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

Which Version of the Bill?

The Office of Legislative Counsel designates a bill

By Chris Micheli, September 20, 2022 10:03 am

Most Capitol observers would answer the question, “which version of the bill below is this?” with the following statement: “It is the August 15th version.” That is one answer, but it is not the answer that the Office of Legislative Counsel would provide.

20210SB38_89

And, so, you might ask, “Which version of the bill above is this, according to the Office of Legislative Counsel?” And the correct answer is: “It is the 89 Version.” Huh?

Have you ever wondered why there is a small number in the bottom right corner of a California bill? Have you even noticed it before? It is the Version number to which the Office of Legislative Counsel (OLC) designates a bill. The bill below has a different number than the bill above:

20210SB38_99

The first thing to know is that the introduced version of the bill is the 99th Version, according to OLC. In other words, the OLC designates the introduced bill as the “99 Version” of the bill. Why 99? Who knows, but that has always been the procedure used by the Office of Legislative Counsel. The introduced version of a bill is not 1, and not 100, but 99.

In addition, the OLC counts backwards. In other words, while the introduced version is the 99 Version of the bill, the first amended version of the bill becomes the 98 Version; the second amended version of the bill becomes the 97 Version, and so on.

So, because SB 38, our example above, was amended 10 times, the last amended version (also called the August 15 version) is the 89 Version, according to the Office of Legislative Counsel. The following chart lists the amendment dates and the version number of SB 38 through the course of the legislative process:

AMENDED  IN  ASSEMBLY  AUGUST 15, 2022 89 version
AMENDED  IN  ASSEMBLY  AUGUST 02, 2022 90 version
AMENDED  IN  ASSEMBLY  JUNE 20, 2022 91 version
AMENDED  IN  ASSEMBLY  FEBRUARY 14, 2022 92 version
AMENDED  IN  ASSEMBLY  JUNE 30, 2021 93 version
AMENDED  IN  SENATE  MAY 26, 2021 94 version
AMENDED  IN  SENATE  MAY 20, 2021 95 version
AMENDED  IN  SENATE  MARCH 17, 2021 96 Version
AMENDED  IN  SENATE  MARCH 01, 2021 97 Version
AMENDED  IN  SENATE  FEBRUARY 12, 2021 98 Version
INTRODUCED DECEMBER 07, 2020 99 VERSION

So, the next time you see an introduced bill, you will know that you are looking at the 99 Version of the bill. And, the next time you see the first amended version of the bill, you will know that you are looking at the 98 Version of the bill. And so on…

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