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California State Senate. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Legislative Approval of an Memorandum of Understanding

Only in the Senate must a bill containing an MOU be ‘in print’

By Chris Micheli, September 22, 2022 6:37 am

The California Legislature is required to adopt a memorandum of understanding (MOU) through enactment of a bill, after the MOU has been negotiated and finalized between the Governor and the relevant bargaining unit of the state’s workforce. Neither the Assembly Rules nor the Joint Rules of the Senate and Assembly contain any provision for the adoption of an MOU.

However, Senate Rule 29.4 deals with “Bills Approving Memoranda of Understanding.” SR 29.4 provides: “The Senate may not pass a bill that approves a memorandum of understanding, for purposes of Section 3517.5 and following of the Government Code, until the final version of the subject memorandum of understanding is received by the Secretary of the Senate and made available for review for seven legislative days and its availability for review noted in the Senate Daily Journal for that period.”

Government Code Section 3517.5 provides: “If agreement is reached between the Governor and the recognized employee organization, they shall jointly prepare a written memorandum of such understanding which shall be presented, when appropriate, to the Legislature for determination.” So, there is a statutory requirement for the Legislature to approve the MOU, which is done so by enacting a bill.

As a result of this provision, only in the Senate must a bill containing an MOU be “in print” and available for public review for seven days before the bill is voted on by the Senate.

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