California State Senate

Coordinates: 38°34′36″N 121°29′37″W / 38.57667°N 121.49361°W / 38.57667; -121.49361

California State Senate
California State Legislature
Coat of arms or logo
Term limits
Elected before 2012:
2 terms (8 years)
Elected 2012 and after:
3 terms (12 years)
New session started
December 1, 2014
Gavin Newsom (D)
Since January 10, 2011
Kevin de León (D)
Since October 15, 2014
Majority Leader
Bill Monning (D)
Since December 17, 2014
Minority Leader
Jean Fuller (R)
Since August 27, 2015
Seats 40
Composition of the California State Senate
Political groups
  Democratic (26)
  Republican (13)
Length of term
4 years
Authority Article 4, California Constitution
Salary $95,291/year + per diem
Last election
November 6, 2014 (20 seats)
Next election
November 8, 2016 (20 seats)
Redistricting California Citizens Redistricting Commission
Senatoris est civitatis libertatem tueri
("It is a senator's duty to protect the liberty of the people.")
Meeting place
State Senate Chamber
California State Capitol
Sacramento, California

The California State Senate is the upper house of the California State Legislature. The legislative body consists of 40 members, with each member representing approximately 931,000 people. Due to the state's large population and relatively small legislature, the State Senate has the largest population per representative ratio of any state legislative house. In the United States House of Representatives, California is apportioned 53 representatives, each representing approximately 704,566 people,[1] while in the State Senate, each of the 40 Senators represents approximately 931,349 people,[2] with the result that California state senators each actually represent more voters than California's representatives to the United States Congress do. Each member roughly represents a population equivalent to the state of Delaware. As a result of Proposition 140 in 1990 and Proposition 28 in 2012, members elected to the legislature prior to 2012 are restricted by term limits to two four-year terms (eight years), while those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years in the legislature in any combination of four-year state senate or two-year state assembly terms.[3]

The State Senate convenes at the California State Capitol in Sacramento.

In the current session, Democrats control 26 seats, while Republicans control 13. Twenty-seven seats, or two-thirds, are needed for a super-majority.


Prior to 1968, state senate districts were drawn so that each county had at most one state senator. This led to the situation of a populous county such as Los Angeles County being accorded the same number of state senators (1) as less populous counties such as Humboldt County. In Reynolds v. Sims, the United States Supreme Court compelled all states to draw up districts with equal population. As such, boundaries were changed to provide more equitable representation.


The Lieutenant Governor is the ex officio President of the Senate and may break a tied vote. The President pro tempore is elected by the majority party caucus, followed by confirmation of the full senate. Other leaders, such as the majority and minority leaders, are elected by their respective party caucuses according to each party's strength in the chamber.

The current president pro tem is Democrat Kevin de León (22ndLos Angeles). The minority leader is Republican Jean Fuller (16thBakersfield).

Meeting chamber

The red tones of the California State Senate Chamber are based on the British House of Lords, which is outfitted in a similar color. The dais rests along a wall shaped like an "E", with its central projection housing the rostrum. Along the cornice appears a portrait of George Washington and the Latin quotation: senatoris est civitatis libertatem tueri ("It is a senator's duty to protect the liberty of the people"). Almost every decorating element is identical to the Assembly Chamber.


Position Name Party District
President of the Senate Gavin Newsom Democratic
President pro tempore Kevin de León Democratic 24th–Los Angeles
Majority leader Bill Monning Democratic 17th–Carmel
Majority whip Lois Wolk Democratic 3rd–Davis
Majority caucus chair Connie Leyva Democratic 20th–Chino
Majority caucus vice chair Mike McGuire Democratic 2nd–Healdsburg
Minority leader Jean Fuller Republican 16th–Bakersfield
Minority caucus chair Tom Berryhill Republican 8th–Twain Harte
Minority caucus whip Ted Gaines Republican 1st–Roseville
Minority caucus assistant whip Patricia Bates Republican 36th–Laguna Niguel
Secretary Daniel Alvarez
Sergeant-at-Arms Debbie Manning
Chaplain Sister Michelle Gorman

The Secretary, the Sergeant-at-Arms, and the Chaplain are not members of the Legislature.


Composition of the California State Senate
  Democratic Party
  Republican Party
26 1 13
Democratic V Republican
Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Democratic Republican Vacant Suspended
End of previous legislature 25 12 37 1 2
Begin[4] 25 14 39 1 0
December 10, 2014[5] 26 40 0
January 2, 2015[6] 25 39 1
January 3, 2015[7] 13 38 2
January 5, 2015[8] 12 37 3
March 19, 2015[9] 13 38 2
March 22, 2015[10] 14 39 1
May 28, 2015[11] 26 40 0
July 14, 2016[12] 13 39 1
Latest voting share 66.7% 33.3%

Seating chart

Vacant Anderson Moorlach Galgiani Hueso Leno Roth Hernandez Hertzberg Wieckowski McGuire Wolk
Bates Nguyen Morrell Stone Cannella Hill Lara Pavley Leyva Mendoza Liu Hancock
Gaines Nielsen Berryhill Huff Vidak Fuller Jackson Mitchell Glazer Hall Allen Beall
Block De León Monning Pan


Current committees include:[13]




See also


  1. "Apportionment Data". United States Census Bureau.
  2. "Senate Roster". State of California.
  3. "Article 4. Legislative". California Constitution. California Legislative Counsel. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  4. Vacant since September 22, 2014 when Democrat Rod Wright (District 35) resigned to serve a jail sentence after conviction for perjury and voter fraud.
  5. Democrat Isadore Hall, III sworn in to succeed Wright.
  6. Democrat Mark DeSaulnier (District 7) resigned to take office in Congress.
  7. Republican Mimi Walters (District 37) resigned to take office in Congress.
  8. Republican Steve Knight (District 21) resigned to take office in Congress.
  9. Republican Sharon Runner sworn in to succeed Knight.
  10. Republican John Moorlach sworn in to succeed Walters.
  11. Democrat Steve Glazer sworn in to succeed DeSaulnier.
  12. Republican Sharon Runner (District 21) died.
  13. "California Senate Committees". Open States. Sunlight Foundation. 2014-04-09. Retrieved 2014-04-09.

External links

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