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California State Senate

NameCalifornia State Senate
LegislatureCalifornia State Legislature
Coa PicSeal of The Senate Of The State Of California.jpg
Session RoomCalifornia Senate chamber p1080899.jpg
House TypeUpper House
Term Limits2 terms (8 years)
New SessionDecember 6, 2010
Leader1 TypePresident of the Senate
Leader1Gavin Newsom
Election1January 10, 2011
Leader2 TypePresident Pro Tem of the Senate
Leader2Darrell Steinberg
Election2November 30, 2008
Leader3 TypeMajority Leader
Leader3Ellen Corbett
Election3December 6, 2010
Leader4 TypeMinority Leader
Leader4Bob Dutton
Election4October 11, 2010
Term Length4 years
AuthorityArticle IV, California Constitution
Salary$95,291/year + per diem
Structure1California State Senate 2011-2012.svg
Structure1 Res200px
Political Groups1  (25)  (15)
Last Election1November 2, 2010
(20 seats)
Next Election1November 6, 2012
(20 seats)
RedistrictingCalifornia Citizens Redistricting Commission
Meeting PlaceState Senate Chamber
California State Capitol
Sacramento, California

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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 California State Capitol in Sacramento. 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, Jr.

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 County and Calaveras County, some of California's least populous counties. The federal Reynolds v. Sims decision by the United States Supreme Court 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.

The red tones of the California State Senate Chamber are based on the British House of Lords, which is outfitted in a similar color. Likewise, the California State Assembly Chamber is decorated green, parallel to the British House of Commons. Almost every decorating element of the Senate chamber is identical to those in the Assembly.

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