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Saving v. Grandfathering Clauses

They are both types of transitional provisions found in legislation

By Chris Micheli, January 31, 2023 7:04 am

What is the difference between a saving clause and a grandfathering clause? They are both types of transitional provisions found in legislation.

A saving clause is generally used to retain an existing right or authority that would otherwise be affected by a new law. In essence, the saving provision preserves the right or authority despite the new law’s amendment or a repeal of the former law.

On the other hand, the term “grandfathering” is defined by the California Office of Legislative Counsel as “a legal exemption whereby a situation is governed by an old law while a new law applies to all future, similar situations.”

 According to other states’ bill drafting manuals, a saving clause is used to exempt existing rights, obligations, or procedures from a new law’s provisions, thereby limiting the application of the bill when it becomes law. Moreover, a saving clause provides a means to enforce rights or redress injury, or correct or modify an existing law when the existing remedy is inadequate.

A grandfathering clause is a form of a saving clause that makes a statutory change inapplicable to persons whose rights were established, or to situations that occurred, before the date of the law change. A grandfathering clause usually applies for a short period of time.

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