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California Codes Are Updated by Office of Legislative Counsel

The efforts of Legislative Counsel attorneys include gender neutral drafting and making statements less ‘legalistic’ and more affirmative in nature

By Chris Micheli, November 12, 2021 2:15 am

One of the roles of the Office of Legislative Counsel in California is to update provisions of California’s 29 Codes (beginning with the Business and Professions Code and ending with the Welfare and Institutions Code) which contain more than half a million sections of law. These 29 Codes are where enacted bills (that create statutes) can be found.

As part of the important bill and amendment drafting that the Legislative Counsel attorneys complete each Legislative Session, the attorneys at the OLC make technical changes to existing laws to update the Codes to reflect current statutory language norms. As you might imagine, many of these changes that are cited below can often be dependent upon the context in which they are used.

Nonetheless, the efforts of Legislative Counsel attorneys include gender neutral drafting and making statements less “legalistic” and more affirmative in nature. The following are examples of some of the more common technical changes that readers will find in current bills that make their way through the legislative process in California:

prior to before 

which that 

California  the state  

his or her  their 

such the 

Internet Web site. internet website

The provisions of this subdivision are This subdivision is

No A bond shall not

the 15th of June  June 15 

Nothing in this part shall  This part does not  

Whether or not,  Whether, 

It is recommended that every  Every

made application  applied

Nothing in this section shall be construed to  This section does not

where if 

In order to  To  

In no case shall compensation Compensation shall not

and/or or 

Persons riding bicycles are  A person riding a bicycle is

electronic-mail email

ombudsman ombudsperson

such as  including

chairman chair 

minor children  children under 18 years of age  and

must shall 

telephonically, by telephone

not appropriate  inappropriate

not eligible  ineligible 

policeman police officer, 

hereunder  under this chapter 

woman person

provided herein  pursuant to this section

10 U.S.C. Section 101(d). Section 101(d) of Title 10 of the United States Code. 

July 1 annually  of each year 

shall be  is eligible

shall require  requires

motorman operator 

for a two-year period  two years

These examples become amendments to the Codes in which they are found once the bill is enacted. In other words, Legislative Counsel attorneys cannot make even these purely technical changes to Code sections without a bill containing them being passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor. Hence, if the bill does not get enacted, then any recommended technical changes to existing Code sections do not get enacted either.

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