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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Drafting Legislation, But Were Afraid to Ask

California bill drafting guidelines and examples

By Chris Micheli, February 6, 2019 6:00 pm

The purpose of this article is to provide general guidance to drafting bills and amendments in California. We first discuss some of the considerations for a bill drafter and then follow with examples of bill language addressing the major types of bills that may be encountered in this state, as well as the rules related to drafting bills in this state.

General Rules of Statutory Construction

Some of the other basic rules of statutory construction to keep in mind while drafting a bill in California include:

  • In regards to interpreting general versus specific statutes, if a specific statute is deemed to be inconsistent with a general statute that covers the same subject matter, then the specific statute is usually deemed to be an exception to rule provided by the general statute. In addition, as a general rule of statutory construction, courts must construe an exemption in a statute narrowly.
  • In a similar vein, a more recently enacted statute generally is given more weight than an earlier enacted statute. In other words, if two statutes cannot be reconciled and appear to be in conflict, the recently-enacted statute will take precedence over the earlier-enacted statute.
  • When interpreting a statute, a court will give significance to each word in a statute in determining the legislative purpose. So, the last antecedent rule provides that any qualifying words are to be applied to the words or phrases immediately preceding the qualifying word(s) and are not interpreted as extending to other words.
  • Another type of rule of statutory construction provides that, where general words follow a list of particular items, the general words will be interpreted to apply only to those items of the same general nature or class as those set forth in the statute.
  • An additional statutory construction rule provides that a statute which lists specific items will prevent the inclusion of other items. Also, courts generally interpret the word “may” as being permissive, while the word “shall” is interpreted to be mandatory.
  • There is also an important rule that statutes are presumed to operate prospectively, rather than retroactively, unless there is evidence that the Legislature intended the statute to be applied retroactively. So, the presumption is against retroactive application, unless the Legislature has plainly determined by express statement or other indicia that it was their intent to apply the statute retroactively.

As you might imagine, there are a number of mechanics for creating a draft bill in California. These rules are found in the California Constitution, the Government Code, and the Joint Rules of the Assembly and Senate. The following is a brief discussion of those requirements to guide the bill drafter. The specific provisions are provided at the end of this article under “References.” Moreover, examples of different bills and amending language are found at the end of this article under “Examples.”

Constitutional Requirements

All bills must have a “relating clause,” a requirement found in Article IV, Section 9. In addition, Section 9 also has a “re-enactment clause” requirement and a provision that the subject of the bill must be included in the title.

Article IV, Section 8 requires a bill for a law to be enacted.

Based upon case law in this state, the following are several other requirements that must be examined when drafting a bill:

  • All parts of a bill must be reasonably germane to a common theme or subject. (Cal. Const., art. IV, § 9; see Harbor v. Deukmejian (1987) 43 Cal.3d 1078, 1100.) This is commonly known as the single subject rule.
  • The Legislature may not enact a special statute if a general statute can be made applicable. (Cal. Const., art. IV, § 16; see City of Malibu v. California Coastal Com’n (2004) 121 Cal.App.4th 989, 993.)
  • The University of California is generally exempt from legislative control. (Cal. Const., art. IX, § 9.)
  • If the law imposes a tax, it must be passed by a 2/3 vote. (Cal. Const., art. XIIIA, § 3.)

In addition, if you are drafting a bill that impacts a local government in California (such as a city, county, or special district) be aware of these potential issues:

  • A city may adopt a charter to provide for its own governance. (Cal. Const., art. XI, § 3.) A charter city is exempt from legislative control except for matters of statewide concern. (Cal. Const., art. XI, § 5; see California Fed. Savings & Loan Assn. v. City of Los Angeles (1991) 54 Cal.3d 1, 15-18.)
  • If the law would require a city or county to do a new program, or a higher level of service on an existing program, it may be a state mandated local program under Article VI.

Statutory Requirement

Government Code Section 9501.5 specifies the enacting clause is required in each bill.

Joint Rules-Based Requirements

There are a number of Joint Rules of the Assembly and Senate that provide guidance on drafting bills and amendments. Among those are Joint Rule 7 requires a title of the bill be included; Joint Rule 8 specifies that a bill must contain sections; Joint Rule 8.5 requires the preparation and inclusion of the Legislative Counsel’s Digest; and, Joint Rule 10 specifies that changes to existing law must be shown.

Advice on Complicated Bills

Occasionally a new bill or proposed amendments are complex and involved sensitive negotiations between interested parties. In those instances, a good guide is to bring the Legislative Counsel Deputy into the discussions or negotiations over the bill language so that he or she can more clearly understand the intent of the parties. In other words, there should be a collaborative approach to bill drafting so that the correct intent is understood and the correct language is used at the outset.

Conflicts with Other Bills

Does the bill you are drafting amend the same code section(s) as another bill that is pending at the same time? If so, these bills will need to be reconciled or else “chaptering out” amendments will need to be added to the bills so that one bill does not repeal the provisions of the other bill if the case where both bills are enacted.

Urgency Clause Statements

When an urgency clause is contained in a bill, there must be a statement explaining the cause of the urgency. Urgency clauses are allowed in California so that bills take effect immediately. While these statements explaining the urgent need for the bill are generally not challenged by the courts, a legitimate statement must be included in the bill to justify the need.

Retroactive v. Prospective Nature of Bills

In most instances, bills are prospective in their application and generally effective on January 1 of the following year after enactment. In some instances, however, a bill’s provisions are intended to be applied retroactively. In those circumstances, the bill drafter needs to review the key rules for drafting bill language that will apply retroactively.

For example, the bill drafter should ask: What effective date is contemplated? Should the bill include a statement that the bill “clarifies existing law”? Moreover, in the case of tax law changes, retroactive bills of more than one year are generally prohibited (because they are considered a “gift of public funds, which is constitutionally prohibited in this state), unless a “public purpose” is expressed in the bill that justifies the retroactive application of the bill.

Proper Code Section

The bill drafter needs to determine which code section(s) to put the bill’s changes into existing law. Are you amending an existing code section? If so, that is easy to do. However, if you are adding a new code section, then a determination needs to be made regarding where in the 29 codes the bill’s language will be added. In addition, an understanding of the legislative scheme is necessary. Ask yourself first, which Code should your bill be in? Then, ask which is the right Division or Part?

Single Subject Rule for Bills

The state constitution limits bills (just like initiatives on the statewide ballot) to a single subject. While sometimes broadly defined by the courts, the bill drafter needs to determine in advance how many related or unrelated items can be included in one bill so that the measure is not subject to legal challenge on the basis of violating the single subject rule.

Codified v. Uncodified Sections

There are 29 Codes that contain California’s half a million statutes. There are also uncodified statutes which have the same effect as laws, but they are just not found in the codes. Two examples are often one-time measures, such as naming a state building or the annual budget bill because it is changed each year.

Legislative Intent Language

Some bills include “intent” language expressing findings and declarations of the Legislature regarding what the bill’s changes are intended to do. The bill drafter should consider the pros and cons of using intent language. For example, the following is one appellate court’s statement of such language: “That two legislators report contradictory legislative intent fortifies judicial reticence to rely on statements made by individual members of the Legislature as an expression of the intent of the entire body. (See Ballard v. Anderson (1971) 4 Cal.3d 873, 881 [95 Cal.Rptr. 1, 484 P.2d 1345]; Rich v. State Board of Optometry (1965) 235 Cal.App.2d 591, 603 [45 Cal.Rptr. 512] (hg. den.).) Other extrinsic aids to determine legislative intent are generally more persuasive.”

Nonetheless, codified legislative findings and declarations are often viewed favorably. For example, the Mammoth Lakes appellate court decision relied heavily on statements of legislative intent. The appellate court found that, “In this instance our task has been considerably simplified because the Legislature has expressly set forth its intent in sections 21000 and 21001 of the act. These two provisions, captioned ‘Legislative intent’ and ‘Additional legislative intent,’ contain no less than 14 references to the concern of the Legislature with the current deterioration of the environment.”

Moreover, the court noted, “In view of what appears to be a clear legislative mandate that the EQA be given a broad construction and that it applies to private actions for which a permit is necessary, we note parenthetically that the principal author of the EQA, Assemblyman John T. Knox, is on record as supporting such an interpretation. The legislator, in a sworn declaration, states that in authoring the bill and guiding it through the Legislature it “was my intent that the requirement of an environmental impact report extend to the situation where a state or local public agency by lease, permit, funding or comparable entitlement for use was authorizing or facilitating a private undertaking as long as there was a significant impact upon the environment. This includes situations such as zoning changes, conditional use permits and building permits. I communicated this intent to other legislators in the course of the legislative process . . ..”

A Few Other Points to Legislative Drafting

On the bill language, it is easier to reduce complex ideas into simple and short sentences and subdivisions. Ideally, these should be no more than 20 words. Use definitions to break up complex ideas

An active voice should be used whenever possible. Ideally, every law should impose a duty or prohibition on an identified person.

In today’s world of bill drafting, one should avoid legalese. Nonetheless, it is critical to choose your words carefully. If you have any doubt as to the meaning of a word, consult usage dictionaries and, of course, you need to know how a word has been interpreted by courts in the past. If you intend a different meaning, define the word expressly.

In drafting statutes, it is important to understand the impact that your change will have on the statutory framework and legal context it is a part of. For example, look to see if another portion of the same chapter, part, or title would add or change a crime. Also, use consistent words and phrases as the existing legal framework.

BILL DRAFTING EXAMPLES

Amending a Code Section:

Amendments (new or changed language) are always shown in italicized language:

An act to amend Sections 12240 and 12246 of the Business and Professions Code, relating to weights and measures.

SEC. 3.

Section 12246 of the Business and Professions Code is amended to read:

12246.

This article shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2019, 2022, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute that is enacted before January 1, 2019, 2022, deletes or extends that date.

Adding a Code Section:

When adding a new section, it is in normal type in the introduced version of the bill.

SEC. 16.

Section 102352 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

102352.

(a) Any transactions and use tax ordinance adopted pursuant to this article shall be operative on the first day of the first calendar quarter commencing more than 150 days after adoption of the ordinance.

(b) (1) Prior to the operative date of the ordinance, the district shall contract with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to perform all functions incident to the administration and operation of the ordinance. The costs to be covered by the contract may also include services of the types described in Section 7272 of the Revenue and Taxation Code for preparatory work up to the operative date of the ordinance. Any disputes as to the amount of the costs shall be resolved in the same manner as provided in that section.

(2) Notwithstanding Section 7272 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, the maximum amount of preparatory costs incurred may exceed those costs as described in paragraph (1) if the increased amount reflects necessary preparatory costs.

Repealing a Code Section:

Repealed sections are always shown in strikeout language:

SEC. 15.

Section 102352 of the Public Utilities Code is repealed.

102352.

 Any transactions and use tax ordinance adopted shall be operative on the first day of the first calendar quarter commencing not less than 180 days after adoption of the ordinance.

Adding a Chapter of Code:

An act to add Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 8370) to Division 4.1 of the Public Utilities Code, relating to electricity

SEC. 2.

Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 8370) is added to Division 4.1 of the Public Utilities Code, to read:

CHAPTER  4.5. Microgrids
8370.

For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:

Adding Multiple Code Sections:

An act to add Section 12940.2 to the Government Code, and to amend Section 230 of the Labor Code, relating to employment.

SECTION 1.

Section 12940.2 is added to the Government Code, to read:

12940.2.

(a) A client employer shall share with a labor contractor all civil legal responsibility and civil liability for harassment, as described in subdivision (j) of Section 12940, for all workers supplied by that labor contractor.

SEC. 2.

Section 230 of the Labor Code is amended to read:

230.

(a) An employer shall not discharge or in any manner discriminate against an employee for taking time off to serve as required by law on an inquest jury or trial jury, if the employee, prior to taking the time off, gives reasonable notice to the employer that the employee is required to serve.

Example of an Uncodified Statute:

SECTION 1.

The California State University, Dominguez Hills shall rename its African American Political and Economic Institute as the Mervyn M. Dymally African American Political and Economic Institute.

Example of Intent Language:

The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) Industrial Welfare Commission Order No. 1-2001 Regulating Wages, Hours, and Working Conditions in the Manufacturing Industry governs employee rest periods at petroleum facilities. Section 12 of this order, as construed in Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc. (2016) 2 Cal.5th 257, requires that nonexempt employees be relieved of all duties during rest periods, including the duty to remain on call or carry radios or other forms of instant communication, or both.

(b) As part of the energy sector, petroleum facilities are considered critical infrastructure and key resources in relation to homeland security.

(c) Because of the nature of the processes at petroleum facilities, the chemicals stored onsite, and the critical nature of these facilities’ infrastructure, it is necessary to enable an immediate and effective response to any emergencies or breaches of security that may occur.

(d) Current law as construed creates a potential hazard and present danger for operations at petroleum facilities, where on-shift employees in safety-sensitive positions must be reachable at all times in order to effectively protect employee and public health, safety, and welfare, and to avoid endangering local and national security due to unplanned events at these critical facilities.

Example of “Spot Bill” Language:

This bill would make technical, nonsubstantive changes to those provisions.

SECTION 1.

Section 1704 of the Insurance Code is amended to read:

1704.

(a) Any (1) A person acting as a licensee under pursuant to this chapter shall not act as an agent of an insurer insurer, unless the insurer has filed a notice of appointment with the commissioner a notice of appointment, executed by the insurer, appointing the licensee as the insurer’s agent. Every property broker-agent, casualty broker-agent, personal lines broker-agent, or limited lines automobile insurance agent acting in the capacity of an insurance solicitor shall have filed on his or her behalf with the commissioner on his or her behalf a notice executed by an insurance agent or insurance broker appointing and agreeing to employ the solicitor as an employee within this state.

Example of an Urgency Clause:

An act to amend Section 218.7 of the Labor Code, relating to employment, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.

This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.

Digest Key

Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO

This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:

In order to eliminate confusion created by subdivision (h) of Section 218.7 of the Labor Code at the earliest possible time, it is necessary for this measure to take effect immediately.

Another example:

This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:

In order to urgently protect worker and public safety, to respond to the recent California Supreme Court decision in Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc. (2016) 2 Cal.5th 257, and to ensure that personnel in safety sensitive positions are available at all times while on site for the work day, it is necessary that this bill go into immediate effect.

Example of a Bill Making an Appropriation:

This bill would appropriate $32,022,611.07 from the General Fund to the Attorney General to pay specific judgments.

Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: YES   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO

SECTION 1.

(a) The sum of thirty-two million twenty-two thousand six hundred eleven dollars and seven cents ($32,022,611.07) is hereby appropriated from the General Fund to the Attorney General to be allocated in accordance with the following schedule:

Example of a Bill Imposing a Local Mandate:

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement. This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.

Digest Key: Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES

If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

Example of a Bill Disclaiming Local Agency Reimbursement:

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement. This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

SEC. 2.

No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because a local agency or school district has the authority to levy service charges, fees, or assessments sufficient to pay for the program or level of service mandated by this act, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code.

Another example:

SEC. 2

No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.

Example of a Bill That Is a “Special Law,” Rather Than One of General Application:

The Legislature finds and declares that a special law is necessary and that a general law cannot be made applicable within the meaning of Section 16 of Article IV of the California Constitution because of the unique island location of the City of Coronado and its proximity to large military installations. In addition, the complexities of amending a general plan and a local coastal plan for the City of Coronado will take significantly longer than six months.

Example of a Bill That Applies to All Cities:
The Legislature finds and declares that promoting uniform statewide compliance with construction-related accessibility requirements set forth in the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.) and state disability law is a matter of statewide concern and is not a municipal affair as that term is used in Section 5 of Article XI of the California Constitution. Therefore, this act shall apply to all cities, including charter cities.

Example of a Bill That Limits the Public’s Right of Access to a Public Meeting:

The Legislature finds and declares that Sections 1 and 2 of this act, which add Sections 7071.20 and 7071.21 to the Business and Professions Code, impose a limitation on the public’s right of access to the meetings of public bodies or the writings of public officials and agencies within the meaning of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution. Pursuant to that constitutional provision, the Legislature makes the following findings to demonstrate the interest protected by this limitation and the need for protecting that interest: In order to allow the Contractors’ State License Board to fully accomplish its regulatory and disciplinary goals, it is necessary to limit access to the reports required by those sections that are favorable to licensees.

Example of a Bill Making a Retroactive Tax Law Change:

Existing state constitutional law prohibits the Legislature from making any gift, or authorizing the making of any gift, of any public money or thing of value to any individual, municipal, or other corporation. This bill would make certain legislative findings and declarations that its provisions serve a public purpose, as provided.

Example of a Severability Clause:

The provisions of this chapter are severable. If any provision of this chapter or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

Example of Double Jointing Language:

This bill would incorporate additional changes to Section 13957 of the Government Code proposed by AB 900, AB 1865, and AB 1939 to be operative only if this bill and any or all of those bills are enacted and this bill is enacted last.

SEC. 2.

(a) Section 1.1 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 13957 of the Government Code proposed by both this bill and Assembly Bill 900. That section shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2019, (2) each bill amends Section 13957 of the Government Code, (3) Assembly Bill 1865 and Assembly Bill 1939 are not enacted or, as enacted, do not amend that section, and (4) this bill is enacted after Assembly Bill 900, in which case Sections 1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, and 1.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

REFERENCES FOR BILL DRAFTING RULES

Constitutional Provisions Related to Drafting Bills

Article IV, Section 8

(b) (1) The Legislature may make no law except by statute and may enact no statute except by bill. No bill may be passed unless it is read by title on 3 days in each house except that the house may dispense with this requirement by rollcall vote entered in the journal, two thirds of the membership concurring.

(3) Statutes calling elections, statutes providing for tax levies or appropriations for the usual current expenses of the State, and urgency statutes shall go into effect immediately upon their enactment.

(d) Urgency statutes are those necessary for immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety. A statement of facts constituting the necessity shall be set forth in one section of the bill. In each house the section and the bill shall be passed separately, each by rollcall vote entered in the journal, two thirds of the membership concurring. An urgency statute may not create or abolish any office or change the salary, term, or duties of any office, or grant any franchise or special privilege, or create any vested right or interest.

Article IV, Section 8.5

An act amending an initiative statute, an act providing for the issuance of bonds, or a constitutional amendment proposed by the Legislature and submitted to the voters for approval may not do either of the following:

(a) Include or exclude any political subdivision of the State from the application or effect of its provisions based upon approval or disapproval of the measure, or based upon the casting of a specified percentage of votes in favor of the measure, by the electors of that political subdivision.

(b) Contain alternative or cumulative provisions wherein one or more of those provisions would become law depending upon the casting of a specified percentage of votes for or against the measure.

Article IV, Section 9

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. A section of a statute may not be amended unless the section is re-enacted as amended.

Article IV, Section 10

(3) A bill addressing the fiscal emergency declared pursuant to this section shall contain a statement to that effect.

Article IV, Section 12

(d) No bill except the budget bill may contain more than one item of appropriation, and that for one certain, expressed purpose.

Article IV, Section 16

(a) All laws of a general nature have uniform operation.

(b) A local or special statute is invalid in any case if a general statute can be made applicable.

Article IV, Section 28

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, no bill shall take effect as an urgency statute if it authorizes or contains an appropriation for either (1) the alteration or modification of the color, detail, design, structure or fixtures of the historically restored areas of the first, second, and third floors and the exterior of the west wing of the State Capitol from that existing upon the completion of the project of restoration or rehabilitation of the building conducted pursuant to Section 9124 of the Government Code as such section read upon the effective date of this section, or (2) the purchase of furniture of different design to replace that restored, replicated, or designed to conform to the historic period of the historically restored areas specified above, including the legislators’ chairs and desks in the Senate and Assembly Chambers.

Statutory Provisions Related to Drafting Bills

Government Code Section 9501.5

The enacting clause of every law shall be “The people of the State of California do enact as follows:”.

Government Code Section 9600

(b) Statutes calling elections, statutes providing for tax levies or appropriations for the usual current expenses of the state, and urgency statutes shall go into effect immediately upon their enactment.

Government Code Section 9603

The general rules for the construction of statutes are contained in the preliminary provisions of the different codes.

Government Code Section 9604

When the provisions of one statute are carried into another statute under circumstances in which they are required to be construed as restatements and continuations and not as new enactments, any reference made by any statute, charter or ordinance to such provisions shall, unless a contrary intent appears, be deemed a reference to the restatements and continuations.

Government Code Section 9605

Where a section or part of a statute is amended, it is not to be considered as having been repealed and reenacted in the amended form. The portions which are not altered are to be considered as having been the law from the time when they were enacted; the new provisions are to be considered as having been enacted at the time of the amendment; and the omitted portions are to be considered as having been repealed at the time of the amendment. When the same section or part of a statute is amended by two or more acts enacted at the same session, any portion of an earlier one of such successive acts which is omitted from a subsequent act shall be deemed to have been omitted deliberately and any portion of a statute omitted by an earlier act which is restored in a subsequent act shall be deemed to have been restored deliberately.

In the absence of any express provision to the contrary in the statute which is enacted last, it shall be conclusively presumed that the statute which is enacted last is intended to prevail over statutes which are enacted earlier at the same session and, in the absence of any express provision to the contrary in the statute which has a higher chapter number, it shall be presumed that a statute which has a higher chapter number was intended by the Legislature to prevail over a statute which is enacted at the same session but has a lower chapter number.

For the purposes of this section, every statute of an even-numbered year of a two-year regular session of the Legislature is deemed to bear a higher chapter number than any statute enacted in the odd-numbered year of that session.

Government Code Section 9606

Any statute may be repealed at any time, except when vested rights would be impaired. Persons acting under any statute act in contemplation of this power of repeal.

Government Code Section 9607

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), no statute or part of a statute, repealed by another statute, is revived by the repeal of the repealing statute without express words reviving such repealed statute or part of a statute.

(b) If a later enacted statute that deletes or extends the date of termination or repeal of a previously enacted law is chaptered before such date of termination or repeal, the terminated or repealed law is revived when the later enacted statute becomes operative.

Government Code Section 9608

The termination or suspension (by whatsoever means effected) of any law creating a criminal offense does not constitute a bar to the indictment or information and punishment of an act already committed in violation of the law so terminated or suspended, unless the intention to bar such indictment or information and punishment is expressly declared by an applicable provision of law.

Government Code Section 9609

A statute amending a section of a repealed statute is void.

Government Code Section 9610

The fixing or authorizing the fixing of the salary of a State officer or employee by statute is not intended to and does not constitute an appropriation of money for the payment of the salary. The salary shall be paid only in the event that moneys are made available therefor by another provision of law.

Government Code Section 9611

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, whenever a provision of law is temporarily suspended, or is expressly or impliedly modified or repealed by a provision which is declared to be effective for only a limited period, the original provisions are not to be deemed repealed, but upon the expiration of the time of the temporary suspension or the effectiveness of the inconsistent provision, the original provision shall have the same force and effect as if the temporary provision had not been enacted.

Government Code Section 10247

When a bill is introduced in the Legislature and each time a bill is amended, on or after January 1, 1990, the Legislative Counsel shall determine whether the bill appropriates funds that apply toward the minimum funding for school districts and community college districts required pursuant to Section 8 of Article XVI of the California Constitution. The Legislative Counsel shall make this determination known in the Legislative Counsel’s Digest of the bill and shall describe in the digest the basis for this determination.

Government Code Section 17575

When a bill is introduced in the Legislature, and each time a bill is amended, on and after January 1, 1985, the Legislative Counsel shall determine whether the bill mandates a new program or higher level of service pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution. The Legislative Counsel shall make this determination known in the digest of the bill and shall describe in the digest the basis for this determination. The determination by the Legislative Counsel shall not be binding on the commission in making its determination pursuant to Section 17555.

Government Code Section 17579

Any bill introduced or amended for which the Legislative Counsel has determined the bill will mandate a new program or higher level of service pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution shall contain a section specifying that reimbursement shall be made pursuant to this chapter or that the mandate is being disclaimed and the reason therefor.

Joint Rules of the Assembly and Senate Related to Drafting Bills

Title of Bill – Joint Rule 7

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.

Division of Bill into Sections – Joint Rule 8

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.

Digest of Bills Introduced – Joint Rule 8.5

A bill may not be introduced unless it is contained in a cover attached by the Legislative Counsel and it is accompanied by a digest, prepared and attached to the bill by the Legislative Counsel, showing the changes in the existing law that are proposed by the bill. A bill may not be printed where the body of the bill or the Legislative Counsel’s Digest has been altered, unless the alteration has been approved by the Legislative Counsel. If any bill is presented to the Secretary of the Senate or the Chief Clerk of the Assembly for introduction that does not comply with the foregoing requirements of this rule, the Secretary or the Chief Clerk shall return it to the Member who presented it. The digest shall be printed on the bill as introduced, commencing on the first page thereof.

Digest of Bills Amended – Joint Rule 8.6

Whenever a bill is amended in either house, the Secretary of the Senate or the Chief Clerk of the Assembly, as the case may be, shall request the Legislative Counsel to prepare an amended digest and cause it to be printed on the first page of the bill as amended. The digest shall be amended to show changes in the existing law that are proposed by the bill as amended, with any

material changes in the digest indicated by the use of appropriate type.

Bills Amending Title 9 of the Government Code – Joint Rule 8.8

A Member who is the first-named author of a bill that would amend, add, or repeal any provision of Title 9 (commencing with Section 81000) of the Government Code, upon introduction or amendment of the bill in either house, shall notify the Chief Clerk of the Assembly or the Secretary of the Senate, as the case may be, of the nature of the bill. Thereafter, the Chief Clerk of the Assembly or the Secretary of the Senate shall deliver a copy of the bill as introduced or amended to the Fair Political Practices Commission pursuant to Section 81012 of the Government Code.

Bills Amending the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act – Joint Rule 8.9

A Member who is the first-named author of a bill that would amend, add, or repeal any statutory provision of the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act, other than the bond provisions thereof, upon introduction or amendment of the bill in either house, shall notify the Chief Clerk of the Assembly or the Secretary of the Senate, as the case may be, of the nature of the bill. At least 14 days prior to passage in the Assembly or Senate, respectively, the Chief Clerk of the Assembly or the Secretary of the Senate shall make copies of the bill as introduced or amended available in the Bill Room for access by the public and news media.

Bills Amending Section 6 of the Smaller Classes, Safer Schools and Financial Accountability Act – Joint Rule 8.95

A Member who is the first-named author of a bill that would amend, add, or repeal Section 47614 of the Education Code, upon introduction or amendment of the bill in either house, shall notify the Chief Clerk of the Assembly or the Secretary of the Senate, as the case may be, of the nature of the bill. At least 14 days prior to passage in the Assembly or Senate, respectively, the Chief Clerk of the Assembly or the Secretary of the Senate shall make copies of the bill as introduced or amended available in the Bill Room for access by the public and news media.

Restrictions as to Amendments – Joint Rule 9

A substitute or amendment must relate to the same subject as the original bill, constitutional amendment, or resolution under consideration. An amendment is not in order when all that would be done to the bill is the addition of a coauthor or coauthors, unless the Committee on Rules of the house in which the amendment is to be offered grants prior approval.

Changes in Existing Law to Be Marked by Author – Joint Rule 10

In a bill amending or repealing a code section or a general law, any new matter shall be underlined, and any matter to be omitted shall be in type bearing a horizontal line through the center and commonly known as “strikeout” type. When printed the new matter shall be printed in italics, and the matter to be omitted shall be printed in “strikeout” type. In an amendment to a bill that sets out for the first time a section being amended or repealed, any new matter to be added and any matter to be omitted shall be indicated by the author and shall be printed in the same manner as though the section as amended or repealed was a part of the original bill and was being printed for the first time. When an entire code is repealed as part of a codification or recodifcation, or when an entire title, part, division, chapter, or article of a code is repealed, the sections comprising the code, title, part, division, chapter, or article shall not be set forth in the bill or amendment in strikeout type.

Short Title – Joint Rule 10.6

A bill may not add a short title that names a current or former Member of the Legislature.

Heading of Bills – Joint Rule 10.7

A bill or resolution may be authored only by a Member or committee of the house of origin. Members or committees that are not of the house of origin may be “principal coauthors” or “coauthors.” A bill may not indicate in its heading or elsewhere that it was introduced at the request of a state agency or officer or any other person. A bill may not contain the words “By request” or words of similar import.

Chris Micheli

Chris Micheli is a Principal with the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc. He is also an Adjunct Professor at McGeorge School of Law in its Capital Lawyering Program.

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