What drafting guidelines do we have from the California Government Code?

When drafting legislation in California, there are several sources of guidance for drafting bills and other forms of legislation (resolutions and constitutional amendments). The second source is the California Government Code. What legislative drafting guidelines are contained in the state government code?

Adoption clause

Section 9501.5 of the Government Code states: “The enactment clause of every statute shall be ‘The people of the State of California enact as follows:’.”

This legislative provision directs the drafter of the bill to include an enactment clause in every bill. A bill cannot be promulgated without this clause as specified.

Bills taking effect immediately

Section 9600 of the Government Code provides, in part, as follows: “(b) Laws calling elections, laws providing tax levies or credits for ordinary current expenditures of the state, and laws of emergency shall enter into force upon their promulgation.”

This statutory provision directs the drafter of the bill to include language in the Legislative Counsel’s Digest, as well as in a “more section” at the end of the bill, that explains that these four types of bills take effect. immediately after the governor’s signature. This statement is provided to inform readers and decision makers about any of these unique provisions.

General construction rules

Article 9603 of the Government Code states: “The general rules of interpretation of laws are contained in the preliminary provisions of the various codes.”

This statutory provision directs the bill drafter to review the general or preliminary provisions of any of California’s 29 codes before the bill drafter begins work on a bill to ensure that these statutory building rules are taken into account when drafting the bill.

References

Section 9604 of the Government Code states: “Where the provisions of one law are transposed into another law in circumstances in which they are to be construed as restatements and continuations and not as new enactments, any reference made by a statute, charter or ordinance to such provision shall, unless otherwise intended, be a reference to resumptions and continuations.

This statutory provision directs the drafter of the bill to take note of these rules when drafting any restatement of existing law.

Changed sections

Section 9605 of the Government Code states: “(a) If any section or part of any statute is amended, it shall not be deemed to have been repealed and re-enacted in the amended form. The portions that are not amended shall be deemed to have the force of law from the time these provisions were enacted; the new provisions shall be deemed to have been adopted at the time of the modification; and the parts omitted shall be deemed to have been repealed at the time of the modification. When the same article or the same part of a law is amended by two or more acts adopted during the same session, any part of an earlier act of these successive acts which is omitted from a later act is deemed to have been deliberately omitted and any part of a law omitted by an earlier act which is reinstated in a later act shall be deemed to have been deliberately reinstated.

(b) In the absence of any express provision to the contrary in the law last enacted, it shall be definitively presumed that the law last enacted is intended to prevail over laws enacted earlier in the same session and, in l Absent any express provision to the contrary in the law with a higher chapter number, it is presumed that a law with a higher chapter number was intended by the legislature to prevail over a law passed in the same session but has a higher chapter number. lower chapter.

This statutory provision directs the drafter of the bill to bear these rules of statutory interpretation in mind when drafting amendments to existing sections of the code, particularly when two or more bills amend the same section of the code. . This is one reason why conflicting bills are usually amended to contain double-jointed language to again protect “chapter” issues. This provision also provides guidance to a bill drafter to direct the Chief Executive in the proper order of chaptering of bills that have one or more conflicting sections of code.

Repealed Acts – Part I

Section 9606 of the Government Code states: “Any law may be repealed at any time, except where acquired rights would be impaired. Persons acting under a statute act in pursuance of this power to repeal. »

This statutory provision directs the drafter of the bill to consider whether the proposed bill infringes vested rights. If a vested right is affected, then the drafter of the bill must determine whether that vested right would be impaired by the bill, if enacted. Otherwise, any law can be repealed.

Renewal of statutes

Section 9607 of the Government Code provides: “(a) Except as provided in subclause (b), no law or part of a law, repealed by any other law, shall be revived by the repeal of the repeal law without express words reviving that law or repealed part of any statute. date of termination or repeal, the terminated or repealed law shall be revived when the law subsequently enacted comes into force.

This statutory provision directs the drafter of a bill to consider these rules when repealing a statute or dealing with an expiration date clause in a bill (i.e. repeal date ).

Criminal offenses

Section 9608 of the Government Code states: “The repeal or suspension (by any means whatsoever) of any law creating a criminal offense does not constitute an obstacle to the charge or information and punishment of ‘an act already committed in violation of law so canceled or suspended, unless the intention to prevent such indictment or information and punishment is expressly declared by an applicable provision of law.

This statutory provision directs the drafter of the bill to provide an express statement in a bill if it is proposed to terminate or suspend a criminal offense statute to address the issue of impact on an act of charge or information for an existing criminal offence.

Repealed Acts – Part II

Section 9609 of the Government Code states: “A law amending a section of a repealed law is void.”

This statutory provision directs the drafter of the bill not to amend a section of a repealed statute, as such a bill could not bring about the desired change since the statute it proposes to amend does not actually exist. and therefore cannot be changed.

State worker wages

Section 9610 of the Government Code states: “The fixing or authorization to fix the salary of a government official or employee by law is not intended to and does not constitute an appropriation of funds. for payment of salary. Salary is paid only if sums are made available for this purpose by another provision of the law.

This legislative provision instructs the drafter of the bill to note that fixing a salary for government officials or employees does not actually appropriate money for that purpose. Instead, the appropriation would have to be made in a budget bill or budget bill for the higher salary to actually be paid.

Temporary suspensions

Section 9611 of the Government Code states: “Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, whenever any provision of law is temporarily suspended, or is expressly or by implication modified or repealed by any provision which is declared in force for a period limited only, the original provisions shall not be deemed repealed, but upon the expiration of the temporary suspension period or the coming into force of the inconsistent provision, the original provision shall have the same force and effect as if the temporary provision had not been enacted.

This legislative provision directs the drafter of the bill to take this rule into account when a bill temporarily suspends or modifies an existing law, when this bill is in force for a fixed term. The original law is not repealed by this other bill.

Bernard P. Love