This text delivers the essential concepts and details students need to understand how California's political system works. The thoroughly revised third edition retains and builds on all the strengths of the first two editions, including tightly organized chapters, information-packed visuals, and contemporary examples that illustrate the immediacy of state politics. New to this edition: *Thoroughly updated text, tables, and figures reflect recent demographic and electoral trends, ballot initiatives, state laws, and U.S. Supreme Court decisions, including the Prop 8 ruling, legislative term limits reform, and simple majority rules for passing the annual budget. *Greater attention to the role of special interest groups in the state's policymaking process, including their lobbying efforts. *Coverage of policy responses to current political issues and solutions including higher education budget cuts, prison realignment, and the implementation of AB32's "cap-and-trade" program for greenhouse gases.