California Legislative Process Glossary of Terms

Provided by CA Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (CA ANHE)
August 2021

Edited from Clerk of Assembly
Complete list at:  Glossary of Terms |


Across the Desk
The official act of introducing a bill or resolution. The measure is given to the Chief Clerk or his or her representative at the Assembly Desk in the Assembly Chambers or to the Secretary of the Senate or his or her representative in the Senate Chambers. It then receives a number and becomes a public document available from the bill room or online. Reports of Committee action and Amendments are also “put across the desk.”

A bill passed by the Legislature and approved by the Governor.

Disposition of any question before the Legislature.

Termination of a meeting; occurring at the close of each legislative day upon the completion of business, accomplished by a successful motion to end session; with the hour and day of the next meeting being set prior to adjournment.

Adjournment Sine Die
Adjournment “without day” Meaning no days left; final termination of regular or special sessions of the Legislature are adjourned sine die at midnight on November 30 of each even-numbered year.

Approval or acceptance of motions, amendments and/or resolutions.

An alteration made, or proposed to be made, in a bill, motion, resolution or clause, by adding, changing, substituting, or omitting/striking language. Amendments must be submitted to Legislative Counsel for drafting. Amendments must be offered before a hearing and presented in writing to the voting body before or during the hearing.

Analysis of the Budget Bill
The Legislative Analyst’s (LAO) comprehensive examination of the Governor’s Budget available to the legislators and the public about six weeks after the Budget is submitted to the Legislature. (See Budget Change Proposal.)

Division of the State into districts from which representatives are elected. This happens every ten years after the census is taken. Legislative (Assembly and Senate) and Congressional (Representatives) districts are redrawn based on population shifts during the previous decade. “Communities” are supposed to be kept together and topography is taken into consideration.

The amount of money set aside for a specific purpose and designated from a specific source, such as the General Fund, Environmental License Plate Fund, etc.

Approved by the Governor
The signature of the Governor on a bill passed by the Legislature.

The “lower” House of the California Legislature consisting of 80 Members, elected from districts apportioned every 10 years on the basis of population.

Member of the Legislature who introduces a legislative measure.


Legislature consisting of two Houses. In California it is the Senate and the Assembly. In the U.S. Congress it is the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives

A draft of a proposed law introduced by a Member of the Legislature. (Assembly Bill 401=AB 4000, Senate Bill 1=SB 1.) Bills maintain their house of origin number after passing the first house and moving to the second house.

Bill Analysis
A brief summary of the purpose, content and effect of a proposed measure or amendment for committee and Floor proceedings. Written by the Committee Staff, analysis are confined by how the bill should be considered in the context of the Committee’s jurisdiction. e.g. a bill regarding local monitoring of water for safety would be assigned to two committees – e.g. natural resources and local Government committees. The first analysis will consider water statewide and the second analysis will consider the impact on local governments of requiring monitoring.

Bill Digest
The legal synopsis of a measure prepared by Legislative Counsel. This appears at the beginning of the bill text.

Blue Pencil
The California Constitution grants the Governor “line-item veto” authority to reduce or eliminate any item of appropriation from any bill including the Budget Bill. (In the 1960’s, the Governor actually used an editor’s blue pencil for the task).

Bond Bill (General Obligation Bonds)
A bill authorizing the sale of State general obligation bonds to finance specified projects or activities; the measure subsequently must be approved by the voters.

Suggested allocation of State moneys presented annually by the Governor, for consideration by the Legislature; compiled by the Department of Finance, in conjunction with State department heads. The budget is revised in the month of May called the “May revise.”

Budget Act
The Budget Bill after it has been signed into law by the Governor.

Budget Bill
The spending proposal for the next fiscal year by the Department of Finance and submitted to the Legislature by the Governor.
Budget Year
The fiscal year that begins July 1 and concludes on June 30 of the following year.


California Code of Regulations
The official compilation of regulations legally adopted by State agencies and filed with the Secretary of State. It is the recognized source of California administrative law.

Call the Absentees
Order by the presiding officer directing the reading clerk to read the names of Members who have not responded to a roll call.

Casting Vote
The deciding vote the Lieutenant Governor may cast in the case of a tie vote in the Senate. (See Lieutenant Governor.)

(1) A closed meeting of legislators of one’s own party. (e.g., Democratic Caucus, Republican Caucus.) (2) A group of legislators who coalesce formally because of their interest in specific issues. (e.g., Rural Caucus, Women’s Caucus, Latino Caucus, Black Caucus, etc.)

Caucus Chair
A Member that is selected and required to perform the duties prescribed by their respective party caucuses.

Caucus Secretary
An officer of the party caucus whose duties are prescribed by the caucus.

A designation of the current presiding officer.

Where floor sessions are held. The Assembly chamber is decorated with a green motif and rug to symbolize representation of the British House of Commons for the common “man” and the Senate chamber decorated in Red for the British House of Lords or “royalty.”

After a bill has been signed by the Governor, the Secretary of State assigns the bill a “Chapter Number” such as “Chapter 123, Statutes of 1998,” which subsequently may be used to refer to the measure.

Any Member of either House, with the agreement of the author of a bill, may add his or her name on that Member’s bill as a coauthor, usually indicating support for the proposed legislation.

Committee Amendments
Amendments proposed by a Committee or a Committee Member in a Committee Hearing. Adopted by roll call vote of the Committee. May or may not be hostile. Hostile amendments are amendments proposed by another Member or committee that are not supported by the bill’s author.

Committee Chair
A Member that is selected by the Speaker of the Assembly or the President Pro Tem of the Senate to preside over the proceedings and actions of a specific committee.

Committee of the Whole
The entire Assembly or Senate sitting as a committee to consider any matter properly presented to it.

Companion Bill
An identical bill introduced in the other House. This procedure is far more common in Congress than in the California Legislature.

Approval by the House of origin to changes made to one of its bills while it was in the other House. (e.g., Assembly approval of Senate amendments.) If the author is unwilling to move the bill as amended by the others, the author requests “non concurrence” in the bill and asks for formation of a conference committee. Concurrence votes are assigned to the “unfinished business” of the House of Origin.

Concurrent Resolution
A measure that can be introduced in either House but must be approved by both Houses and filed with the Secretary of State to take effect. The Governor’s signature is not required. These measures usually involve the business of the Legislature. (e.g., adoption of the Joint Rules.)

Officially designated members of a conference committee.

Conference Committee
A joint committee composed of six legislators, three from each House, who meet in public session to reconcile differences in the Assembly and Senate versions of a measure. Three Assembly conferees are chosen by the Speaker and three conferees are chosen by the Senate Rules Committee.

Conference Report
Amendments agreed upon by a majority of the Conference Committee. Two Members from each House must agree on the conference report in order for the report to be considered by the Houses. (See Conference Committee).

The process of approving gubernatorial appointments to executive departments and many boards and commissions by the Senate Rules Committee affirmed by both houses.

Consent Calendar
A group of noncontroversial bills passed by a committee to another committee or the full Assembly or Senate. Bills may be placed upon the Consent Calendar if they are reported to the Floor with that recommendation and (1) have received no “no” votes in committee, (2) had no opposition expressed by any person present at the hearing, (3) are not a tax levy and (4) have not had the 30-day in print rule waived.

A person who resides within the district of a legislator.

Constitutional Amendment
A resolution changing the language of the State Constitution. It may be presented in bill form, by the Legislature or by initiative, which require the populace to vote.

A committee professional staff person. Committees have staff to prepare analyses on each bill. Information/comments need to get to Committee staff well before the hearing because it takes time to prepare analyses (the deadline varies from committee to committee)

To assemble a meeting. The Legislature generally convenes twice a week.

Current Fiscal Year
The current state fiscal year that begins on July 1 and ends the following June 30.


Daily File
The official document published by each House, showing bills eligible for floor action that day; it also includes a schedule of committee hearings and Officers and Committees of the House.

Daily History
Produced by the Assembly and Senate respectively the day after each House has met. The History lists specific actions taken on legislation. Each measure acted upon in that House the previous day is listed in numerical order.

Daily Journal
A publication that is produced by each House for each legislative day that contains the official record of the Floor Session, vote information, motions, parliamentary inquiries, and letters of legislative intent.

The dates by which bills must be introduced, heard, and enacted. Established by the Constitution, and by Joint, Assembly, and Senate Rules. Delegated Authority Power granted by the Legislature to a State agency to implement and/or enforce a statute, including the power to adopt regulations.

The desk at the front of the chamber where much of the clerical work of the body is conducted. Also, a generic term for the staff and offices of the Chief Clerk of the Assembly and the Secretary of the Senate.

Desk is Clear
A statement by the presiding officer, prior to a motion to adjourn, meaning there is no further business.

Prepared by the Legislative Counsel, it summarizes the effect of the proposed bill on current law. (See Bill Digest and Legislative Counsel’s Digest.)

The area of the State represented by a legislator. Each district is determined by population and is known by a number. There are 40 Senate districts and 80 Assembly districts. District lines are redrawn after the census every 10 years.

District Bill
Legislation introduced specifically on behalf of a legislator’s district, generally affecting only that district.

Do Pass
An affirmative recommendation made by a committee; moves a bill to the Floor or to the next committee, as specified, without amendment.

Do Pass as Amended
An affirmative recommendation made by a committee which moves a bill to the Floor or the next committee, as specified, providing the language of the bill is changed as specified.

Double Referred
Legislation referred by the Rules Committee to two policy committees for hearing. Both committees must approve the measure to keep it moving in the process. This is typically used for issue areas that overlap the jurisdiction of more than one policy committee.

Author has decided not to pursue the passage of the bill.


Effective Date
As specified by the Constitution, the date when a law takes effect. (Usually, January 1st of the following year unless the bill is an urgency measure, or another date is specified in the bill.)

Enacted into Law
(See Enactment)

Enacting Clause
The phrase at the beginning of each bill which says, “The people of the State of California do enact as follows:”.

Enactment Date
The date the Governor signs the bill.

Enactment or Enacted into Law
The act of passing legislation involves both Houses of the Legislature. A bill moves through the legislative process and if agreed upon by both houses, is sent to the Governor. If the Governor signs the bill or allows it to become law without his signature, it is enacted into law.

Enrolled Bill
Whenever a bill passes both Houses of the Legislature, it is ordered enrolled. Upon enrollment, the bill is again proofread for accuracy and then delivered to the Governor. The “enrolled bill” contains the complete text of the bill with the dates of passage certified by the Chief Clerk of the Assembly and the Secretary of the Senate.

When bills are filed with the Governor and resolutions are filed with the Secretary of State once they have been accepted by both Houses.

Ex Officio
(Literally: out of or because of one’s office.) The act of holding one office by reason of holding another. For example, the Lieutenant Governor is an ex officio, a member of the University of California Board of Regents.

Executive Session
A committee meeting restricted to only committee members and specifically invited guests.embers and specifically invited guests.


The agenda for the business of the House. It is printed daily. (See Daily File.)

File Notice
The announcement which must appear in the Daily File four days prior to consideration of a bill or constitutional amendment by the committee of first reference. The second committee of reference, usually a fiscal committee, requires only a two-day notice. The File notice requirement may be waived by permission of the House.

File Number
The number assigned to a measure in the Assembly or Senate Daily File. The File number changes each day as bills move on or off the Daily File. These include measures on Second and Third Reading and Unfinished Business. Legislation is taken up on the Assembly or Senate Floor in chronological order according to File number. Items considered on the Floor are frequently referred to by File number.

Final History
The publication printed at the end of every session showing the final disposition of all measures.

First Reading
The initial introduction of a bill. The clerk assigns it a number and reads its title and sends the bill to be printed. The bill is then referred by the Rules Committee to a standing committee for a future hearing.

Fiscal Bill
Any measure that contains an appropriation of funds or requires a State agency to spend money for any purpose or results in a substantial loss of revenue to the State. The Legislative Counsel determines which bills are fiscal bills, pursuant to Joint Rule 10.5. The designation appears at the end of the Legislative Counsel’s Digest. Fiscal bills must be heard by the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees in addition to the appropriate policy committees in each House.

Fiscal Committee
The committees in each house that consider appropriations: Appropriations and Budget Committees. All fiscal bills are referred to a fiscal committee. The budget bill is only referred to the Budget Committee. Most other fiscal bills are heard by the Appropriations Committee if they have been approved by policy committees. If the fiscal committee approves a bill, it usually then moves to the Floor.

Fiscal Deadline
The date on the legislative calendar by which all bills with fiscal implications must have been taken up and reported out of a fiscal committee. Any fiscal bill missing the deadline is considered “dead” unless it receives a rule waiver allowing further consideration.

Fiscal Year
The 12-month period on which the Budget is planned. The State fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30 of the following year. The federal fiscal year begins October 1 and ends September 30 of the following year. (See current Fiscal Year.)

(1) That portion of the Assembly or Senate Chamber reserved for Members and officers the Assembly or Senate and other persons granted the privilege of the Floor. (2) The term used to describe the location of a bill or the type of session, connoting action to be taken by the House. Matters may be said to be “on the Floor.”

Four-Day File Notice
Officially known as Joint Rule 62(a), the requirement that all bills for the first committee of reference be noticed in the Daily File for four days prior to committee hearings where they will be considered. The second or subsequent committees of reference only require a notice of two days.


The balconies of the chambers from which visitors may view proceedings of the Legislature.

Referring to whether an amendment is relevant to the subject matter already being considered in a bill. The Legislative Counsel may opine on germaneness, but the determination of germaneness is decided by the presiding officer, subject to an appeal by the membership.

Governor’s Budget
Spending plan for the State presented annually by the Governor in January, for consideration by the Legislature; compiled by the Department of Finance, in conjunction with State department heads. (See Budget, Budget Bill, and Budget Change Proposal.) It is revised in May based on economic forecast and is called “the May Revise.”

Specific situations that are allowed to continue while a law would make changes henceforth.

Gut and Amend
When amendments to a bill remove the current contents in their entirety and replace the contents with different provisions.


A committee meeting convened for the purpose of gathering information on a specific subject or considering specific legislative measures.

Held in Committee
A bill fails to get sufficient votes to pass out of committee.

An action to delete the contents of a bill and insert entirely new provisions. May occur with or without the author’s permission.

A publication that gives a comprehensive list of all actions taken on every bill. It is published in volumes, daily and weekly, by each House.

Refers to a bill presented for formal introduction and first reading. It comes from a term to put thing into the hopper and make ready.

Refers to either the Senate or the Assembly in California.


A method of legislating that requires a vote of the people instead of a vote of the Legislature for a measure to become law. To qualify for a statewide ballot, statutory initiatives must receive signatures of voters equal to 5 percent of the votes cast for all candidates for Governor at the last gubernatorial election and constitutional amendment initiatives must receive signatures equal to 8 percent.

The period of time between the end of the legislative year and the beginning of the next legislative year. The legislative year ends on August 31 in even-numbered years and in mid-September in odd-numbered years.

Interim Study
The assignment of the subject matter of a bill to the appropriate committee for study during the period the Legislature is not in session.


Joint Committee
A committee composed of equal numbers of Assembly Members and Senators.

Joint Resolution
A resolution expressing an opinion about an issue pertaining to the federal government; forwarded to Congress for its information. Joint Resolutions require the approval of both the Assembly and Senate but do not require the signature of the Governor to take effect.

Joint Session
The Assembly and Senate meeting together, usually in the Assembly chambers. The purpose is to receive special information such as the Governor’s State of the State Address.

The official chronological record of the proceedings in each House. The Journal is the minutes of the meeting printed daily. At the end of session, the Journals are certified, indexed and bound. (See Daily Journal.)


The rules of conduct determined by the people through their elected representatives or by direct vote.

Lay on the Table
A motion to set aside a matter (e.g., amendments) before the House, which may not be taken up again during Floor Session. The motion is not debatable. (See Table.)

Legislative Advocate
A person engaged to present views of a group or organization to legislators, commonly called lobbyists. (See Lobbyist and Third House.)

Legislative Analyst
Staff Director of the Joint Budget Committee. The Legislative Analyst provides thorough, nonpartisan analyses on the fiscal impact of Governor’s Budget.

Legislative Counsel
The attorney for the Legislature, elected jointly by both Houses. The Legislative Counsel and his or her legal staff are responsible for drafting all bills and amendments, preparing a digest (summary) of each bill, providing legal opinions, and generally representing the Legislature in legal proceedings.

Legislative Counsel’s Digest
The digest is a brief summary of the changes the proposed bill would make to current law. The digest is found in the beginning of each bill (see Bill Digest).

Lieutenant Governor
The President of the Senate; designated by the State Constitution allowing him or her to preside over the Senate and cast a vote only in the event of a tie. If the Governor cannot assume his or her duties or is absent from the State, the Lieutenant Governor assumes the role of the Executive for the remainder of the term or during the absence.

Line-Item Veto
(See Blue Pencil).

An individual who seeks to influence the outcome of legislation or administrative decisions. The law requires formal registration as a lobbyist if an individual is paid $2,000 or more in any calendar month or spends one-third or more compensated time in any calendar month, engaging in activities to influence the outcome of legislation or administrative decision. (See Legislative Advocate and Third House.)

Lower House
The Assembly.


Majority Leader
In the Assembly, an officer of the Assembly appointed by the Speaker. Represents the Speaker on the Floor, expedites Assembly Floor proceedings through parliamentary procedures such as motions and points of order. Works directly with the majority party’s leadership team, and the Republican Leader, to promote harmony among the membership. In the Senate, the “number two” issues and political strategist for the Senate’s majority party, second in command to the Senate President pro Tempore and elected by the members of the Senate’s majority party.

Majority of those Present and Voting
A vote threshold that is determined by the number of Members voting at that time. For example, if 40 Members are voting on the adoption of amendments, a minimum of 21 “aye” votes would be necessary to adopt the amendments.

Majority Vote
A vote of more than half of the legislative body considering a measure. The full Assembly requires a majority vote of 41 and the full Senate requires 21, based on their memberships of 80 and 40 respectively.

Majority Whip
One of the Members of the majority party’s leadership team in the Assembly or Senate who is responsible for monitoring legislation and securing votes for legislation on the Floor.

May Revision (REVISE)
The updated estimate of revenues and expenditures, submitted by the Governor no later than May 14; replaces the estimates contained in the Governor’s Budget submitted in January.

Any bill, resolution, or constitutional amendment that is acted upon by the Legislature.

Minority Floor Leader
Elected by the caucus having the second largest membership in the Senate. Generally responsible for making motions, points of order, and representing the minority caucus on the Floor.

Minority Whip
One of the Members of the minority party’s leadership team in the Assembly or Senate who is responsible for monitoring legislation and securing votes for legislation on the Floor.

An accurate record of the proceedings. (See Journal and Daily Journal.)

A formal request for action made by a legislator during a committee hearing or Floor Session.

Motion to Reconsider
A parliamentary procedure which, if adopted, places the question in the same status it had prior to the question.

Move a Call
A parliamentary procedure that delays the announcement of the vote on a measure. This action gives a Member additional time to gain more support for his or her bill, or to build opposition. All calls must be “lifted” before the House adjourns that day. (See On Call.)

Move the Previous Question
A motion made to end debate on a measure.


Nonfiscal Bill
A measure having no financial impact on the State and, therefore, not required to be heard in an Assembly or Senate fiscal committee as it moves through the legislative process. Nonfiscal bills are subject to somewhat different legislative calendar deadlines than fiscal bills.


On Call
A roll call vote in a committee or an Assembly or Senate Floor Session before it has been concluded and, therefore, has not been formally announced. Members may continue to vote or change their votes as long as a measure remains “on call.” Calls are usually placed at the request of a bill’s author in an effort to gain votes. Calls can be lifted by request anytime during the committee hearing or Floor Session but cannot be carried over into the next legislative day. (See Move A Call.)

On File
A bill on the Second or Third Reading File of the Assembly or Senate Daily File.

On the Floor
The Assembly or Senate Chambers where legislation is considered by the full Assembly or Senate.

An effort to reverse a Governor’s veto by a vote of two-thirds of the Members of each House. A successful override requires 54 votes in the Assembly and 27 votes in the Senate.


Pass and Retain
If a Member wishes to wait an additional day before taking up a bill, the Member may ask the House for unanimous consent to pass and retain his or her bill on File until the next legislative day without penalty.

Pass Temporarily
A measure temporarily skipped on the agenda. If the bill’s author does not take up the measure by the end of the day, it may be passed on File or passed and retained, keeping its place on the File by unanimous consent.

Favorable action on a measure before either House.

Per Diem
Literally means “per day.” It is the daily expense money rendered to legislators to help defray additional living expenses, such as maintaining a second residence, incurred as a result of holding office. The Members per diem rate is established by the State Board of Control.

A formal request submitted to the Legislature by an individual or group of individuals.

Point of Personal Privilege
Statement by a Member that his or her character or purposes have been impugned and his or her repudiation of the alleged charges.

Policy Committees
Certain Standing Committees are Policy Committees, which hear and make recommendations to the Assembly on legislation. Legislation is referred to Policy Committees by the Assembly Rules Committee; following consideration and vote by the Policy Committee, legislation moves to the next step in the legislative process. By their vote, Committees recommend to the full Assembly passage of a bill, passage of a bill with amendments, re-refer a bill to another committee, or to hold the bill without recommendation.

Motion to delay action on matters before the House.

Preprint Bill
A bill introduced for the purpose of studying an issue, usually during the interim. A preprint bill is never voted on. However, based on the findings of the study, a Member may introduce an official bill.

President of the Senate
The State Constitution designates the Lieutenant Governor as President of the Senate, allowing him or her to preside over the Senate and cast a vote only in the event of a 20-20 tie.

President pro Tempore of the Senate
(Literally: for the time) Highest ranking leader and most powerful Member of the Senate; also chairs the Senate Rules Committee. Elected by all Senators at the beginning of each two-year session.

The act of managing the proceedings during Floor Session.

Presiding Officer
The Member who presides over a legislative Floor Session. In the Assembly, the presiding officer can be the Speaker, Speaker pro Tempore or any other Assembly Member appointed by the Speaker. In the Senate, the presiding officer can be the President, President pro Tempore, or any other Senator appointed by the President pro Tempore.

Previous Question
If a Member seeks to cut off all further debate on a measure, he or she can call the previous question and force the body to vote immediately on the issue.

Principal Coauthor
A legislator singled out to share credit along with the author of a bill or resolution.

Put Over
An action delayed on a legislative measure until a future date without jeopardy to the measure.


The minimum number of legislators needed to begin conducting official business in committee or on the Floor. A quorum is one more than half of the entire body. The absence of a quorum is grounds for immediate adjournment of a committee hearing or Floor Session.

Quorum Call
Transmitting the message that Members are needed to establish a quorum so proceedings can begin.


Presentation of a bill before the House by reading its title. The Constitution requires a bill’s title be read three times in each House prior to its passage. A bill is either in First, Second, or Third Reading until it is passed by both Houses (see Title).

Redistricting the State for election; completed every ten years following the national census.

(1) An official pause of any length in a committee hearing or Floor Session that halts the proceedings for a period of time but does not have the finality of adjournment. (2) A break of more than four days in the regular session schedule such as the “Spring recess,” etc.

A motion that, if carried, allows a measure that failed to be heard again in committee or on the Floor.

The method, used by members of the public, by which a measure adopted by the Legislature may be submitted to the electorate for a vote. A referendum petition must be signed by electors equal in number to 5 percent of the vote for all candidates for Governor at the last gubernatorial election.

Bill referrals are made by the Assembly and Senate Rules Committees to standing committees of their respective Houses.

A rule made by a state agency to carry out a legislative or administrative mandate. A legally adopted regulation has the force of law (see Administrative Procedure Act).

Republican Leader
Elected by the Republican Caucus of the Assembly. Generally responsible for making motions, points of order, and representing the minority caucus on the Floor.

Revocation of previous actions.

(1) An opinion expressed by one or both Houses which does not have the force of law. Concurrent and joint resolutions are voted on by both Houses but do not require the Governor’s signature. (2) A statement recognizing the achievements of a person or organization. Drafted by Legislative Counsel; it may be referred to as a Member’s Resolution.

Roll Call
A vote of a committee or the full Assembly or Senate indicating the vote of each Member present and voting (as opposed to a “voice vote”). Committee roll calls are conducted by the committee secretary who calls each Member’s name in alphabetical order with the Chair’s name either first or last. Assembly Floor roll calls are conducted electronically with each Member pushing a button from his or her assigned seat. The green button designates “aye” and the red button designates “no.” Senate roll calls are conducted by the Reading Clerk who reads each Senator’s name in alphabetical order and the Senator voices his or her vote.

Rule Making
The exercise of power granted by the Legislature to a State agency to adopt regulations to implement, interpret, or make specific the law enforced or administered by it, or to govern its procedure.


Second Reading
Each bill introduced must be read three times before final passage. This is the first order of business on the Daily File. The House approves or denies committee recommendations at this stage. This is usually accomplished without debate or vote.

Second Reading File
The portion of the Daily File that lists measures that has been reported out of committee. Measures which will be going to the Floor for consideration will stay on the Second Reading File for one day (without amendments) or two days (with amendments) before moving to the Third Reading portion of the File.

Secretary of the Senate
Principal parliamentarian and record keeper for the Senate, elected by Senators at the beginning of each two-year session. The Senate Secretary and his or her staff are responsible for publishing the Senate daily and weekly publications.

A portion of the California Codes. The text of these sections are set forth in bills and proposed to be amended, repealed, or added.

Select Committees
A Select Committee is a subcommittee of the Assembly General Research Committee. Select Committees may hold informational hearings, request information, issue reports, and otherwise serve as resources to the Assembly. They do not hear or make recommendations on legislation.

The upper House of the California Legislature consisting of 40 Members elected from districts apportioned on the basis of population, one-half of who are elected or re-elected every two years for four-year terms.

The period during which the Legislature meets. The California legislative sessions are biennial — it occurs over a two-year period.

Sine Die
Final adjournment. It means adjournment without day. No days left. The end of session.

Skeleton Bill
A measure introduced with little or no substance. It will be amended at a later date to include substantive text.

The highest-ranking officer of the Assembly; usually elected by the Assembly Members at the beginning of each two-year legislative session. The Speaker or his or her designee presides over Floor Session. The Speaker’s powers and duties are established by the Assembly Rules.

Speaker pro Tempore
An officer appointed by the Speaker that presides over Floor Sessions in the absence of the Speaker.

Special Order of Business
Occasionally a bill is of such importance that advance notice is given about when it will be considered in the full Assembly or Senate. A request for a Special Order of Business may be made during a Floor Session by requesting unanimous consent to set the bill as a Special Order on a specific date and time. This assures adequate time for debate and allows all Members the opportunity to be present. When a bill will be heard as a Special Order of Business in committee, it is so noticed in the Assembly Daily File.

The legislator, private individual, or group who developed a piece of legislation and advocates its passage.

Spot Bill
A bill that amends a code section in a non-substantive way. A bill may be introduced to assure that a germane vehicle will be available at a later date. Assembly Rules provide that a spot bill cannot be referred to a standing committee by the Rules Committee prior to receiving substantive amendments.

Standing Committees
Created pursuant to Assembly Rules, the Standing Committees consider legislation, the state budget, and internal legislative matters, as determined by their jurisdictions. Jurisdictions are set by the Assembly Rules Committee. Standing Committees must meet specific standards for notice, analyses, quorums, and voting (see Fiscal Committees, Policy Committees, and Select Committees).

State Mandate
Chapter 1406, Statutes of 1972, first established the requirement for the State to reimburse units of local government for all costs mandated on them by the State resulting from either legislative acts or administrative regulations which impose a new program or demand an increased level of service in an existing program. Proposition 4 of 1979 (Gann Initiative) incorporated this requirement into Section 6 of Article XIII(B) of the State Constitution.

Compilation of all enacted bills, chaptered by the Secretary of State in the order in which they become law.

Summary Digest
Brief summaries of each piece of legislation passed in the two-year session; prepared by Legislative Counsel. Measures are listed in the order they were signed into law.


To set aside. Typically used to dispense with, or set aside, amendments to a bill rather than vote “aye” or “no” on them. A motion to table is nondebatable and once made, must be voted upon. (See Lay on the Table.)

Tax Levy
Any bill that imposes, repeals, or materially alters a State tax. The Legislative Counsel determines whether a bill is a tax levy and so indicates this information in the title, digest, and body of the bill. Tax levies have different legislative deadlines than do other measures and must be passed with a 2/3 vote.

Term Limits
Members first elected to the State Legislature on or after the passage of Proposition 28 in November of 2012 may serve 12 years in either the Assembly or Senate, or a combined length of service in both the Assembly and Senate, so long as the combined terms do not exceed 12 years of service. Members elected to the State Legislature prior to the passage of Proposition 28 may serve a maximum of three two-year terms in the Assembly and two four-year terms in the Senate as established by the passage of Proposition 140, in November of 1990.

Third House
Lobbyists. (See Legislative Advocate and Lobbyist.)

Third Reading
Each bill introduced must be read three times before final passage. The stage at which bills are eligible for Floor debate and final vote.

Third Reading Analysis
A summary of a measure ready for Floor consideration. It contains most recent amendments and information regarding how Members voted on the measure when it was heard in committee.

Third Reading File
The portion of the Daily File that lists the bills that is ready to be taken up for final passage.

Thirty-Day Provision
The 30-day waiting period following a bill’s introduction before a bill may be heard or acted upon by the Legislature. The waiting period is required by the State Constitution and the Joint Rules and can be waived by a three-fourths vote (60 in the Assembly; 30 in the Senate).

That portion of a measure which identifies the subject matter of a measure and the code section it will affect (see Bill Title).

Two-Thirds Vote
In the Assembly, 54; in the Senate, 27; irrespective of any vacancies. Necessary for urgency bills and some appropriation measures.


Unanimous Consent
The consent (permission) of all those Members present, absent any objection, debate, or vote (i.e., unanimous consent was granted to suspend the four-day File notice requirement to hear a bill in committee).

Unfinished Business
The section of the Daily File that contains bills vetoed by the Governor, concurrence items, conference reports, and certain motions to be voted upon.

A legislature consisting of one House. (Nebraska has the only unicameral State Legislature.)

Upper House
The Senate.

Urgency Clause
Language in a bill which states the bill will take effect immediately upon enactment. A Floor vote on the urgency must precede a vote on the bill. A two-thirds vote is required for adoption of the urgency clause and for passage of the bill.

Urgency Measure
A bill affecting the public peace, health, or safety and requiring a two-thirds vote for passage. An urgency bill becomes effective immediately upon enactment.


The formal action of the Governor disapproving a measure by returning it to the House of origin. The Governor’s veto may be overridden by two-thirds vote of each House. The Governor can also exercise a line-item veto, where the amount of an appropriation is reduced or eliminated, while the rest of the bill is approved. A line-item veto may also be overridden by two-thirds vote in each House (See Blue Pencil).

Voice Vote
A vote that requires only an oral “aye” or “no” with no official count taken. The presiding officer determines whether the “ayes” or “noes” carry.


Withdraw From Committee
A floor vote to compel the discharge of a bill from committee.

“28.8’ed” (28.8 is part of the Senate rules) the bill out of the committee because there was no fiscal cost to the state. So, no hearing — and the bill goes right to the floor of the Senate.