We know that, absent bills that take effect immediately, new statutes in California take effective on January 1, following their enactment the previous year. But, when do regulations take effect in this state?
Government Code Section 11343.4, which is part of California’s Administrative Procedure Act (APA), answers this question. This code section provides that a regulation or an order of repeal required to be filed with the Secretary of State becomes effective on a quarterly basis as follows:
- January 1 if the regulation or order of repeal is filed on September 1 to November 30, inclusive.
- April 1 if the regulation or order of repeal is filed on December 1 to February 29, inclusive.
- July 1 if the regulation or order of repeal is filed on March 1 to May 31, inclusive.
- October 1 if the regulation or order of repeal is filed on June 1 to August 31, inclusive.
However, the above effective dates do not apply in the following instances:
- The effective date is specifically provided by the statute pursuant to which the regulation or order of repeal was adopted, in which event it becomes effective on the day prescribed by the statute.
- A later date is prescribed by the state agency in a written instrument filed with, or as part of, the regulation or order of repeal.
- The agency makes a written request to the office demonstrating good cause for an earlier effective date, in which case the office may prescribe an earlier date.
- Certain regulations adopted by the Fish and Game Commission.
So, in California, regulations generally take effect once per quarter, which enables the regulated community to have a more predictable schedule for compliance with state agency rulemaking.
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