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The Legislative Bill Room, California State Capitol. (Photo: ca.gov)

What Is the Order of Items in a Bill Title?

California’s Constitution requires each bill to have a title

By Chris Micheli, December 14, 2022 6:51 am

California’s Constitution, in Article IV, Section 9, requires 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.”

The title provides a description of the bill. As a general rule, a bill title begins with the phrase, “an act to ___ (amend, add, repeal).” The practice in California and many other states is to include the references to code sections and whether the bill adds, amends or repeals those code sections. The title of a bill should designate the subject of the bill in general terms, not in detail.

The bill’s title usually ends with the Relating Clause, such as “…Code, relating to local government finance.” This language expresses the subject of the bill in its title. With certain types of bills, however, additional phrases will be specified after the Relating Clause.

The following are examples of provisions that could be found after the Relating Clause:

  • Tax Levy: …to take effect immediately, tax levy.
  • Appropriation: …making an appropriation therefor.
  • Urgency Clause: … declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.
  • Calling an election: …calling an election, to take effect immediately.
  • Budget or budget trailer bill: … making an appropriation therefor, to take effect immediately, bill related to the budget.
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2 thoughts on “What Is the Order of Items in a Bill Title?

  1. And Democrats REGULARLY twist these titles around 180 degrees to mislead people where yes means no, no means yes. and up means down…
    Most contemporary Democrats are pathological liars.. especially Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta….
    If they’re breathing and speaking and writing, they’re lying….

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