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In the state of California, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the State Assembly and the State Senate.
The Assembly is the lower house of the two, which mostly just means there are more members in the Assembly than the Senate. There are 80 California Assemblymembers. There’s a Speaker, just like in Congress, who is elected by the Assembly to lead the body through their lawmaking activities. And they have Majority and Minority leaders as well.
To put it simply, the State Assembly and the State Senate oversee all our state laws and our state budget.
They have committees on anything you can name from healthcare to the arts to insurance to wildlife. They write and pass laws. The governor signs them or vetoes them…which he does quite a lot actually.
Both houses have a long list of committees and they have some “joint committees” like the one on Climate Change Policies.
Bills can originate in either house. Bills go to their relevant committees and once passed, they go to the Assembly floor for a vote. If a bill passes the Assembly, it goes to the Senate for what’s called concurrence (meaning a second approval vote). Bills coming out of the Assembly start with AB.
Some of the key issues coming before the State Assembly and State Senate include:
Assemblymembers serve 2 year terms. The Assembly is a favorite political resume builder as a lot of people aren’t exactly sure what they do up there in Sacramento. As a result, many of our city and county representatives have gone back and forth between local offices and the state legislature.