As you know, there are three types of resolution in the California Legislature – House, Joint, and Concurrent. Two of these types of resolution – Concurrent and Joint – require adoption by both houses of the Legislature before they can take effect. Passage of a resolution does not require the signature of the Governor, and all three types of resolution only require a simple majority vote to pass. Like other legislative measures, a title for a resolution is drafted, as well as a Legislative Counsel’s Digest.
Because there is not an existing law as it relates to a resolution there is not a statement of existing law in the Legislative Counsel Digest for resolutions. Instead, there is a one sentence explanation of what the resolution does.
A Legislative Counsel Digest for a Concurrent Resolution usually begins with the language, “This measure would,” or a Leg Counsel Digest of a Joint Resolution, it usually begins with the intro, “This measure would urge the Congress and the President of the United States to,” do something. On the other hand, a House resolution simply has a heading that begins with, “Relative to,” like, “Relative to Commemorating,” a certain date or a group, for example. Note that a House Resolution is called a House Resolution if its house of origin is the State Assembly and is called a Senate Resolution if it originates from the Senate.
Like other pieces of Legislation, the Legislative Counsel Digest keys are used with resolutions, except in the case of a House Resolution. There are no keys to a House Resolution. Concurrent and Joint Resolutions have one key, Fiscal Committee. In other words, does the Concurrent or Joint Resolution need to be referred to the fiscal committee for consideration of any fiscal impacts due to the language of the resolution?
After that, the text of the resolution begins, which utilizes paragraphs that begin with, “Whereas,” and close with, “Resolved.” These are the whereas clauses and ultimately the resolved clauses.
There aren’t any limitations on the number of these whereas clauses, there’s usually a half a dozen or so, but some resolutions may have just two or three, while others may contain a dozen or more whereas clauses.
More details on considerations for drafting legislative resolutions are in today’s audio.