Types of State Agencies

Today I will be continuing my series of podcasts on how to be a more effective state regulatory agency advocate. In my first post, I gave a brief overview of Regulatory Advocacy. Today, I’ll look at the types of rule-making bodies in California state government.

You might remember from my last podcast that there are over 200 rule-making bodies in California at the state government level. Those 200 bodies all fall under one of three types of state agency: plural executive, independent agencies, and line authority agencies.

Plural executive agencies have separate constitutional authority executive powers and are overseen by officials or boards that are elected statewide. The Governor is the most widely known of these officials, of which there are nine total. Also in this group are a pair of officials who are appointed by the Governor in most other states, but are elected statewide in California: the Insurance Commissioner, and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The powers of these officials are enumerated in the Constitution and in state statute.

The next type of agency is independent agencies. They have separate statutory or constitutional powers and they are independent of the line authority of the Governor. One example of this is the University of California Board of Regents. Regents are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate, but their term of office is 12 years. The Governor can serve, at most, two four year terms for eight years total. You can see that the 12-year term Regents serve clearly establishes some independence from the Governor.

The third type of agency is line authority agencies. They’re called “line agencies” because if you look at a state organization chart, they fall on a line that comes directly from the Governor, which means that these agencies are directly under the control of the Governor. There are 11 agencies like this in California – ranging from the Transportation Agency to the Natural Resources Agency. These agencies form the Governor’s cabinet, and their secretaries – all appointed by the Governor – are the members of the Governor’s cabinet.

Next week, we’ll take a look at how the public participates in rule-making activities.