressman, Robert Lagomarsino, for the 19th U.S. Congressional District seat. The race was one of the most expensive in the country, was closely followed by the national press, and resulted in many campaign appearances by prominent politicians including, among others, President Reagan, Vice-President Bush, Governor Clinton and Senator Gore. In the end, Lagomarsino prevailed in a close race receiving 52% of the vote to Hart's 48%. However, since the election occurred in the middle of Hart's Senate term, he had a "free ride" and was able to maintain his seat in the California Senate. Hart was re-elected to the Senate in 1990 and served until 1994. His twelve years of representation is the longest period anyone has served the people of Santa Barbara County as a member of the State Senate.
    In 1995, Hart was named by the California State University (CSU) Chancellor, Dr. Barry Munitz, to create and head Cal State's Institute for Education Reform, a policy center devoted to the examination of elementary and secondary education in California, focusing on charter schools, teacher education, and teacher recruitment issues. Following the 1998 election, incoming Governor Gray Davis appointed Hart to the state post of Secretary of Education.

    Scope and Content

    The Gary K. Hart Collection consists of files from his legislative offices, while he served first in the California State Assembly and then in the State Senate. The vast majority of the material is from the Santa Barbara office, with additional material from the Ventura office merged by Hart's staff, and separate files from the Sacramento office.


    Series I: Chronological Files (boxes 1-229) comprise the bulk of the collection and are arranged chronologically, usually by biennium, then by type of file, the most common of which are subject files, bill files, and general files.
    • Subject Files are arranged by an alpha-numeric code, such as A-1, which was used by Hart's staff. For the most part this resulted in a roughly alphabetical arrangement, with broad subject areas like education further divided into narrower topics. Subjects such as children/youth/women/families, crime, education, employer/employee issues, energy, law, legislative/legislature concerns, medical/health issues, natural resources (land use, oil, and water), public assistance, taxes, and transportation are covered extensively. The subject files contain a variety of material pertaining to any given topic, including background research and constituent correspondence.
    • Bill Files include groupings such as Author, Co-author, and Third Reading files, each arranged by type of bill and bill number. The following section on the California legislative process explains in further detail the meaning of some of these terms. Only bills that Gary Hart was closely involved with generally are represented in the collection. In some cases materials in the files for a given biennium may fall outside that time span, e.g. individual 1987-1988 files may contain some materials earlier or, occasionally, later than those dates. This is particularly the case when given issues received legislative attention over an extended period of time. Bill Files contain different printed versions of the bills, as well as related constituent correspondence.
    • General Files include remaining materials such as biographical information, files relating to various organizations, press releases and newsletters issued by Hart's office, and speeches given by Hart.
    Series II: Sacramento Office: Senate Committee on Education (boxes 230-247) primarily contains bill files, 1986-1994, school district files, and committee correspondence.
    Series III: Campaign Materials (boxes 248-250) include material on Hart's early state legislative races, his 1986 Governor's race, the 1988 Congressional race, and the 1994 State Superintendent of Public Instruction race.
    Series IV: Miscellany (boxes 251-254) includes personal correspondence, Sacramento seminars, speeches, and scrapbooks.
    Series V: Oversize (boxes 255-257) primarily consists of plaques and framed photographs.
    Series VI: Additions (box 258) includes files donated more recently by Hart. Additional material may be forthcoming.
    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.
    Hart, Gary K.
    Hart, Gary K. -- Correspondence.
    California. Legislature.
    Education -- California.
    Housing -- California.
    California -- Politics and government.

    Related Material

    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: