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What Is the ‘Order of Enumeration?’

There is a requirement for each bill to have a title

By Chris Micheli, October 17, 2022 6:44 am

Pursuant to Article IV, Section 9 of the California Constitution, there is a requirement for each bill to have a title. The constitutional provision states: “A statute shall embrace but one subject, which shall be expressed in its title. If a statute embraces a subject not expressed in its title, only the part not expressed is void. A statute may not be amended by reference to its title.”

In addition, Joint Rule 7 provides: “The title of every bill introduced shall convey an accurate idea of the contents of the bill and shall indicate the scope of the act and the object to be accomplished. In amending a code section, the mere reference to the section by number is not deemed sufficient.”

Joint Rule 8 also provides: “A bill amending more than one section of an existing law shall contain a separate section for each section amended. Bills that are not amendatory of existing laws shall be divided into short sections, where this can be done without destroying the sense of any particular section, to the end that future amendments may be made without the necessity of setting forth and repeating sections of unnecessary length.”

As a result of these provisions, when a bill would amend, add, or repeal a specified section of a Code, the Title of the bill will read as follows: “An act to amend [or add; or repeal] Section ___ of ___ Code.” Of course, a bill could also do a combination of those actions, such as: amend and repeal; or amend, add, and repeal.

This is called the general order of enumerating in the title of a bill. And the order of enumeration in California is specifically: amend, add, and repeal. As a result, the order is to list first the section(s) amended, then the section(s) added, and finally the section(s) repealed. Hence, the “order of enumeration” is “amend, add, and repeal.”

It is important to remember that the order of enumeration is followed regardless of the numerical order of the sections between those categories. So, for example, if a section being amended is a higher or lower number than the section being added or repealed, the order of enumeration is still used. Here is an example:

When Section 100 of a code is being amended, Section 60 is being added, and existing Section 150 is being repealed, the Title’s order of enumeration will be the following: “An act to amend Section 100 of, to add Section 60 to, and to repeal Section 150 of, ___ Code.”

For a bill that would amend more than one section of a code, add more than one section to the code, and repeal more than once section of the code, the Title’s order of enumeration will be the following: “An act to amend Sections 100, 300, and 400 of, to add Sections 10, 20, and 30 to, and to repeal Sections 75, 85, and 150 of, ___ Code.”

For a bill that would deal with more than one code, the codes are set forth in the title of the bill in alphabetical order, and the sections affected by each code are then grouped together and enumerated as in the case of a bill amending, adding, or repealing the sections of one code only. An example is the following: “An act to amend Section 980 and repeal Section 981 of the Corporations Code, to amend Sections 80 and 90 of, and to add Section 85 and 95 to, and to repeal Section 100 and 105 of, the Government Code.”

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