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Government

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The Government of California is guarded by the Constitution of California. California became a 31st state of the United States on Sept. 9, 1850 [1]. California grants the political parties the freedom to choose either the closed primary voting or primary voting. In the primary, only the party members and independents may vote. The government of California is divided into three distinct branches, namely the executive branch (Governor of California, Constitutionally elected officers and state agencies), the legislative branch (the House of Representatives and the Senate) and the judicial branch (Supreme Court and lower courts).

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Image By Devin Cook (Own work) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


California Executive Branch

The Executive branch of California consists of the Governor of California and the constitutionally elected Officials. The other elected officers are Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Controller, State Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The officers may serve the state for four year terms and they are eligible to serve the state for maximum two times. The Governor is the chief executive head of the state’s Government.

The Governor of California is elected by California gubernatorial election held every four years. The other constitutionally elected officials of the executive department include Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State,
Attorney General, State Controller, Superintendent of Public Instruction and Insurance Commissioner.

Under the Constitution of California-

  • The governor can exercise his/her executive power and functions as the Chief of the state military reserve and the national Guard.

  • The governor of California also has the unilateral power to forbid the law enacted by the state legislature, power to appoint judges and give the State of the State address annually and also may propose a state budget.

  • He/she can exercise some judiciary power to a limit that he can excuse convicted criminals except in the cases when an official is convicted of unlawful activities or involving impeachment.

The Lieutenant governor may exercise the governor’s duties only in situations when the governor is incapable of performing his/her duties due to death, resignation, impeachment, termination from office, or other disability. Based on whether he/she is a member of the cabinet of the governor, executive authority may or may not be rendered to the lieutenant governor. The lieutenant governor is also elected for a four year term.

Additionally, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of California also function as ex-officio members of the University of California Board of Regents and the California State University Board of Trustees.

Contact Details of the Governor of California
Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160

Visit the Office of Governor of California

Contact Details of the Lieutenant Governor of California
Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom
State Capitol, Suite 1114
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 445-8994.

Visit the Office of Lieutenant Governor of California

Contact Details:

Attorney General's Office

The Attorney General is the highest ranking law enforcement officer for the state. He/she is the head of the Department of Law, and is regarded as the State's chief legal officer. He/she is a representative of the state and its agencies in court cases, renders legal counsel to state agencies and is also answerable in written format to the state official's questions of law.

California Department of Justice
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
Voice: (916) 322-3360 or (Toll-free in California)(800) 952-5225
Fax: (916) 323-5341
Website: http://oag.ca.gov/

California Secretary of State

The Secretary of State is a constitutionally elected official in the executive branch of state government. The secretary has many duties and responsibilities to fulfill for the state, including administration of elections and providing certain business services to the public. The Business Services Division of the Secretary of State must perform the duties of filing varied statutorily required documents.

Secretary of State
1500 11th Street, Sacramento,
California 95814
Phone: (916) 653-6814
Website: http://www.sos.ca.gov/

California State Controller

The Controller is the state's Chief Fiscal Officer who may serve for four years. The Controller may also serve on the State commissions and boards and is responsible to ensure that the state's budget is spent effectively and administers public pension funds.

Sacramento
P.O. Box 942850
Sacramento, CA 94250-5872
(916) 445-2636 Office
(916) 322-4404 FAX

Los Angeles
777 South Figueroa Street,
Suite 4800
Los Angeles, CA 90017


(213) 833-6010 Office
(213) 833-6011 FAX

To know more about California State Controller Click here

California State Treasurer

The State Treasurer is responsible to efficiently manage the finances and public resources. The Treasurer also has the responsibility to overview cash management, debt management, pension funds etc. of the state. He/she is the state’s cash manager and is responsible to coordinate the financial services that are utilized by various state agencies and must hold strict custody of state funds.

California State Treasurer's Office
915 Capitol Mall, Room 110
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 653-2995

1515 Clay Street, Suite 2205
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 873-6444

304 South Broadway, Suite 550
Los Angeles, CA 90013-1224
Phone: (213) 620-4467

To know more about California State Treasurer Click here

California Department of Insurance Headquarters Offices
Sacramento Office
300 Capitol Mall, Suite 1700
Sacramento, CA 95814

San Francisco Office
45 Fremont Street, 23rd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105

Los Angeles Office
300 South Spring Street, South Tower
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Consumer Hotline: 1-800-927-4357 (HELP)

To know more about California State Insurance Department Click here

California Department of Education
1430 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814-5901
Phone: 916-319-0800
Website: http://www.cde.ca.gov/eo/

California Legislative Branch

California State Legislature is the body of the state government of California which is divided into two separate assemblies, namely California State Assembly and California Senate. The California state legislature is the law making and supervising body of the state. The first process in the functioning of the legislature is the bill drafting. During the process, the bills undergo two to three readings and once approved by both the Houses, the bill is forwarded to the governor and it may be either signed or annulled. The two legislatures meet in the California State Capitol in Sacramento.

The California State Assembly consists of 80 members and is the lower house of the state legislature [2]. The members are elected for two year terms. The California House of representatives is led by the speaker of the house. The speaker of the House is the presiding officer of the assembly who is elected by the majority party members of the house through a House resolution. The Speaker delegates the duty to the members of the house and manages all legislative committee assignments.

To learn more about California State Assembly Click here

Contact Details of the Speaker’s Office:



Capitol Office:
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0078
Tel: (916) 319-2078
Fax: (916) 319-2178

District Office:
1350 Front St., Room 6054
San Diego, CA 92101
Tel: (619) 645-3090
Fax: (619) 645-3094

Visit the Office of the Speaker

The California Senate is the upper house of the state legislature and consists of 40 state senators [3]. A senator is elected for four-year terms. The Senate has the power to approve or reject certain appointees of the state cabinet and boards. The Lieutenant Governor of California is the presiding ex-officio President of the senate who has the right to vote only to break a tie. The president pro tempore is the second in rank to preside over the senate who is elected by the members of the senate through a majority voting system.

To know more about California State Senate Click here

Also read more on:California Legislative Branch

California Judiciary Branch

Under the Constitution of California, the Judiciary branch applies and interprets laws and regulations to ensure justice in the state. The judicial system of California is served by numerous efficient professionally trained judges and is the largest in the United States. The Judicial Council is the significant and principal rule and policy making body of the judiciary. The California Court system comprises of the Supreme Court, the primary Appellate Courts and the primary Trial Courts.

California Appellate Courts

The Supreme Court is the highest court of appeal or the court of last resort. The Supreme Court has the exclusive judicial powers over death penalty cases, habeas corpus or great writ proceedings, criminal and civil matters and also reviews all the decisions of the intermediate courts. It consists of a chief justice of California and six associate justices all appointed by the governor of Arizona. Supreme Court of California has its headquarter in San Francisco.

To learn more about the Supreme Court of California Click here

The California Court of Appeal is the court of Intermediate appeal and has mandatory review jurisdiction. The state is divided into six appellate districts geographically and further divided into divisions.

1st District Court of Appeal: It is located in San Francisco and consists of 20 justices. It has jurisdiction over the following counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano, and Sonoma.

2nd District Court of Appeal: It is located in Los Angeles with eight Divisions of four justices each. It has jurisdiction over four counties, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

3rd District Court of Appeal: It is located in Sacramento and consists of 11 justices and has no divisions. It has jurisdiction over the following counties: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo, and Yuba.

4th District Court of Appeal: It is located in San Diego and is divided into three Divisions, namely San Diego (Division One), Riverside (Division Two), and Santa Ana (Division Three). Each division is over viewed by a Presiding Justice.

5th District Court of Appeal: It is located in Fresno and consists of 10 justices. It has jurisdiction over the following counties: Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Stanislaus, Tulare and Tuolumne.

6th District Court of Appeal: It is located in San Jose and consists of a presiding justice and six associate justices. It has jurisdiction over the following counties: Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz. The court has seven authorized judicial positions, consisting of a presiding justice and six associate justices.

To learn more about the California Court of Appeal Click here

California Trial Courts

California Trial Court is divided into the Trial Court of General Jurisdiction (the Superior Court) and its appellate divisions. The Superior Court is the court of general jurisdiction and is superior over a court with limited legal power such as cases or disputes involving small amount. It has jurisdiction over matters related to civil and criminal actions, felonies, misdemeanours, claim and lawsuits, and cases in which other courts are not given full jurisdiction. There are 58 trial courts in California, one located and assigned to each county.

The Superior courts consist of several appellate divisions. Appellate divisions primarily consist of the superior court judges appointed as appellate judges. The appellate divisions tend to relatively minor cases, misdemeanors, and small claims and lawsuit cases.

To learn more about California Superior Courts Click here

Learn more: California Judicial Branch

California Taxation

The California state tax center works under the California Fed State Partnership. The center is working efficiently to improve the tax payers’ resources and also to educate the people more on taxation.

Individual Tax Rates [4]

  • The maximum rate for individuals is 12.3%
  • The AMT rate for individuals is 7%
  • The Mental Health Services Tax Rate is 1% for taxable income in excess of $1,000,000.

Corporate Tax Rates [5]


  • Corporations other than banks and financials: 8.84%
  • Banks and financials: 10.84%
  • Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) rate: 6.65%
  • S corporation rate: 1.5%
  • S corporation bank and financial rate: 3.5%

Statewide Sales and Use Tax Rate: 7.5% (the tax rate may vary according to the district or county)

Learn more: California City and County Sales and Use Tax Rates effective October 1, 2014

Learn more: California Special Taxes and Fees

California State Agencies

California Department of Education

The California Department of Education is the division which is responsible to assess and manage the workings of all schools, colleges and universities in the state. The department’s mission is to provide world class education and best values to the students to ensure success in education, workplace and in every spheres of life. Tom Torlakson is the current State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Various programs and plans are implemented to enhance the standard of education and also to improve the academic success rate. Some of the initiatives and programs include Bullying and Hate Motivated Behavior Prevention, Civic Education Initiative, Core Reforms Engaging Arts to Educate (CREATE), Digital Chalkboard, Family Engagement Framework, International Visitors and Official Delegations, School Financial Emergency, Schools of the Future Initiative and United States Senate Youth Program.

Contact Details:
1430 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-319-0800
Website: http://www.cde.ca.gov/index.asp

California Department of Transportation

The California Department of Transportation commonly referred as Caltrans overviews the entire transportation network of the state of California. Caltrans administers and manages the state’s highways, freeways, railways, airports, hospital heliports. Caltrans implemented six primary programs to improve accessibility and convenient mobility with cities across California and also with neighboring states. the programs include Aeronautics, Highway Transportation, Mass Transportation, Transportation Planning, Administration and the Equipment Service Center.

Contact Details:
Headquarters
1120 N Street
Sacramento
916-654-5266
Phone: (916) 654-2852
Website: http://www.dot.ca.gov/

California Department of Public Health

The California Department of Public Health works efficiently to improve the health and living standards of the community by implementing many health regulating services and policies. Various divisions and sub-divisions work concurrently with the department to optimize the health of the community.The main divisions include Emergency Preparedness Office, Center for Health Statistics and Informatics, Office of State Laboratory Director, Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Chronic Disease and Injury Control, Environmental and Occupational Disease Control, Office of Problem Gambling, Drinking Water and Environmental Management, Center for Environmental Health, Food, Drug, and Radiation Safety, Center for Family Health, Genetic Disease Screening Program, and Center for Infectious Diseases.

Contact Details:
PO Box 997377, MS 0500
Sacramento, CA 95899-7377
Phone: (916) 558-1784
Website: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/Pages/DEFAULT.aspx

For the hearing impaired or speech impaired, please call:


MCI from TDD 1-800-735-2929 or MCI from voice telephone 1-800-735-2922
Sprint from TDD 1-888-877-5378 or Sprint from voice telephone 1-888-877-5379

California Department of Finance

The California Department of Finance serves as the Governor’s main fiscal policy adviser. The department also ensures the financial security and integrity of the state. The department works effectively and efficiently to prepare and manage California’s annual financial plans. The major initiatives implemented by the department include the implementation of Budget Reform, the Strategic Growth Plan, works collectively with the State Controller’s Office, State Treasurer’s Office, and Department of General Services, detail understandings of the multi-year forecast, ensure that departments well versed about the requirements of the Fiscal Integrity and State Managers Accountability Act and establish and implement a standardized on-line (I-drive) filing system.

Contact Details:
915 L Street
Sacramento, CA , 95814
Phone: (916) 445-3878
Website: http://www.dof.ca.gov/



References:


  1. California Statehood
  2. California State Assembly
  3. California Senate
  4. Individual Tax Rates
  5. Corporate Tax Rates
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