How California State Roads and Bridges Get Named Via the Legislative Resolution Process
Typically, the naming of a state public facility in honor of an individual, group or historical event is accomplished via a nonbinding joint, or concurrent, resolution of both houses of the California state legislature.
If the resolution originates in the Assembly, it is designated as Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. [X], or ACR [X]; if it originates in the Senate, it is designated as Senate Concurrent Resolution No. [X], or SCR [X].
Each house has its own Transportation Committee, and these committees have joint administrative responsibility for shepherding a naming resolution through the legislature.
Broadly speaking, the path to adoption is as follows:
1 >>> A naming resolution is introduced in a given legislative house and is referred to the Transportation committee of that house. The committee for each house has a naming policy requiring that any naming resolution conform to a set of requirements, in order to be considered further. The latest versions of these policies are: Assembly here. Senate here.
2 >>> Provided that the Transportation Committee of, say, the Assembly considers and approves the proposed resolution, the committee passes the resolution to the full Assembly.
3 >>> If the full Assembly considers and approves the proposed resolution, the Assembly passes the resolution to the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.
4 >>> If the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee considers and approves the proposed resolution, the committee passes the resolution to the full Senate.
5 >>> If the full Senate considers and approves the proposed resolution, the resolution is adopted — including a request that the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) provide an estimate for the cost of fabricating and installing any signs, and that, once these funds are raised privately, Caltrans install the signs.
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Before any of this can happen, of course, a naming resolution must be sponsored by one or more members of the state legislature.
According to the naming policies of the Senate and Assembly transportation committees...
The author or co-author of the measure must represent the district in which the facility is located....
The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge lies within multiple Assembly and Senate districts — one Assembly and one Senate district on the Western “side,” and one Assembly and one Senate district on the Eastern “side.”
Most likely, a naming resolution for the entire Bay Bridge will need to be sponsored by at least one lawmaker from each “side,” in order to follow the legislature's naming policies to the letter.
Currently, the representatives of the relevant districts are:
Senate District 11 — Senator Scott Wiener
Assembly District 17 — Assemblymember David Chiu
Senate District 9 — Senator Nancy Skinner
Assembly District 18 — Assemblymember Rob Bonta
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Bearing in mind that it can be easier to build political support for enacting a honorary gesture such as a naming when the naming can be pegged to a significant anniversary...
The next, most fitting opportunity for introducing a resolution to name the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge for Emperor Norton is 2018 — the 200th anniversary of the birth of Emperor Norton.
If The Emperor’s Bridge Campaign chooses to use the resolution process, we will seek to sponsor or co-sponsor this resolution.