Home>Articles>Using the Correct Reference in California Bills and Statutes

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

Using the Correct Reference in California Bills and Statutes

Using the correct terminology can be confusing

By Chris Micheli, April 7, 2022 6:31 am

One of the confusing aspects of describing provisions in statutes and in bills is using the correct terminology.

For bills, there are only sections. Section 1 of a bill is always written as SECTION 1. All other remaining sections of a bill are written as SEC. 2. Whether the bill has codified or uncodified language, only sections are used. As a result, when describing the provisions of a bill, a reader will refer to the section number of a bill.

For statutes, all of which fall under one of the 29 Codes, there are sections, subdivisions, paragraphs, and subparagraphs. And, each of these designations uses either a letter or number. The following are the terms associated with their letters or numbers:

Section 1234. – the code section always has a number

Subdivision (a) – the subdivision comes next and uses a lower-case letter in parentheses

Paragraph (1) – the paragraph comes next and uses a number in parentheses

Subparagraph (A) – the subparagraph comes next and uses a capital-letter in parentheses

Subparagraph (i) – the next subparagraph uses a Roman numeral in parentheses

As a result, when describing the provisions of a statute, a reader will refer to the specific provision based upon the section and whether there is a subdivision, paragraph, or even subparagraph. When reading the reference, one would say, for example, Government Code Section 1234(a)(1)(A). However, when Legislative Counsel drafts a statute or amendment to a statute, it will write: subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 1234.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Spread the news:

 RELATED ARTICLES

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.