McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli

An important role for any lobbyist is to track and analyze legislation and regulations. Tracking and monitoring doesn’t just mean new bills and regulations. It also means amendments to those bills and regulations, budget actions, gubernatorial actions, and monitoring executive branch activities.

On the regulatory side, there are over 200 rulemaking bodies in the state of California ‑‑ different administrative agencies, departments, boards, and commissions. According to our Office of Administrative Law here in California, those administrative agencies promulgate about 600 regulations each calendar year. As well, those agencies issue interpretations, executive orders, and formal guidance throughout the calendar year.

In terms of legislation, our legislature introduces on average 2,500 bills, with about 1,000 of them getting to the governor’s desk, and he signs between 85‑ and 90‑percent of those measures. There’s also, according to our Legislative Counsel Office, between 8,000 and 10,000 amendments to those 2,500 bills each year, so it’s quite a number of bills and amendments to track and analyze.

That’s a lot to keep track of, and there are public and private services to help advocates do that. One free bill information service is provided by the California Legislative Counsel, and it allows users to search for and track bills, as well review the full text of bills, resolutions, and constitutional amendments. It also lets users see a bill’s history, status, votes, analyses, and veto messages.

On the private/commercial side for tracking legislation there are a couple of options. One is LegiScan, which monitors bills in Congress and in all fifty state legislatures. Another paid option is CapitolTrack, which focuses on only California and takes data from the Legislative Counsel and other sources to allow users to customize bill tracking and reporting for clients or produce lists of bills by committee in each house.

On the regulatory side, the best source is California’s Office of Administrative Law. There are a number of methods for lobbyists to track regulatory actions by one or more administrative agencies and departments in the state. For example, there’s the California Regulatory Notice Register. It’s OAL’s weekly publication that contains the notices of proposed regulatory actions and other relevant notices and issues by state agencies.

Individuals can request to be on an agency or department’s interested mailings list. They all publish a rulemaking calendar which is required by law, in which it’s an annual list compiled of projected rulemaking activities for the upcoming calendar year.

As for analysis, there are essentially two types of legislative and regulatory analyses in my mind. The first, the initial one is to determine whether a particular bill, regulation, or amendment, etc., impacts your organization or your client. The second, broader analysis is, what is the impact of that pending legislation or pending regulations?

You can find the full transcript of today’s audio here.

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