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california political news & opinion
california legislation > SB 401

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Bill No: SB

Senator Roderick D. Wright, Chair
2011-2012 Regular Session
Bill Analysis

SB 401 Author: Fuller
Introduced: February 16, 2011
Hearing Date: April 26, 2011
Consultant: Paul Donahue

SUBJECT : Regulations: Review Process

SUMMARY : Specifies that every regulation proposed by a
state agency after January 1, 2012, shall include a
provision repealing the regulation in 5 years.

Existing law : The Administrative Procedure Act governs the
procedure for the adoption, amendment, or repeal of
regulations by state agencies and for the review of those
regulatory actions by the Office of Administrative Law.
(Govt. Code 11340 et seq.)

This bill :

1) Requires that every regulation proposed by an agency
after January 1, 2012, include a provision repealing the
regulation in 5 years.

2) Prohibits OAL from approving a proposed regulation
unless it contains repeal provisions.

3) Authorizes an agency, in the year prior to a
regulation's scheduled repeal, to amend the regulation to
extend the repeal date after complying with certain public
hearing requirements.


1) Note : This measure failed passage in this committee on
April 12, 2011. The committee granted reconsideration, and
the bill therefore appears on today's committee calendar.

SB 401 (Fuller)
Page 2

2) Purpose of the bill : The author notes that businesses
have left California, contemplated leaving the state, or
dismissed ever relocating to California often cite the
state's regulatory climate as the primary reason for their
decision. Job gains in Texas and Arizona far outpace those
of California. The author states that, for years,
regulations have been adopted by state agencies with no
follow-up review of the new rules to find out whether a
rule is achieving its original stated objective and not
causing economic harm.

The author believes that the built-in review process would
allow a determination as to whether a new rule is necessary
and would allow accumulation of at least 4 years' worth of
data to develop a thorough cost-benefit analysis of the new

3) Support : The supporters note that smart regulations are
necessary, cost effective, fairly enforced and regularly
updated to reflect changing conditions and needs. Currently
California regulations are adopted, reviewed, and approved
under a system established in 1979 and only modestly
changed thereafter. Since that time the Legislature has
granted massive new powers to government agencies and there
has been exponential growth in regulations concerning every
aspect of the economy, mostly outside the control or even
awareness of elected officials.

Supporters believe it is reasonable to periodically examine
how a regulation has been implemented for the previous 5
years, to hear public comment and bring to light problems
that could be resolved by new regulations or legislation.

4) Opposition : Opponents state that nobody could argue
with the notion that updating and streamlining regulations
is sensible and serves taxpayers' interests. However, an
automatic, across-the-board sunset mandate is totally
unnecessary because review of existing regulations can be
effectively addressed by agencies on a case-by-case basis,
and, moreover, existing law already provides for targeted
requests for review from the public and from the

The opponents to the bill contend that this type of sunset
mandate is completely unrealistic given the enormous

SB 401 (Fuller)
Page 3

resources it would entail. They believe it would
inordinately consumer limited government resources and
necessarily distract the government from critically
important tasks.

5) Related legislation :

SB 366 (Calderon, 2011) . Requires each state agency to
identify any regulations that are duplicative, overlapping,
inconsistent, or out of date, and adopt, amend, or repeal
regulations to reconcile or eliminate any duplication,
overlap, inconsistency, or out-of-date provisions. (Pending
in this Committee)

SB 396 (Huff, 2011) . Requires each state agency to review
each regulation adopted prior to January 1, 2011, and
report to the Legislature on the regulations. Beginning in
2018, at least every 5 years afterwards, each agency is
directed to review its regulations that have been in effect
for at least 20 years and submit a report to the
Legislature on its findings associated with the review. (On
calendar today in this Committee)

6) Note : This bill is double referred to Senate
Environmental Quality Committee.


American Chemistry Council
American Council of Engineering Companies of California
California Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns
California Business Properties Association
California Chapter of the American Fence Association
California Construction and Industrial Material Association
California Fence Contractors' Association
California Grocers Association
California Hotel and Lodging Association
California Manufacturers and Technology Association
California Restaurant Association
California Retailers Association
Consumer Specialty Products Association
Engineering and Utility Contractors Association
Engineering Contractors' Association
Flasher Barricade Association
Golden State Builders Exchanges
Marin Builders' Association

SB 401 (Fuller)
Page 4


American Lung Association in California
Breathe California
CA Conference Board of the Amalgamated Transit Union
CA Conference of Machinists
California League of Conservation Voters
CA Official Court Reporters Association
California Teamsters Public Affairs Council
Engineers and Scientists of California
International Longshore and Warehouse Union
Planning and Conservation League
Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 21
Sierra Club California
United Food and Commercial Workers - Western States
Utility Workers Union of America, Local 132