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What Is a Substantive Change in the Law?

A substantive or nonsubstantive change in law has several implications

By Chris Micheli, September 11, 2022 8:31 am

Whether a bill proposes to make a substantive or nonsubstantive change in law has several implications. For example, with an introduced bill, a nonsubstantive bill is referred to as a “spot bill” and cannot be referred to a policy committee for consideration until a substantive change in law is made by that bill. In addition, with an amended bill, a substantive amendment may result in the amended bill being re-referred to a policy committee in either house of the Legislature.

Is this a substantive change in the law?

This section shall not be construed to does not place any person dealing with the corporation on notice of, or under any duty to inquire about, the existence or content of a statement filed pursuant to this section.

No, because this reflects the active voice, rather than the passive voice.

In this a substantive change in the law?

The Secretary of State shall not file articles setting forth a name in which “bank,” “trust,” “trustee,” or related words appear, unless the certificate of approval of the Commissioner of Business Oversight Financial Protection and Innovation is attached thereto.

No, because it reflects the correct name of the state entity.

In this a substantive change in the law?

Any director may resign effective upon giving written notice to the chairman chairperson of the board, the president, the secretary or the board of directors of the corporation, unless the notice specifies a later time for the effectiveness of such resignation. If the resignation is effective at a future time, a successor may be elected to take office when the resignation becomes effective.

No, because it reflects the requirement that the Office of Legislative Counsel use gender-neutral drafting, and the attorneys at OLC update existing statutes to reflect that requirement.

Is this a substantive change in the law?

The Secretary of State may cancel the filing of articles if a check or other remittance accepted in payment of the filing fee or franchise tax is not paid upon presentation. Upon Within 90 days of receiving written notification that the item presented for payment has not been honored for payment, the Secretary of State shall give written notice of the applicability of this section and the cancellation date which shall be not less than 20 days from the date of mailing the written notice as certified by the Secretary of State, to the agent for service of process or to the person submitting the instrument.

Yes, because current law does not specify a time certain for receiving the written notification, but this change in law would require the notification to be received within 90 days.

Is this a substantive change in the law?

This section shall not be construed to does not place any person dealing with the corporation on notice of, or under any duty to inquire about, the existence or content of a statement filed pursuant to this section.

No, because it reflects modern bill drafting that uses the active voice, rather than the passive voice.

Is this a substantive change in the law?

By July 1, 20192023, a health insurer shall develop a maternal mental health program designed to promote quality and cost-effective outcomes.

Yes, because it changes the date by which a program must be designed.

Is this a substantive change in the law?

The department may shall not adopt any regulations pursuant to this section that impose any requirements or conditions that are in addition to, or more stringent than, the requirements and conditions expressly authorized by this section.

No, because the words “may not” reflect the passive voice, and the words “shall not” reflect the active voice, which is the modern approach to legislative drafting.

Is this a substantive change in the law?

The heading of Article 3 (commencing with Section 42464) of Chapter 8.5 of Part 3 of Division 30 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

Article 3. Covered Electronic Waste Recycling Fees and Covered Battery-Embedded Waste Recycling Fees

Yes, because changing a heading in a Code makes a substantive change in the law, even though the change is technical in nature.

Is this a substantive change in the law?

Six dollars ($6) for each covered electronic device device, as defined in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (g) of Section 42463with a screen size of less than 15 inches measured diagonally.

Yes, because the citation to an existing statute creates a specific definition of the word “device.”

Is this a substantive change in the law?

(b) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2017.

Maybe. If the date has already passed, then removing this subdivision simply removes unnecessary statutory language.

Is this a substantive change in the law?

The department shall make funds available at the same time it makes funds, if any, available under the Multifamily Housing Program (Chapter 6.7 (commencing with Section 50675) of Part 2)50675)).

Yes, because the additional reference to Part 2 is unnecessary since only the section reference is required when making a cross-reference within the same Code.

Is this a substantive change in the law?

The court may permit the defendant to withdraw his or her  their  plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty, or, if he or she  the defendant  has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty, and, in either case, the court shall thereupon  dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant and he or she shall thereafter  the defendant shall  be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has  they have  been convicted, except as provided in Section 13555 of the Vehicle Code.

No. There are several changes to comport the section to gender-neutral drafting, as well as elimination of several “legalese” words (i.e., thereupon, thereafter).

Is this a substantive change in the law?

If, after receiving notice pursuant to subdivision (e)(f), the prosecuting attorney fails to appear and object to a petition for dismissal, the prosecuting attorney may shall not move to set aside or otherwise appeal the grant of that petition.

No, and yes. The first change is not, because it simply corrects an updated subdivision reference. The second is yes, because change the discretionary word “may” to the mandatory word “shall” is a substantive change in the law.

Is this a substantive change in the law?

“Clinical laboratory” means any a place used, or any an establishment or institution organized or operated, for the performance of clinical laboratory tests or examinations or the practical application of the clinical laboratory sciences. That application may include any means that applies the clinical laboratory sciences.

No, because it merely updates the section to reflect current drafting guidance to eliminate the word “any” and instead use “a” or “an.”

Is this a substantive change in the law?

The department shall establish guidelines for the collection of employer-sponsored child care  childcare  benefit payments from a parent whose child receives subsidized child care  childcare  and development services. These guidelines shall provide for the collection of the full amount of the benefit payment, but not to exceed the actual cost of child care  childcare  and development services provided, notwithstanding the applicable fee based on the fee schedule.

No, because the word childcare is being changed to a single word, rather than two words.

Is this a substantive change in the law?

The court shall may order the minor or the minor’s estate to pay that restitution to the probation officer of the county for disbursement to the owner or possessor of the property or both, to the extent the only if the court determines that the minor or the minor’s estate have the ability to do so, except in any case in which the court makes a finding and states on the record its reasons why full restitution would be inappropriate. If full restitution is found to be inappropriate, the court shall may require the minor to perform specified community service, except in any case in which the court makes a finding and states on the record its reasons why that condition would be inappropriate.

Yes, the first and third changes are substantive because they change the mandatory “shall” into the discretionary “may.” However, the second change is not because it reflects modern drafting principles.

Is this a substantive change in the law?

“Pest” means includes American foulbrood or any other infectious disease, parasite, pest, or hereditary disease.

No, because it reflects the preferred language in a definition section.

Is this a substantive change in the law?

An electronic data transmission prescription is not available unavailable due to a temporary technological or electrical failure.

No, because it merely modernizes the term used.

Is this a substantive change in the law?

A telephone medical advice service shall comply with all directions and requests for information made by the departmentDepartment of Consumer Affairs and respective healing arts licensing boards.

Maybe. While the word department is being removed and replaced with the full name of the department, as well as its licensing boards, the current word “department” could be interpreted to include all boards which come under the department. 

Is this a substantive change in the law?

“Prohibited violation” has the same meaning as that term is defined in Section 629.51.

Yes, because the bill is adding new definition that is not a part of the existing code.

Is this a substantive change in the law?

The terms of any postadoption contact agreement with birth relatives, including siblings, other than the child’s birth parent or parents or siblingsshall be limited to the sharing of information about the child, unless the child has a preexisting relationship with the birth relative.

No, because the same term was simply moved to a different location in the code section without changing its meaning or effect.

Is this a substantive change in the law?

Except as provided in Section 31663.26, a safety member who has reached the applicable compulsory age of retirement, if any, or a safety member who has completed 10 years of continuous service and who has reached the age of 50, or a safety member who has completed 20 years of service regardless of age, may be retired upon filing with the board a written application setting forth the date upon which the member desires his or her  the member’s  retirement to become effective which shall be not more than 60 days after the date of filing the applicationeffective. The effective retirement date shall not be either of the following:

(1) Earlier than the date the application is filed with the board.

(2) More than 60 days after the date of filing the application or more than a number of days that has been approved by the board.

Yes, because even though the 60-day provision was reworded and made a different subdivision, an additional threshold was added.

Is this a substantive change in the law?

Optional settlement 1 consists of the right to elect in writing to have a retirement allowance paid him or her until his or her  to the member until the member’s  death and, if he or she  the member  dies before he or she receives  receiving  in annuity payments the amount of his or her  the member’s  accumulated contributions at retirement, to have the balance at death paid to his or her  the member’s  estate or to the natural  person, having an insurable interest in his or her  the member’s  life, as he or she  the member  nominates by written designation duly executed and filed with the board.

No, all of these changes are all nonsubstantive and are primarily to conform to gender neutral drafting requirements.

Is this a substantive change in the law?

This subdivision may shall not be construed to affect the requirements of subdivision (d) of Section 84362.

No, because the change reflects the active voice.

Is this a substantive change in the law?

The State Fire Marshal shall adopt hazardous liquid pipeline safety regulations in compliance with the federal law relating to hazardous liquid pipeline safety, including, but not limited to, compliance orders, penalties, and inspection and maintenance provisions, and including amendments to those laws and regulations which that may be hereafter enacted and adopted. Regulations adopting the minimum standards for hazardous liquid pipelines contained in the Federal federal Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Act, 49  Act of 1979 (49 U.S.C. Sec. 2001 60101 et seq., seq.),  and Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, by the State Fire Marshal are exempt from the procedures specified in Article 5 (commencing with Section 11346) of Chapter 3.5 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code2 except that those regulations shall be submitted to the Office of Administrative Law for filing with the Secretary of State and publication in the California Code of Regulations.

No, because these are all technical chance, such as correcting references to state and federal statutes.

Is this a substantive change in the law?

The pressure tests required by subdivisions (b), (c), and (d) of Section 51013.5 shall be conducted in accordance with Subpart E (commencing with Section 195.300) of Part 195 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, except that an additional four-hour leak test, as specified in subsection (c) of Section 195.302 Section 195.302(c) of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, shall not be required under subdivisions (b), (c), and (d) of Section 51013.5. The State Fire Marshal may authorize the use of liquid petroleum having a flashpoint over 140 degrees Fahrenheit or 60 degrees Centigrade as the test medium. The State Fire Marshal shall make these authorizations in writing. Pressure tests performed under subdivisions (b), (c), and (d) of Section 51013.5 shall not show an hourly change for each section of the pipeline under test at the time in excess of either 10 gallons or the sum of one gallon and an amount computed at a rate in gallons per mile equivalent to one-tenth of the nominal internal diameter of the pipe in inches.

No and yes. The first change is technical, but the second one is substantive because it repeals a provision of existing law.

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