Physical Description: 455 file folders
Arranged chronologically by legislative session and numerically by bill number.
Scope and Content Note
Bill files created by Robert Presley document legislation he authored while serving as a member of the State Senate. An average
file may contain drafts of bills, analyses by committees and state agencies, comments by constituents or other interested
parties, notes by Presley and his staff, relevant background reports or newspaper articles, correspondence in support of or
opposed to legislation, veto messages, notices from the legislative counsel about related bills and other miscellaneous materials.
Depending on the extent of the bill file, they help reveal the legislator's intent for the measure.
Among his significant initiatives was a package of ten bills that proposed to reform the California's Corrections policy in
1991. The bills sought to redistribute the power at California prisons. In a press release from February13, 1991 Presley
stated, ". . . wardens have too much control and do not take enough direction from the Director to assure a standardized statewide
operation." Therefore, he introduced SB346 and SB345, which attempted to put medical and educational decisions at prisons
in the hands of professional physicians and educators. SB 343 proposed to require wardens to obtain a Master's Degree and
deputy wardens a Bachelor's Degree in an appropriate field such as criminology or business administration. Other bills focused
more on prisoners and their interactions with correctional officers. SB223 sought to extend Presley's SB1913 (Stats. 1988,
ch. 1579) which permitted prison officials to demand a prisoner be tested for AIDS if there is a possibility either an officer
or a fellow inmate may have contracted AIDS from that individual. Several bills proposed positive solutions to the state's
overcrowded prisons problem. SB187, the Community Offender Re-Entry Act, would provide judges and parole and probation officers
with more options than incarceration for the punishment of non-violent criminals. During his nineteen years as a Senator,
Presley maintained one of the greatest percentages of getting bills passed. However, nearly all of the bills in this prison
reform package failed to become law.
Presley was much more successful with other corrections legislation. He passed legislation to protect Peace Officers physically
by allowing them to carry weapons while off-duty (SB1445, Stats. 1982, ch.1086) and protected them from retaliation by making
their personal information confidential (SB241, Stats. 1984, ch. 399). Presley also focused on the Courts and in 1984 introduced
SB365 (Stats. 1984, ch. 1311) to increase the number of Superior Court Judges in several counties, including Riverside, in
order to decrease the 40-year case backlog. Presley continuously addressed the problem of overcrowded prisons in California
and in 1982 he proposed and passed two bills to build new prisons in southern California and northern California (SB1574,
ch. 1549; SB1609, ch.1548).
Presley regularly proposed unconventional solutions to society's chronic problems. One such example of this method was his
idea to help society cope with domestic violence. Every two-year session Presley introduced a bill that would increase marriage
license fees by about $5 to provide more funding for domestic abuse centers through out the state. For example, in 1982 he
introduced and passed SB1330 (1982, chaptered 522), which increased the fees to $13 then the following session Presley's SB1364
(1984, chaptered 112) further increased the fees to $19. He continued this pattern for the duration of his legislative term.
Presley's commitment to a cause he felt strongly about was characteristic of his political career.
1975-1976: SB203-SB2104; SCR38, SCR94; SJR11, SJR67 (16ff) LP220:30-45
1977-1978: SB56-SB2136; SCA20 (34ff) LP220:46-79
1979-1980: SB69-SB1982; SCA7, SCA17; SCR25, SCR52; SR25 (58ff) LP228:57-114
1981-1982: SB14-SB1988; SCR38, SCR39, SCR80; SJR36 (38ff) LP347:1-38
1983-1984: SB21-SB2278; SCA10; SCR48-85; SR43 (36ff) LP347:39-74
1985-1986: SB3-SB2562; SCR34-SCR56; SJR13, SJR28 (57ff) LP347:75-131
1987-1988: SB4-SB2868; SCR43-105; SJR15; SR39 (48ff) LP347:132-179
1989-1990: SB4-SB2882; SCR23-45; SJR65-74; SR62 (69ff) LP347:180-248
1991-1992: SB5-SB1958; SCA29; SCR39-83; SJR26, SJR55 (52ff) LP347:249-300
1993-1994: SB5-SB2056; SCA19; SCR52; SJR18-SJR26; SR29; SB13X-SB44X (47ff) LP347:301-347