Gov. Jerry Brown gave his 16th, and final, State of the State address, Jan. 25. Term limits prevent future governors from matching that record.
Why do we do a “State of the State” anyway?
According to Article 5, Section 2 of California’s first Constitution, “The governor shall report to the Legislature each calendar year on the condition of the state and may make recommendations.” That requirement is the basis for this annual event.
Early on, the governor’s main opportunity to make a high-profile speech was the inaugural address, since reporting the state’s condition was done in writing. But the inaugural address only happened every four years, making it an important but rare occasion. The inaugural even included a 19 gun salute and the state song, “I love You California,” but over the years, ceremonies were toned down. The yearly State of the State gradually took on more significance, even without cannon salutes.
The first report to the Legislature under the 1849 Constitution was presented by Gov. Peter Burnett. The governor said that “The population increased beyond all expectation – commerce extended – our ports filled with shipping from every nation and clime…” In some ways, little has changed.
On the other hand, he further said, “The federal government is one of limited delegated powers… yet outside that sphere and in reference to the reserved power of the states or the people, it has nothing to do.” Times have certainly changed.
Much like the State of the Union speech in Washington, the governor enters from the rear of the chamber and is greeted by applause while he shakes hands with legislators from both parties. Despite political differences, the event serves as a bipartisan reaffirmation of common heritage and shared belief in freedom and the rule of law.
Minority Floor Leader Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula, Valley Center and Vista.