The new legislative session begins December 5, when 80 newly elected and returning Assembly-members are sworn in at the State Capitol.
During this ceremonial event, the Secretary of State presents a “Certificate of Election,” stating that all members have been duly elected, and members rise to take the oath, in which we swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”
Over the years, the elaborate nature of these ceremonies has changed. For example, an address by the Governor, a 19- gun salute and the state song, “I Love You California,” are no longer included. Even so, it’s a solemn beginning for the new legislative session.
It is such a great honor to serve the people of California and to be a part of the Capitol’s rich history. Finished in 1869, the Capitol was perfect for its time. Fires, floods, and Civil War slowed the building progress. The Capitol’s cornerstone, laid in, 1861, disappeared for a time and was re-laid in 1978. It still contains original objects: old coins, the original conceptualized design of the Capitol, newspapers and documents, old wine, stamps, a Bible; messages from legislators were added when it was re-laid.
Once Assembly-members are sworn, the Chief Clerk, Sergeant at Arms and Chaplain are elected by majority vote. Other officials including the Speaker, the Pro Tempore and Minority Floor Leader are also appointed. Over ensuing days committee assignments are discussed, orientation for new members continues, and a few bills are introduced.
The 2017-2018 session begins work on January 4, and I’ll be providing more information about my bill package for next year in future articles. I’m hopeful, and looking forward to a productive new session.