California Politicians on US Currency

Banner: 50 Dollar Bill


Every dead US President will be honored with an appearance on US currency through the “Presidential Dollar Coin Program.” But when else have people who appeared on the ballot in California appeared on American money?

For the purposes of this article, we’re counting folks who have served since California statehood (in 1850) and only looking at regularly circulating money and Federal Reserve Notes (and not the other certificates that have served as currency over the years)…

Bills & Coins

Abraham Lincoln is the leader. In addition to appearing on the one dollar coin in 2010, Lincoln currently appears on the Five Dollar bill and penny (1909-Present), as a young man on the “50 State Quarters” quarter for Illinois (2003), and as part of Mount Rushmore on the “50 State Quarters” quarter for South Dakota (2006).


Ulysses S. Grant was on a 2011 dollar coin and has appeared on the Fifty Dollar bill since 1914.

In denominations no longer in circulation, Grover Cleveland appeared on the $1000 bill issued 1928-1934, while William McKinley was on the $500 bill during that same period.

Serving as US Secretaries of the Treasury, William G. McAdoo‘s signature appeared on US paper currency between 1913-1918, and William E. Simon‘s between 1974-1977. McAdoo was later a US Senator from California. Simon was the father of 2002 Gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon.

Serving as Treasurer of the United States (the other signature on paper currency), Ivy Baker Priest‘s signature appeared on US paper currency between 1953-1961, while Rosario Marin‘s was there between 2001-2003. Priest was the California State Treasurer from 1967 to 1975. . Marin was a primary candidate for US Senate in 2004.


Dwight D. Eisenhower has appeared on two dollars; his Presidential Dollar Coin was issued in 2015 and he also appeared on the massive Eisenhower dollar (1971-1978) which is one of the most awesome coins ever minted.

John F. Kennedy appeared on a “Presidential $1 Coin” that was issued in 2015. Kennedy also currently appears on the half dollar coin (1964-Present).

Teddy Roosevelt appeared as part of Mount Rushmore on the “50 State Quarters” quarter for South Dakota.

Franklin D. Roosevelt also currently appears on the dime (1946-Present).

California’s Ratification of the 14th

With all the recent discussion of the role that the 14th Amendment played in the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, it might be worth a quick review of California’s history with the 14th.

The 14th Amendment was proposed by Congress on June 13, 1866. The issue was not taken up during the legislative sessions of 1867-68 or 1869-70, although they did pass a resolution rejecting the 15th Amendment.

It wasn’t until 90 years later that the 14th Amendment was finally ratified by California. In 1959, Assemblymen Bruce F. Allen and John C. Williamson introduced AJR 32, which provided for California’s ratification. The resolution passed 66-0 in the Assembly on April 24 and 29-0 in the Senate on May 6.

#iamlanterman – Who Was Frank Lanterman?

Frank Lanterman

Coming out of the Capitol earlier this week, I ran into a group protesting outside. Although it isn’t unusual to see a group protesting outside, I was fascinated by the signs they carried; “I am Lanterman.”


The Lanterman that they were referring to was the Lanterman Developmental Center, one of five Developmental Centers operated by the California Department of Developmental Services. The center, incidentally, was named for a person.

So who was Lanterman? Frank D. Lanterman was a Republican Assemblyman from La Canada Flintridge (it was called La Canada at the time) who served 28 years before retiring in 1978.

He is best remembered for authoring the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act of 1971, a bipartisan bill coauthored with Democratic legislators Alan Short and Nicholas Petris. The bill addressed overcrowding in California mental institutions by ending the involuntary commitment of the mentally ill, which had the consequence of shifting thousands of former patients out of state institutions.

Later legislation, the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Act (1977), expanded the protections that developmentally disabled persons enjoy.

Less famous was a different bill he authored, which required California’s Department of Mental Health “to plan, conduct and cause to be conducted scientific research into… the causes and cures of homosexuality, and into methods of identifying potential sex offenders.” The bill, coauthored with Democratic Senators Alan Short and Nicholas Petris remained state law until it was repealed in 2010 by Bonnie Lowenthal’s AB 2199.

As AB 2199 worked its way through the Legislature, only one legislator voted against the proposal. To put it a different way, the 75-1 vote in the Assembly and 36-0 vote in the Senate were a clear and complete repudiation of Lanterman’s bill.

That’s why it was so surprising to see the protesters with #IamLanterman signs. This place is fascinating.