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Layering Penalties or Remedies in California Bills

What is the purpose of the language?

By Chris Micheli, March 31, 2022 11:19 am

On occasion, a bill in the California Legislature will propose a new penalty or a new remedy to be added to state statute. The following are examples of language that a reader might see in a bill:

A civil penalty imposed pursuant to this section shall be in addition to any other civil or criminal penalty, including prosecution pursuant to Section 11366.5 of the Health and Safety Code.

The remedies or penalties provided in this section are cumulative to the remedies or penalties available under all other state or local laws.

What is the purpose of the language in these two examples? The first example would impose a new civil (rather than criminal) penalty. The quotes language above makes clear that the new civil penalty is in addition to any other civil or criminal penalty that may also be pursued. As a result, this new civil penalty can be pursued above and beyond the other penalties that are available under current law.

The second example would allow the new remedies or penalties to be in addition to any existing state or even local laws. Because the new remedies or penalties are “cumulative,” they can be added to the remedies or penalties that are available under current law.

In order to ensure that those who pursue new remedies or penalties know that the new ones are in addition to existing ones, the language found in the above examples is used in a statute to make clear that the new provisions of law are in addition to those under existing law.

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