California Government Structure

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Structure of California’s Government
Headed by the governor of the state, the state govt. of CA replicates the Federal govt. It has three branches that perform their assigned tasks and keep within the limits set by the constitution. These branches are: Legislature

Executive
Judiciary
While this division has been created to give structure to the government and ensure its smooth and effective functioning, there is, more importantly, the need to keep the power of the branches in check and to make them accountable to each other. There is a system of ‘checks and balances’ that comes into play with this segregation of duties and separation of power. This system’s inception has been attributed to Montesquieu. (Wikipedia.org)

Governor

The governor is the head of the state and commander of the state’s militia, and he is the supreme executive power (ca.gov). He addresses the legislature with the state address at the beginning of the session, informing the body of the situation, the needs, and the recommendations for legislative action. He can require, by proclamation, a “special session” of the legislature to act on subjects specially specified by him. He also presents the legislature with the proposed budget and can refuse to sign a bill that can only become a law with his approval. Here again he is limited in his ‘veto’ power because he can be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote in both houses. (Capitol museum.gov)

Legislature
CA has a ‘bicarmel’ legislature, i.e. it has two separate legislative chambers, the Senate (40 members) and the Assembly (80 members). While the senators stand guard to the ‘liberty of the commonwealth’, the assembly members are bound to passing just laws that ‘represent and protect all the citizens of CA’. Both senators and assembly members do most of their work in committees (policy, rules, joint, special, and fiscal), and Legislators analyze, consult, debate, and hear testimony from both private and public interests on every bill.”Bicarmelism” is intended to reduce the ‘relative’ power of the legislature by having “different modes of election and different principles of action” (an argument instituted against the Seventeenth Amendment)

Executive
Responsible for administering and enforcing the law in the state, this branch is headed by the governor and comprises of many state departments that are headed by elected, appointed, and hired officials.

Passing of a Bill
To truly understand the process undergone and the roles played by the legislature and the executive to make a bill a law, let us examine the recent BILL NUMBER: AB 38 introduced on December 4, 2006, which was signed by the governor on 9/27/2008 and would become effective legislation on January 1, 2009. (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov) The actions of the senate and the assembly, hearings, debates, amendments, voting are evident in the timeline of the bill in the legislature:

Signed by the Governor (executive head) of CA on September 27, 2008 PASSED THE SENATE AUGUST 21, 2008
PASSED THE ASSEMBLY AUGUST 29, 2008
AMENDED IN SENATE AUGUST 18, 2008
AMENDED IN SENATE AUGUST 11, 2008
AMENDED IN SENATE AUGUST 4, 2008
AMENDED IN SENATE JUNE 17, 2008
AMENDED IN SENATE MAY 6, 2008
AMENDED IN SENATE APRIL 14, 2008
AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY MAY 1, 2007
AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY MARCH 8, 2007
These dates and stages are a clear indication of the fact that the actual legislation is shaped and polished in the legislature, and that the executive body has little to contribute to its becoming a law. Veto power is certainly a resort, but it gives limited maneuverability to the governor. This is an example of cooperation of the two branches. “Assembly Bill 38 merges the Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES) and Office of Homeland Security (OHS) into a single, streamlined cabinet-level agency and legislation that enhances emergency assistance to disaster victims.” (http://www.oes.ca.gov/)

Gubernatorial Power
California’s laws...
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