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Center for California Studies

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Research & Civic Engagement

The Center is committed to assisting California’s public officials and policymakers in addressing the state’s challenges through policy research and productive dialogue. This includes but is not limited to involvement with a number of one-time programs and projects that advance research and productive dialogue. The Center also co-sponsors various conferences and symposia, political debates, and other public events.

California Journal of Politics and Policy

The California Journal of Politics and Policy (CJPP) is an online journal of original scholarship, focusing on state and local politics, public policy formation and implementation, especially in the Golden State. The Journal is administered by the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento (Sacramento State); the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California-Berkeley remains a partner. The CJPP provides timely insights and historical and comparative perspective on a wide range of issues and topics. Professor Edward (Ted) Lascher at Sacramento State serves as the Journal’s editor and Professor Wesley Hussey at Sacramento State serves as its associate editor. Center for Studies Director Leonor Ehling and Judicial Fellowship Director Megan Thorall contribute to Journal administration. The Editorial Board and contributors consist of leading scholars and professional experts.

Current and Back Issues of the California Journal of Politics and Policy

California Journal of Politics and Policy, Volume 14, Issue 1, 2022

Legislative Staff Management Institute

The Legislative Staff Management Institute (LSMI) is one of many legislative staff development programs offered annually by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

LSMI is designed specifically for senior legislative staff members (non-partisan and partisan alike) as well as those on their way to such positions. The purpose of LSMI is to develop and enhance leadership and management skills for top and up-and-coming legislative staffers. LSMI curriculum focuses on the practical application of concepts and tools that legislative staff can use to meet the increasingly complex policy and management demands that confront state legislatures throughout the country.

Application is closed for the 2022 Program


LSMI curriculum emphasizes learning by doing, with practical application of skills for effective communication, team building, negotiation, conflict resolution and creating professionalism based on core values of representative democracy. LSMI faculty are nationally recognized experts with extensive professional experience as well as research-based knowledge.

The week-long Institute is held at the USC State Capital Center, a few blocks from the state Capitol. The curriculum has five major components:

  • Interactive seminars with experience-based learning for eight days
  • Distance learning prior to and after the program through the internet
  • Legislative content specific to current issues and staff
  • Management processes for leadership and personal growth
  • Group activities outside the classroom

Faculty Research Fellows Program

The Faculty Research Fellows Program (FRFP) links the policy research resources of the California State University with the policy research needs of the legislative and executive branches of state government.

Since its inception in 1994-95, FRFP has distributed more than $700,000, funding 60 separate research projects completed by more than 70 individual CSU faculty from 13 different CSU campuses.

Requests for Proposals (RFPs) (ended May 27, 2022)

Income and Wealth Inequality in California: Potential Policy Solutions

Food apartheid in California: what are the root causes of food apartheid, its effects on the communities living in them, and policy implications for ending food inaccessibility

High-growth/high-equality economies: what do they have in common?

Eviction: What do we know about the long-term costs of eviction and successful eviction intervention programs?

Racial disparities in child welfare systems: Does blind-removal hold promise for helping California address overrepresentation of certain groups of children among child removal cases?

Complete list of FRFP Reports

California Elections Data Archive

The California Elections Data Archive (CEDA) is the only statewide database that collects, tabulates and reports candidate and ballot measure results for all local elections.

CEDA reports include all candidates, their ballot designations and vote totals as well as all ballot measures, their ballot summary information and vote totals. Ballot measures are also classified by type and topic.

CEDA is a partnership between the Center, the Institute of Social Research (ISR) at Sacramento State, and the California Secretary of State.

These reports are available through the Secretary of State’s office.

Visiting Scholar Program

As part of its work in promoting California policy research and productive dialogue, each year the Center selects a Visiting Scholar who is involved in scholarship on a relevant California topic.

The Visiting Scholar is involved in the intellectual life at Sacramento State, and produces a research paper on a specified policy question. The Visiting Scholar presents his or her research to faculty and students on campus, and later at a half-day public symposium for the Capital community.

Costs of the symposium are funded from a generous endowment by Don and Beverly Gerth.

Scholars’ Research

Oral History Program

The California State Government Oral History Program’s (CSGOHP) objective is to provide “through the use of oral history a continuing documentation of state policy development as reflected in California’s legislative and executive history.”

The Center works with the State Archivist to select individuals (usually retired California legislators or executive branch officials) to be interviewed. To date, over 200 oral histories have been completed.

Explore oral histories