There are many who don’t realize that the highly trained attorneys in the California Office of Legislative Counsel will actually draft an initiative for the statewide ballot for members of the public. Basically, under existing state law, attorneys in the Legislative Counsel Bureau will assist in the preparation of drafting an initiative measure when

Both the California Constitution and the California Government Code describe in detail state mandated local programs. As a result of the constitution and the statutes in the Government Code, a California bill is identified as mandating or not mandating a local program.

If a mandated local program is going to be required, then the

McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli outside the California State Capitol

In California, as in most states, a statute is presumed to operate prospectively. When construing statutes, there’s a general presumption against retroactive cases unless the Legislature plainly has directed otherwise. So how might the Legislature plainly direct otherwise? Generally it’s by means of express language of retroactivity or some sort of information that provides

McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli outside the California State Capitol

Drafting penal code statutes is an important undertaking for any bill drafter because of the consequences for those who violate such statutes, which can include imprisonment as well as financial penalties, and because the courts at both the state and federal levels generally strictly construe these types of statutes. As a result, those who

McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli outside the California State Capitol

California, like most other states, uses sunset dates or sunset clauses in their legislation. It has the effect of making the law, what’s enacted, to expire on a specified date unless the Legislature enacts another bill to either extend or eliminate the sunset date.

Generally, we see sunset dates running from one to three

McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli outside the California State Capitol

Definitions can play an important role in legislation. Defining words or phrases is done to provide the reader of the legislative text with clear guidance regarding how these words or phrases are to be understood and used in the forthcoming legislation.

Where there are multiple definitions, they are most often found near the beginning

McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli outside the California State Capitol

One of the issues that is often discussed in legislative drafting is how to make legislation more readable. In other words, how to make the text of legislative measures easier to understand by those who are reading it, those who are subject to the law, or those who need to administer or even interpret

McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli outside the California State Capitol

Like many other states, California requires the office of the Legislative Counsel to draft measures – including bills, resolutions, and constitutional amendments – in a gender-neutral manner.

In 2018, California adopted Assembly Concurrent Resolution 260. According to the language of ACR 260, it is intended to encourage the Legislature to engage in a coordinated

McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli outside the California State Capitol

On occasion, a bill reader may come across a severability or savings clause contained in a California bill. Basically, the severability clause is a statement by the Legislature that if a part of a law that’s enacted is subsequently held to be invalid or unconstitutional, then the unconstitutional provision doesn’t invalidate the rest of

McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli outside the California State Capitol

Today we’ll take a look at some things that legislative drafters need to consider when drafting legislative constitutional amendments in California.

As you know, in the California Legislature there are constitutional amendments that can be introduced in either the Senate or the Assembly and those constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority vote in both