McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli outside the California State Capitol

California’s Law Revision Commission was established almost 70 years ago as an independent state agency, and its purpose is to assist the Legislature and the Governor in reviewing and making suggested reforms to state statutes. Beginning this year, there is also a Committee on the Revision of the Penal Code.

The Commission is comprised of seven members who are appointed by the Governor and approved by the State Senate. Additionally, one State Senator and one Assemblymember are appointed to the Commission. The Legislative Counsel also serves as an ex-officio member. The Commission reviews California statutes as well as California appellate court decisions in order to discover any defects, or anachronisms, or other issues with California law, and to recommend legislation to make changes.

The Committee on the revision of the Penal Code consists of five members, all of whom are appointed by the Governor, as well as one State Senator and one Assemblymember. The members of the Committee are separate from members of the Commission.

The California Law Revision Commission is charged by statute to do four things.

  1. Examine the common law and statutes of the state and judicial decisions for the purpose of discovering defects and anachronisms in the law and recommending needed reforms.
  2. Receive and consider proposed changes in the law recommended by the American Law Institute, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, any bar association, and any other learned bodies.
  3. Receive and consider suggestions from judges, justices, public officials, lawyers, and the public generally regarding any defects and anachronisms in the law.
  4. Recommend from time to time such changes in the law as it deems necessary to modify or eliminate antiquated and inequitable rules of law, and to bring the law of the state into harmony with modern conditions.

The Commission must also recommend the repeal of any statute that’s been held to be unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court or the California Supreme Court.

Recommendations from California’s Law Revision Commission have resulted in changes to more than 22,500 sections of California’s Codes. Basically,  90% of the Commission’s recommendations have been enacted into law.

You can read the transcript of today’s podcast here.