It started out with a simple enough question; “How many people have served in the California State Legislature?”
While it seems like it would be easy enough to answer (after all, the identities of state legislators is hardly a secret), the answer took some time to find. As it turned out, the weeks it took to find that answer made it much easier to find a flood of other answers about that part of state history.
Finding out how many people served in the California Legislature required knowing
- A) How many people served in the Senate,
- B) How many people served in the Assembly, and
- C) How many people served in both.
After a lot of research to identify different people with similar names (sometimes fathers and sons, sometimes people who weren’t related) and people listed with different names in the two houses (like Assemblywoman Elaine W. Alquist and Senator Elaine K. Alquist), we had a pretty solid place to start.
The database was later expanded to include what house legislators served in during each session, their political affiliation, gender, and which term limits law they fell under.
The end result was the legislative facts and statistics booklet available at the link below.
It includes; the longest serving legislators, the longest gaps in service, how many years of prior legislative experience the members of different sessions had, and the legislators elected with the most and fewest votes in the past 15 years.