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Just like the federal government, California has a state constitution and a three-branch system.

  • The Executive Branch comprises the Governor and other constitutional officers.
  • The State Assembly and Senate make up the Legislative Branch.
  • The Judicial Branch includes all of the state courts.

These three branches work together to govern California.


In order to create a new law in California, a state assemblymember or senator must introduce the idea by writing a bill. The bill goes through a series of readings and discussions before the Assembly and Senate vote on it. If both houses pass the bill, it is sent to the Governor.

The Governor has the option of signing the bill, rejecting it with a veto or allowing it to become law without his or her signature. If vetoed, the Legislature may override the Governor’s decision with a two-thirds vote in both houses. Bills that are passed by the Legislature and approved by the Governor are assigned a chapter number and go into effect on the first day of the next year.

Interested in more details on how a bill becomes a law? The Legislative Process diagram that illustrates how a bill becomes a law.



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