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California 2nd Amend. Political Discussion & Activism Discuss gun rights activism and 2A related political topics here. All advice given is NOT legal counsel.

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Old 03-11-2009, 11:23 AM
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Librarian Librarian is offline
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Default Beginner's Guide to Reading California Bills and Bill Pages

There's a good 'How a bill becomes law' article, but this thread is about the mechanics we can see when checking for current information.

Kept for historical interest, but the new bill pages are better, and discussed in post 8. See below.

I'll start with a brand new 2009 bill, AB357.

Understand it can take a couple of days for a Bill Page to be updated; at critical moments, we usually maintain an 'action thread' on a bill here at Calguns.

Clicking on that link shows this:
I want to search again.

Documents associated with AB 357 in the Session
	- 03/09/2009   1091 bytes
	- 03/09/2009   1066 bytes
Bill Text

Introduced	- 02/19/2009	HTML	- 14314 bytes
[For brevity, I'll trim off the references to .PDF files]

The Status link will have in it only the latest thing. Today, that shows

MEASURE	:  A.B. No. 357
AUTHOR(S)	:  Knight.
TOPIC	:  Firearms: license to carry concealed firearm.

                Majority Vote Required
                State-Mandated Local Program
                Non-Tax Levy

LAST HIST. ACT. DATE:  03/09/2009
LAST HIST. ACTION   :  Referred to Com. on  PUB. S.

TITLE	:  An act to amend Section 12050 of the Penal Code,
	relating to firearms.
Most of that is obvious.

At some point, the Authors line may include co-authors.

The House Location will change if this bill passes the vote of the full Assembly.

Committee Location tells us that this bill has been assigned to the Assembly Public Safety Committee. The Senate ALSO has a Public Safety Committee, so it's important to keep them straight.

The History link shows

BILL NUMBER  : A.B. No. 357
AUTHOR	: Knight
TOPIC	: Firearms: license to carry concealed firearm.

                Majority Vote Required
                State-Mandated Local Program
                Non-Tax Levy

Mar. 9	Referred to Com. on  PUB. S.
Feb. 20	From printer.  May be heard in committee  March  22.
Feb. 19	Read first time.  To print.
Note that the new information is at the top of the Bill History list.

Right now, the interesting line is "Feb. 20 From printer. May be heard in committee March 22". Assembly rules require a bill to be in print for 30 days before it can be acted on - hearings and votes are 'actions'.

The "March 22" thing is actually off; the ASM Pub S Committee meets on Tuesdays, so the first Tuesday 30 days after Feb 20 is March 24. That's the first date anything can happen 'of record'.

It is possible for an author to amend a bill within this 30 days, so what we see as introduced may not be what a committee sees at first consideration. Such an amended bill should also appear on this Bill Page.

Here's the bill text as introduced (snipped for length)

INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Knight

FEBRUARY 19, 2009

An act to amend Section 12050 of the Penal Code, relating to


AB 357, as introduced, Knight. Firearms: license to carry
concealed firearm.
Existing law authorizes the sheriff of a county, upon proof that
the person applying is of good moral character, that good cause
exists, and that the person applying satisfies any one of certain
conditions, as specified, to issue a license for the person to carry
a concealed handgun, as specified.
This bill would delete the good cause requirement, and require the
sheriff to issue the license if the other criteria described above
are met.
By imposing additional duties on local law enforcement agencies,
this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local
agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the
state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates
determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state,
reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these
statutory provisions.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: yes.


SECTION 1. Section 12050 of the Penal Code is amended to read:
12050. (a) (1) (A) The sheriff of a county, upon proof that the
person applying is of good moral character , that good cause
exists for the issuance,
and that the person applying
satisfies any one of the conditions specified in subparagraph (D) and
has completed a course of training as described in subparagraph (E),
may shall issue to that person a
license to carry a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of
being concealed upon the person in either one of the following
The Legislative Counsel's Digest is the summary of the bill prepared by someone not the author; it's meant to be a neutral statement.

There are three conventions in the typography.

When the bill is introduced, anything in 'normal' type is the law as it exists already; the point is to show how changes would fit into the existing text.

Where the text is reproduced in strikeout type, that text is in the law as it currently stands and would be deleted in this bill.
text that looks like this is something that is in the law but that the current version of the bill would eliminate or change
Where text is reproduced in italic type, that text is new, and would be added by the bill.
Italic text is NEW STUFF added to the law or added to the previous version of the law as printed in the bill
The tricky thing here is that once there are amendments, that strikeout/italic convention refers to the previous version of the bill. The first set of strikeout parts will be gone, the first set of italic will be normal text, and only the amended text will be in strikeout/italic form.

Now, look at a bill that has made it all the way through to be law - SB 23
I want to search again.

Documents associated with SB 23 in the Session
	- 07/19/1999   1879 bytes
	- 07/19/1999   3092 bytes
Bill Text

Chaptered	- 07/19/1999	HTML	- 101961 bytes	
Enrolled	- 07/12/1999	HTML	- 101860 bytes	
Amended	- 07/12/1999	HTML	- 102868 bytes	
Amended	- 07/08/1999	HTML	- 76148 bytes	
Amended	- 06/30/1999	HTML	- 77956 bytes	
Amended	- 04/06/1999	HTML	- 72813 bytes	
Amended	- 03/16/1999	HTML	- 82830 bytes	
Introduced	- 12/07/1998	HTML	- 60019 bytes	
Senate Floor	- 05/08/2000 - 33598 bytes
Senate Floor	- 05/02/2000 - 33598 bytes
Senate Floor	- 05/02/2000 - 33597 bytes
Senate Floor	- 05/02/2000 - 34478 bytes
Assembly Committee	- 04/11/2000 - 13127 bytes
Assembly Committee	- 04/11/2000 - 8523 bytes
Senate Floor	- 07/19/1999 - 28354 bytes
Senate Floor	- 07/12/1999 - 27458 bytes
Assembly Floor	- 07/12/1999 - 9394 bytes
Senate Floor	- 07/12/1999 - 25139 bytes
Assembly Committee	- 07/02/1999 - 21947 bytes
Senate Committee	- 06/04/1999 - 7788 bytes
Senate Floor	- 05/29/1999 - 24066 bytes
Senate Committee	- 05/11/1999 - 7868 bytes
Senate Committee	- 03/23/1999 - 42137 bytes
Senate Floor	- 07/12/1999 - 1162 bytes
Assembly Floor	- 07/12/1999 - 1515 bytes
Assembly Floor	- 07/12/1999 - 1482 bytes
Assembly Committee	- 07/12/1999 - 1006 bytes
Assembly Committee	- 07/06/1999 - 901 bytes
Senate Floor	- 06/01/1999 - 1152 bytes
Senate Committee	- 05/27/1999 - 935 bytes
Senate Committee	- 05/10/1999 - 966 bytes
Senate Committee	- 03/23/1999 - 944 bytes
This bill page has sections for Analyses of the bill, prepared for each version/amendment. Those can be entertaining.

It has a section for Votes, in committee and for the whole House.

And it has two major status lines:
Enrolled means it passed both houses of the Legislature and was sent to the Governor.

Chaptered means the Governor signed it (or it went into effect without his signature), and it's law as of the effective date of the bill or the following January 1, if no 'urgency' specified a date.
[Carol Ann voice]The Legislature is baaa-ack .... [/Carol Ann voice]

There is no value at all complaining or analyzing or reading tea leaves to decide what these bills really mean or actually do; any bill with a chance to pass will be bad for gun owners.

The details only count after the Governor signs the bills.

Not a lawyer, just Some Guy On The Interwebs.

Last edited by Librarian; 02-21-2017 at 10:47 PM..

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