comparison of florida and california legislative framework

should include partisanship in the process, successes and failures of both states and reasons why and the future of each state due to legislative changes. work cited page does not count in page total for paper.


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Comparison of Florida and California legislative framework



A comprehensive or detailed legislative framework is essential for the smooth running of various activities in various sectors within a state for it to realize set goals and objectives. A legislative framework refers to a collection of codes of practice, acts, governance structure, policies, legislations (and by-laws), and regulations that govern the functioning of an organization or state. Legislation ought to be flexible, dynamic and must provide a good response to the developments in the state. The framework often addresses areas to provide a state with a structure that is useful in supporting various functions effectively and efficiently (Squire, 20). Legislative frameworks aim at protecting both individuals and the community at large. Failure to provide a well-developed legislative framework and the lack of will to support can lead to poor functioning of a state.

The legislation brings about a positive effect contribution to the organization by supporting the goals and objectives of the organization. Legislation is regarded as a tool that facilitates the improvement and development of a state or country. It provides an opportunity for adjustment, amendment, or correction of the existing bills that were poorly thought. The United States consists of many states and each state is considered as an independent unit from the federal government with its constitution and legislative framework. This means that these states are not similar. Thus, there are similarities and differences between these states in terms of the legislative framework. Florida and California are among the well-known states in the United States. Each state has its own framework that promotes law and order in the state. This paper seeks to compare Florida’s and California’s legislative framework and presents the differences and similarities between the two based on various aspects that include, arms of government, election, lawmaker duties, judicial appointment, and the criminal justice process.

Arms of government

            The two states, Florida and California have three arms of government which include the legislature, the judiciary, and the executive. Both states are organized according to the presidential system with the head being an elected governor.   The executive in the Florida and California consist of the governor, a deputy governor as well as a cabinet. The deputy governor helps the governor in carrying out various tasks but his role and powers are limited to the responsibilities assigned by the governor. The Cabinet comprises of government/state officials who work in liaison with the governor to execute the relevant measures and implement the executive policies (Wawro and Schickler, 54). In both states, the legislature is bicameral in nature, meaning that the legislative structure is made up of the upper and the lower houses. Both houses have are expected to formulate the state’s legislation. Further, in Florida’s California’s judiciary consists of various jurisdictions that are in charge of interpreting and describing the laws ratified by the legislature. In both states, governors who serve as commander-in-chief stay in office for a maximum of two successive years and each term runs for 4 years. This means that governors in all states can only serve the public for a maximum of 8 years. After the election has been carried out, a governor is expected to serve for 4 years. At the end of four years elections are conducted again and if the same governor is elected, he or she will be allowed to serve for another term. In case he or she fails in the second election, then he or she will not be allowed to vie for the same seat in the future. In case the governor dies before the end of the term then, the deputy governor will take over until the subsequent election.

In California, legislators are allowed to serve a total of 12 years and can spend 12 years in different chambers. The state has a Democratic state administration trifecta that exists if one political party holds the governor’s office as well as the majorities at the same time in all state legislative chambers by November 2020, there were 21 republican trifectas. 15 democratic trifectas as well as 14 gov’t where no party holds trifecta control. On the other hand, Florida is a republican state trifecta. Generally, the structure of these states is similar to the structure of the federal government but each state is at liberty to change its structure to reflect what people need through the amendment of the legislative framework of the constitution. This is the provision that causes the difference in the legislative structure and constitution and these differences are evident in budgeting, election, the legislature, governance as well as the composition of the judiciary.


The procedure followed during the election of governors and other government officials in both states is similar. In both Florida and California, eligible nationals are allowed to participate in the election by electing leaders. Special boards are given the responsibility of facilitating elections and ensuring that the elections are free, fair, and credible and carried out based on the existing laws (National Association of Secretaries of State, 2016). In case there is a tie during the election, both states resolve the problem by lot.  In California, the chief election official is elected and is known as the secretary of the state while in Florida the chief election official is chosen by the governor, and just like in California, the official is called the secretary of the state. The secretary of state of the election have other responsibilities apart from managing elections, for instance, they administer licensing as well as business fillings in states (NASS, 2016). In California, prudential electors are chosen by the political parties while in Florida the governor nominates presidential voters of each party after receiving the names of the recommended candidates from the state executive committee.

Lawmaker responsibilities

Lawmaking responsibility is one of the key areas of comparison. Lawmakers must enact laws.  In Florida and California, the two houses have to ratify relevant legislations for the state. The two houses do not only have the make changes or amend existing clauses for the betterment of the state and the country at large. The houses also participate in the formulation of agreements and treaties with other states within the country. Treaties describe the relationship between states and other regions. Both states acknowledge that the legislation passed by either house ought to be aligned with the constitution of the state or else they will be nullified (Mason and Stephenson 78). This implies that in all states, the constitution is considered superior to other legislations. Various groups in these states like the religious groups put pressure on the state officials and leadership to mobilize the two houses to enact laws that are beneficial to the states.




The time when the legislature should be in session is defined in Article IV of the constitution of California while in Florida’s constitution, article III explains when the legislature is expected to be in session.  The third section of Article IV of the California Constitution explains that the legislature ought to assemble in regular session on the 1st Monday of December during every even-numbered year. Further, the legislature should adjourn by the 30th of November of the subsequent even-numbered year. Additionally, the third section gives California’s governor the authority to call special sessions of the legislature. Conversely, section 3 of Florida’s article describes that the regular sitting of the legislature is to be convened on the 2nd Tuesday after the 1st Monday in March of each odd-numbered years as well as on the 1st Tuesday after the 1st Monday in the 1st month (January) of an even-numbered year. The regular meetings of the legislature should not exceed 60 days unless prolonged by a three-fifths vote of each chamber/house. Section 3 of the same article also permits the convening of special sessions through the declaration of Florida’s governor or other ways provided in law.

Nevertheless, it is worth noting the impact of Covid-19 on how the legislature is often scheduled to convene. There were changes on the date of the legislative session in response to the Coronavirus. The California state legislature postponed its session, a move that was effective from 16th of March 2020 through 4th of May 2020. The legislature was suspended on the 31st of August 2020.  In 2020, Florida’s legislature was expected to convene on 14th January 2020 and adjourn on 19th March 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, various states’ legislature were affected. However, no modifications were made to legislative activities in Florida.


            The two states (California and Florida) operates a yearly budget cycle. The legislature facilitates the budget process. The order of events in the budget process in Florida is as follows; the governor provides budget instruction to the states agencies in July of the year before the beginning of a new fiscal year, the governor is expected to receive a budget request from state agencies in October (agencies present their requests), in September, budget hearings are carried out, the governor presents his or her proposed budget to the state legislature in February and in April or May, the legislature embraces the budget that will be effective for the years starting in July. In Florida, a simple majority is a requirement for passing the budget. The governor is statutorily and constitutionally expected to present a balanced budget to the legislature and the legislature should pass the balanced budget. Any budget that is signed into law by the head of the state (the governor) should be balanced. Florida’s budget has three major funds which include the General Fund, the Special Revenue Fund, and the Major Special Revenue Fund.

On the other hand, the key events regarding the budget in California include; sending of budget instructions to the state agencies at the beginning of April, these agencies then submit their budget needs to the governor in September, agency hearing is conducted in September to November, Public hearings are conducted in March and June, the governor presents the proposed budget to the California state legislature in January. Thereafter, the legislature embraces the budget in June. The requirement for passing the budget is a two-thirds majority. In California, the governor is legally needed to present a balanced budget to the legislature, and the legislature is also expected to embrace the budget.  In a nutshell, the legislature plays a critical role in the budget process in both states. Despite operating an annual budget, the two states handle the budget in different ways and this is reflected in the activities related to the budget and approval process.


Lawmaker composition (the composition of the legislature)

            Undeniably, the composition of the legislature is a key area of comparison between the two states. Lawmakers in Florida and California have various differences and similarities that are worthy of being mentioned. One of the major similarities is that both states consist of the upper house and the lower house in their legislatures (Wawro and Schickler, 76). The two houses often work in liaison with each other to develop policies for each state. In as much as the houses are similar in way, the composition in each state is different. In Florida, the lower house comprises of 120 members who are often elected during the general elections.  The elected members are often expected to serve for 2 years term. When the two years are over, they are allowed to vie for the same position for the last time. Thus, they can only serve for four years. Further, Florida’s senate consists of 40 representatives who are all elected by the public/citizens during the general election. The members of the upper house can only serve for 2 years. Filibusters are permitted in the two houses and this implies that the members of the house have the freedom to make the speakers postpone the discussions for the bill to date in the future (Wawro and Gregory, 54).

The composition of the California State Legislature is different from Florida’s legislature. However, the difference is only reflected in the lower house and not the upper house. In California, the lower house (California State Assembly) has 80 members while the upper house (California State Senate) has 40 members. The members of the California State Assembly are elected from the 80 districts and are allowed to serve for 2 years. The members of the upper house are allowed to serve for a term of 4 years. In June 2012, electors accepted the proposition that restricts legislators.  Legislators can only serve to a maximum of 12 years, regardless of whether they serve these years in the lower or the upper house.

Judicial Appointments

The judicial appointment is another key aspect of comparison between Florida and California. As suggested before, the two states have a judicial system which is made up of different types of courts having different jurisdictions. The highest court in Florida is the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court consists of judges who are appointed through the Modified Missouri Plan. This plan refers to the arrangement where a special commission is established and given the responsibility of recommending or nominating judges. The committee is allowed to nominate between 3 and 6 experienced and skilled judges according to their qualifications. The names of the nominated judges are then submitted to the governor who is expected to appoint the judges officially so that they can be allowed to serve in various courts within the state. The governor is required to appoint judges from the list provided by the commission. Any appointment that is made without considering the names on the list is regarded invalid. The recommendation of judges by the commission is informed by the opinion that the judicial system will be more autonomous if judges are not appointed by the governor.

Like in Florida, the highest court in California is the Supreme Court. Supreme Court’s decisions are binding on all courts within California.  According to the state’s constitution, the judges of the court of appeals and the Supreme Court are nominated by the governor. The candidates must be confirmed by a committee that facilitates judicial appointments. The committee consists of the attorney general, the chief justice as well as the presiding justice of the court of appeal. The State Bar of California‘s Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation is often expected to carry out thorough investigations regarding the background as well as the qualification of the potential nominees. But then, the governor is not bound by the recommendations of the commission.

Veto overrides

In both California and Florida, the state legislature might supersede the governors’ vetoes. The guidelines for legislative supersedes of gubernatorial vetoes in Florida include: 2/3 of the members present in both houses is required to vote to supersede a veto, Vetoes can be superseded in a special session and 3/5 members must agree to call and conduct a special session. Section 8 of Article III of Florida’s constitution states that “If each house shall, by a two-thirds vote, re-enact the bill or reinstate the vetoed specific appropriation of a general appropriation bill, the vote of each member voting shall be entered on the respective journals, and the bill shall become law or the specific appropriation reinstated, the veto notwithstanding”.

In California, the governor’s vetoes can be overridden during a special or a regular session. The rules regarding this process in California are; like Florida, 2/3 of the members in both houses should vote to override a veto. The legislature of California has sixty days to supersede a veto when it has been returned by the head of state.  Section 10 of Article IV of the California constitution focuses on Veto. It states that “Each bill passed by the Legislature shall be presented to the Governor. It becomes a statute if it is signed by the Governor. The Governor may veto it by returning it with any objections to the house of origin, which shall enter the objections in the journal and proceed to reconsider it. If each house then passes the bill by rollcall vote entered in the journal, two-thirds of the membership concurring, it becomes a statute.”

Criminal justice process and legislative-related practices

There various similarities and differences in the criminal justice system of California and Florida. In both states, a suspected criminal is eligible for representation by a lawyer that he or she chooses. Similarly, anyone in California is entitled to such representation by a lawyer. Both states allow citizens to have private lawyers who are paid by the client himself. Suspected criminals with a lack of financial ability to hire a lawyer are eligible for a public lawyer when they request a lawyer (Smith 43). If a court ends up finding that a suspect is guilty when the criminal proceedings are terminated, the criminal is sent to a correction institution that is available within the state (this applies to both California and Florida).

The states have many correctional facilities. There are various requirements for one to be allowed to serve as an attorney. For instance, such a person should be a United States national (resident aliens are not qualified), one must be licensed to practice law in California State, a Civil service exam must be taken to allowed to practice just to name a few. The government provides public lawyers and settles the amount spend to procure a lawyer. Any law that is not in line with the constitution of both states is regarded as null and void. The legislative bodies in both states enact relevant legislation that ought to be considered as law by the head of state.  Under Florida’s criminal justice system, suspects can be released on cash bail. In both states, pressure groups like the media human rights activists, and non-governmental organizations are often focused on the protection of human rights.


            The United States is a country that consists of many states with each state having its own legislative framework and structure. In each state, the legislature is made of officials who are elected to facilitate legal processes and lawmaking. The elected official must embrace the legislative work in place and support it. The legislation in each state is not similar to federal constitutions. There are notable similarities and differences in the legislative frameworks of various states. Some of the aspects of the framework that reveal this difference and similarities include the arms of government, the nature of the election, sessions, lawmakers’ responsibilities, the criminal justice process, judicial appointment, Veto overrides, Lawmakers’ composition, and budget process as discussed above.




























California State Legislature.

Florida State Legislature.

Mason, Alpheus, and Grier Stephenson. American Constitutional Law: Introductory Essays and Selected Cases. Routledge, 2015.

National Association of Secretaries of State.State Laws Regarding Presidential Electors.     electors-nov16.pdf, 2016.

National Center for State Courts. Judicial Selection in the States: California.    g%20to%20California’s%20constitution%2C%20judges,of%20the%20courts%20of%20a    ppeal, 2020.

Smith, Steven. The Senate Syndrome: The Evolution of Procedural Warfare in the Modern US     Senate. University of Oklahoma Press, 2014.

Squire, Peverill, and Gary Moncrief. State legislatures today: Politics under the domes. Rowman            & Littlefield, 2019.

Wawro, Gregory, and Eric Schickler. Filibuster: Obstruction and Lawmaking in the US Senate.   Princeton University Press, 2013.

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