Automatic Repeal of Reporting Requirements in California Bills

Looking at the wording of the bill, a reader may come across a measure that requires a report to be submitted by a state agency. The following example contains language commonly used in the law:

A report to be submitted pursuant to subsection (a) must be submitted pursuant to Section 9795. Pursuant to Section 10231.5, this section is repealed effective January 1, 2027.

Section 9795 of the Government Code concerns “Reports to the Legislative Assembly” and was enacted in 1996. It specifies that all reports required or requested by a state or local agency to the Legislative Assembly must be submitted to the Secretary of the Senate and Chief Clerk of the Assembly, as well as in the Legislative Council. Section 9795 also contains requirements that these reports must meet, which include studies or audits.

Section 10231.5 of the Government Code, which was enacted in 2010, contains two key requirements. The first is that a bill that would require a state agency to report on any matter to the Legislative Assembly must include a provision that repeals the reporting requirement, or renders the requirement inoperative, at most later on a date four years after the date on which the bill comes into force or four years after the due date of any report required every four years or more.

The second is that the Office of Legislative Counsel, when drafting a bill for introduction or an amendment to a bill that would impose a reporting requirement, must include a provision that repeals the reporting requirement, or renders it inoperative, four years after the date from which the requirement becomes enforceable, unless the person requesting the bill or amendment directs the Legislative Counsel to do otherwise.

Because of Section 10231.5, the reporting requirement of a statute must expire or be repealed four years after the reporting requirement takes effect. Therefore, bills should contain language similar to the example above: “Consistent with Section 10231.5, this section is repealed on ___”.

Bernard P. Love