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General Guidance in Reading the California Government Code

California’s statutes are contained in 29 separate codes; he Government Code is the thirteenth

By Chris Micheli, June 21, 2022 10:51 am

California’s statutes are contained in 29 separate codes. The thirteenth alphabetically is the Government Code. All 29 Codes have general provisions applicable to reading and interpreting that Code’s sections. The following are selected general provisions of the Government Code:

Section 1 – This Act is known as the Government Code.

Section 2 – The provisions of this Code in so far as they are substantially the same as existing statutory provisions relating to the same subject matter are to be construed as restatements and continuations, and not as new enactments.

Section 5 – Unless the provision or the context otherwise requires, these general provisions, rules of construction, and definitions govern the construction of this Code.

Section 6 – Title, division, part, chapter, article, and section headings do not in any manner affect the scope, meaning, or intent of the provisions of this Code.

Section 7 – Whenever a power is granted to, or a duty is imposed upon, a public officer, the power may be exercised or the duty may be performed by a deputy of the officer or by a person authorized, pursuant to law, by the officer, unless this Code expressly provides otherwise.

Section 8 – Writing includes any form of recorded message capable of comprehension by ordinary visual means. Whenever any notice, report, statement, or record is required or authorized by this Code, it must be made in writing in the English language unless it is expressly provided otherwise.

Section 9 – Whenever reference is made to any portion of this Code or of any other law of this State, the reference applies to all amendments and additions now or later made.

Section 11 – The present tense includes the past and future tenses; and the future tense includes the present.

Section 12 – The masculine gender includes the feminine and neuter.

Section 12.2 – The term “spouse” includes “registered domestic partner.”

Section 12.5 – The Legislature hereby declares its intent that the terms “man” or “men” where appropriate are deemed “person” or “persons” and any references to the terms “man” or “men” in sections of this Code be changed to “person” or “persons” when the Code sections are being amended for any purpose. This act is declaratory and not amendatory of existing law.

Section 13 – The singular number includes the plural, and the plural the singular.

Section 14 – The term “shall” is mandatory and “may” is permissive.

Section 15 – The term “oath” includes affirmation.

Section 17 – The term “person” includes any person, firm, association, organization, partnership, limited liability company, business trust, corporation, or company.

Section 23 – If any provision of this Code, or the application of it to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the remainder of the Code, or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances, are not to be affected.

Section 24 – The Legislature declares its intent that the term “workmen’s compensation” is to be known as “workers’ compensation.” In furtherance of this policy, it is the desire of the Legislature that references to the term “workmen’s compensation” in this Code be changed to “workers’ compensation” when the Code sections are being amended for any purpose. This act is declaratory and not amendatory of existing law.

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