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California Legislature’s Review of State Agencies

The California Legislature is required to review state agencies and their work

By Chris Micheli, June 16, 2022 11:55 am

Among their myriad of duties and powers, the California Legislature is required to review state agencies and their work pursuant to Government Code Title 2 (Government of the State of California), Division 2 (Legislative Department), Part 1 (Legislature), Chapter 1.5 (General), Article 8.5, which is titled “Legislative Review of State Boards” and contains Sections 9148.50 to 9148.52.

Article 8.5 was added in 2003 by Chapter 789. Section 9148.50 contains three legislative findings and declarations including that California’s government structure contains more than 400 categories of administrative or regulatory boards, commissions, committees, councils, associations, and authorities.” In addition, there is not “any method of periodically reviewing their necessity, effectiveness, or utility.”

Section 9148.51 provides that it is the intent of the Legislature that all state agencies are subject to review in order to evaluate and determine whether each agency has demonstrated a public need for its continued existence. The factors that are used to make that determination are set forth in Article 7.5 (commencing with Section 9147.7) of the Government Code.

In addition, if any state board or agency becomes inoperative or is repealed, any provision of existing law that provides for the appointment of board members and specifies the qualifications and tenure of board members is not to be implemented and thereafter has no force or effect while that state board is inoperative or repealed. The same requirement is imposed when any provision of law authorizes the appointment of an executive officer by a state board.

Section 9148.52 requires the Joint Sunset Review Committee to review all eligible agencies and for the joint committee to evaluate and make determinations pursuant to Article 7.5 (commencing with Section 9147.7). Moreover, the joint committee is required to make a report that is publicly available regarding whether an agency should be terminated, or continued, or whether its functions should be revised or consolidated with those of another agency. In addition, the joint committee must make any other recommendations necessary to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of state agencies.

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