California Counties

California Charter Counties

Charter counties:

  • have a limited degree of "home rule" authority that may provide for the election, compensation, terms, removal, and salary of the governing board
  • for the election or appointment (except the sheriff, district attorney, and assessor who must be elected), compensation, terms, and removal of all county officers
  • for the powers and duties of all officers
  • consolidation and segregation of county offices.
  • does not give county officials extra authority over local regulations, revenue-raising abilities, budgetary decisions, or intergovernmental relations.

Charter Counties: Alameda, Butte, El Dorado, Fresno, Los Angeles, Orange, Placer, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Tehama

Two Types of California Counties - What are They?

General Law is one type of California county. The other type is Charter. There are currently 45 general law counties and 13 charter counties. A county may adopt, amend, or repeal a charter with majority vote approval. A new charter or the amendment or repeal of an existing charter may be proposed by the Board of Supervisors, a charter commission, or an initiative petition. The provisions of a charter are the law of the state and have the force and effect of legislative enactments. 


For Tourism and Travel Purposes, the State of California is also divided into 12 regions that conveniently represent geographic bounds of either counties or natural features such as deserts, mountains and bays.  See the California Regions Map.



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California Counties