Home>Articles>Globe Contributor Releases Legislative Drafting Guidebook

Globe Contributor Releases Legislative Drafting Guidebook

There are also materials for drafting resolutions and constitutional amendments

By Katy Grimes, June 15, 2024 10:00 am

California Globe contributor, Chris Micheli, has just released his book to provide practical guidance on drafting the three types of measures used by the California Legislature: bills, resolutions, and constitutional amendments. The book is called “Practical Guidance for Drafting Legislation in California.”

The book contains 85 chapters and is just over 200 pages in length. “Because California is one of about two dozen states that does not publish its legislative drafting manual, this practical guide is intended to fill that space for those who work with legislation in the State of California,” Micheli explained.

“As the bulk of legislative drafting involves bills, most of this practical guide is dedicated to bill drafting, but there are also materials for drafting resolutions and constitutional amendments,” he said. The guidebook also provides a checklist for drafting the three types of legislative measures.

The book is available in either print format or electronic format, and can be purchased at this webpage.

The following are the contents of this book:

I                       GENERAL GUIDANCE                                                       1

1                      Getting Started in Legislative Drafting                                   1

2                      Forms of Statutes and Bills                                                     4

3                      General Drafting Guidance                                                     6

4                      Guidance for Making Legislation More Readable                 12

5                      Guidance for Drafting in the Active Voice                             13

6                      Guidance for Drafting Sentences in Legislative Measures     14

7                      Guidance for Drafting Gender-Neutral Legislation                17

8                      Drafting Guidance from the Constitution                               19

9                      Drafting Guidance from the Government Code                     22

10                    Drafting Guidance from the Legislature’s Joint Rules           26

11                    Drafting Guidance from the Legislature’s House Rules         31

II                      BILLS                                                                                     32

12                    Parts of a Bill                                                                          32

13                    General Outline for Drafting a Bill                                         34

14                    Guidance for Drafting Bill Titles                                            37

15                    Guidance for Drafting Legislative Counsel Digests               38

16                    Guidance for Drafting a Bill’s “Keys”                                   39

17                    Guidance for Drafting Headings in Statutes                           42

18                    Guidance for Drafting a Spot Bill                                           43

19                    Guidance for Drafting an Intent Bill                                       45

20                    Guidance for Using the Correct Reference in Bills                47

21                    Guidance for Drafting a Public Right of Access Disclaimer  48

22                    Guidance for Drafting a Municipal Affair Bill                       50

23                    Guidance for Drafting a Legislative Declaration for a Non-

Municipal Affair Bil                                                   51

24                    Guidance for Drafting Sunset Clauses                                    52

25                    Guidance for Drafting Definitions in Statutes                        53

26                    Guidance for Drafting Legislative Statements                        55

27                    Guidance for Drafting Legislative Findings and

Declarations in Bills                                                    57

28                    Guidance for Drafting Statements of Legislative Intent         59

29                    Guidance for Drafting an Appropriation Bill                          61

30                    Guidance for Drafting a Continuous Appropriation Bill        62

31                    Guidance for Drafting an Appropriation Bill for

Public Assistance                                                        65

32                    Guidance for Drafting an Urgency Statute                             66

33                    Guidance for Drafting a Special or Local Statute                   68

34                    Guidance for Drafting a State Mandated Local Program Bill69

35                    Guidance for Drafting a Tax Statute                                       73

36                    Guidance for Drafting a Tax Levy Bill                                   77

37                    Guidance for Drafting Double-Jointing Amendments            79

38                    The Order of “Plus” Sections in Bills                                     80

39                    Guidance for Drafting Preemption Provisions                        84

40                    Guidance for Drafting Contingencies in Bills                        86

41                    Guidance for Drafting a Local Government Finance Bill      87

42                    Guidance for Drafting a Tribal Compact Bill                         88

43                    Guidance for Drafting a State Holiday Bill                            90

44                    Guidance for Drafting an MOU Bill                                       91

45                    Guidance for Drafting a Criminal or Penal Statute                 93

46                    Checklist for Drafting a Criminal Law Statute                       96

47                    Guidance for Drafting a Bill to Regulate a Profession           97

48                    Guidance for Drafting a New Program                                   99

49                    Guidance for Drafting Forms or Charts in Statute                  101

50                    Guidance for Drafting Cross-References in Statutes              103

51                    Guidance for Drafting the Term “Abrogate”                          104

52                    Guidance for Drafting the Term “Construe”                           105

53                    Guidance for Drafting Claims Bills                                        106

54                    Guidance for Drafting the Creation of a New Entity              108

55                    Guidance for Drafting a Statute to Call an Election               109

56                    Guidance for Drafting a Study Bill                                         110

57                    Guidance for Drafting Legislative Grants of

Rulemaking Authority                                                 112

58                    Guidance for Drafting a Tied-House Restriction

Exception Bill                                                             114

59                    Guidance for Drafting Validation Bills                                   116

60                    Guidance for Drafting a Bill to Lease or Acquire

State Property                                                              119

61                    Guidance for Citing Statutes and Court Decisions in Bills    120

62                    Guidance for Drafting Bond Bills                                           121

63                    Guidance for Drafting Williamson Act Bills                          125

64                    Guidance for Drafting Bills to Create a Joint Powers Authority        126

65                    Guidance for Drafting Severability or Savings Clauses         128

66                    Guidance for Drafting a Retroactive Statute                           130

67                    Guidance for Drafting a “Declaratory of Existing

Law” Statute                                                               131

68                    Guidance for Drafting a Code Maintenance Bill                    133

69                    Guidance for Drafting UC System Education Policy Bills    135

70                    Guidance for Using Model or Uniform Acts                          137

71                    Guidance for Drafting Provisions of the Budget Bill             139

72                    Examples of Common Legislative Drafting Provisions         162

73                    Checklist for Drafting Bills                                                     181

74                    Technical Changes to Existing Laws by the Office

of Legislative Counsel                                                185

75                    Frequently Asked Questions about Bill Drafting                    198

III                    RESOLUTIONS                                                                      203

76                    Legislative Resolutions                                                             203

77                    Parts of a Resolution                                                                 204

78                    Drafting Considerations for a Legislative Resolution              205

79                    Checklist for Drafting House Resolutions                                207

80                    Checklist for Drafting Concurrent Resolutions                        208

81                    Checklist for Drafting Joint Resolutions                                  209

IV                    CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS                                210

82                    Constitutional Amendments                                                    210

83                    Parts of a Constitutional Amendment                                     212

84                    Drafting Considerations for a Legislative Constitutional

Amendment                                                                 214

85                    Checklist for Drafting Constitutional Amendments               216


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