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The California State Senate is the upper house of the California State Legislature. There are 40 state senators. The state legislature meets in the state capital, Sacramentomarker. The Lieutenant Governor is the ex officio President of the Senate and may break a tied vote. The officers of the Senate, elected at the start of each legislative session, are the President pro tem Darrell Steinberg, Secretary of the Senate Gregory Schmidt, and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Tony Beard.

Prior to 1968, state senate districts were restricted such that one county could only hold at most one seat. This led to the situation of Los Angeles County, with 6 million residents as of 1968, receiving 600 times less representation than residents of Alpine Countymarker and Calaveras Countymarker, some of California's least populous counties. The federal Reynolds v. Sims decision by the United States Supreme Courtmarker compelled all states to draw up districts with equal populations. As such, boundaries were changed to provide more equitable representation.

Senators are limited to serving two four-year terms, which are staggered so that half the membership is elected every two years. The Senators representing the odd-numbered districts are elected in years evenly divisible by four. The senators from the even-numbered districts are elected in the intervening even-numbered years.

Each senator represents approximately 846,791 Californians, which is more than the approximately 639,088 residents in each of California's congressional districts.



Current composition

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Democratic Republican Vacant
End of previous legislature 25 15 40 0
Begin 24 15 39 1
June 8, 2009 25 40 0
November 30, 2009 14 39 1
Latest voting share 64.1% 35.9%

Seating chart

* * * * * * *
* * * * * *

Walters Ashburn * Denham Benoit * Florez Ducheny * Padilla Negrete McLeod * Oropeza Cedillo * Calderon Yee

Huff Cogdill * Aanestad Strickland * Maldonado Wright * Kehoe Simitian * Correa Romero * Liu Hancock

Runner Wyland * Cox Harman * Dutton Hollingsworth * Corbett Price * Lowenthal Pavley * Alquist Wiggins

* * * * * * Leno Steinberg * DeSaulnier Wolk * * * * * *

See also


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