- California state senators work in Sacramento to cureate laws that serve their constitents.state capitol image by morsted from Fotolia.com
In California, the legislative branch of the government is responsible for creating laws that govern the state and protect the safety, health and welfare of its people and the environment. The California legislature consists of the Senate, the upper legislative house, and the Assembly, the lower house. Both chambers meet in Sacramento, the state capital.
California State Senate
- The California State Senate has 40 senators, who are elected by the voters within their districts. State senators serve four-year terms. As of July 2010, they can only serve two terms. Every two years, 20 of the seats are up for election. The senator positions are partisan offices.
- The primary duty of a California state senator is to make laws that address issues in education, health care, housing, social services, labor and industrial relations, taxes, business, transportation, agriculture, the environment and other areas. As the representative of her district, a senator creates laws that serve the interests of all her constituents, regardless of her constituents' political party affiliations.
To create laws, a senator performs various tasks. She researches the issues, which involves meeting with constituents and subject-matter experts. She proposes bills, reviews drafted bills and introduces bills to the Senate body. She works with colleagues in the Senate, as well as in the Assembly, to pass or defeat legislation.
Other Legislative Duties
- In addition to making laws, a California state senator passes resolutions regarding federal or internal legislative matters. He also participates in planning and approving annual state budgets, trying impeachment cases and approving judge and other official appointments made by the governor. A senator is required to attend legislative meetings and serve on standing committees, such as the ethics or veterans' affairs committee. A senator employs and supervises a staff of legislative aides, office staff and others to help him with various duties.
Services to Constituents
- A state senator maintains offices in Sacramento and in her district, where constituents can contact her in person, by phone, by letter, by email or through her website. A senator offers various services to her constituents. For example, she sends constituents information about proposed or current state laws and provides details about different government programs and services. A senator also helps individuals with problems that they may have with government services, as well as assist communities with obtaining funding for local projects.
- A candidate for state senator must be a U.S. citizen. He must be registered and qualified to vote in the county where he lives when he applies for nomination documents. He must be a registered voter for at least three months in the political party in which he seeks nomination. To run in that party, he must not have been a registered voter with any other party within the previous 12 months. Furthermore, he must pay filing fees and submit nomination papers that include the proper number of signatures of registered voters who support his candidacy.
- The California Citizens Compensation Commission establishes salaries for state senators and other state elected officials. In 2010, state senators earned $116,208 per year.