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Required Review of Regulations Under AB 1996

It is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that state agencies focus more efficiently and directly on their duties

By Chris Micheli, March 7, 2022 2:39 am

Assembly Member Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) introduced Assembly Bill 1996 to require state agency to review existing regulations. AB 1996 would add and repeal Chapter 3.6 (commencing with Section 11366) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

California’s Administrative Procedure Act (APA) authorizes executive branch state agencies to adopt, amend, or repeal regulations. In addition, under the APA, the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) to initiate a priority review of existing regulations when requested by a committee of the Legislature, as specified.

AB 1996 would require each state agency to, on or before January 1, 2026, review that agency’s regulations, identify any regulations that are duplicative, overlapping, inconsistent, or out of date, to revise those identified regulations, as provided, and report to the Legislature and Governor, as specified. The bill would repeal these provisions on January 1, 2027.

The bill would add Chapter 3.6, titled “Regulatory Reform.” Article 1 would provide three legislative findings and declarations, including that the APA does not expressly require agencies to individually review their regulations to identify overlapping, inconsistent, duplicative, or out-of-date regulations that may exist.

Article 2 would provide definitions for Chapter 3.6, including defining the terms “state agency” and “regulation.” Article 3 would provide state agency duties, including the requirement by January 1, 2026 that each state agency must:

  • Review all provisions of the California Code of Regulations adopted by that state agency.
  • Identify any regulations that are duplicative, overlapping, inconsistent, or out of date.
  • Adopt, amend, or repeal regulations to reconcile or eliminate any duplication, overlap, inconsistencies, or out-of-date provisions.
  • Hold at least one noticed public hearing, which shall be noticed on the internet website of the state agency, for the purposes of accepting public comment on proposed revisions to its regulations.
  • Notify the appropriate policy and fiscal committees of each house of the Legislature of the revisions to regulations that the state agency proposes to make at least 30 days prior to initiating the process.
  • Report to the Governor and the Legislature on the state agency’s compliance with this chapter, including the number and content of regulations the state agency identifies as duplicative, overlapping, inconsistent, or out of date, and the state agency’s actions to address those regulations.

In addition, each agency would be required by January 1, 2026 to notify a department, board, or other unit within that agency of any existing regulations adopted by that department, board, or other unit that the agency has determined may be duplicative, overlapping, or inconsistent with a regulation adopted by another department, board, or other unit within that agency.

Thereafter, a department, board, or other unit within an agency would be required to notify that agency of revisions to regulations that it proposes to make at least 90 days prior to a noticed public hearing. In addition, the agency would be required to review the proposed regulations and make recommendations to the department, board, or other unit within 30 days of receiving the notification regarding any duplicative, overlapping, or inconsistent regulation of another department, board, or other unit within the agency.

Moreover, it is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that state agencies focus more efficiently and directly on their duties as prescribed by law so as to use scarce public dollars more efficiently to implement the law, while achieving equal or improved economic and public benefits. Article 4 would provide for Chapter 3.6 to remain in effect only until January 1, 2027, and as of that date would be repealed.

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