Successor agencies in California law

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Occasionally, the legislature closes an entity of the executive branch and creates a successor entity. This requires several steps, starting with the dissolution of the existing entity. This is followed by the creation of the new entity which succeeds the now dissolved entity. This may include the power, functions and employees of the former entity. The effective date of this transition must also be mentioned in the law.

Here is an example of successor entity legislation:

The National Water Resources Control Board is dissolved as of January 1, 2025. On that date, the Water Resources Department succeeds and is vested with all the powers, duties, objectives, responsibilities and jurisdictions vested in the National Water Resources Board. in water. Control Board, or any officer or employee thereof, under applicable law, including but not limited to laws under which water appropriation permits or licenses are issued, denied or revoked, under which the functions of pollution and water quality control are exercised and under which drinking water is regulated. Effective January 1, 2025, any legal reference to the National Water Resources Control Board shall be deemed to be a reference to the Department of Water Resources.

In some cases, all it takes is a paragraph or two for the successor entity to take control. However, more detailed wording is sometimes required in the bill to address changes or limitations to powers, duties, responsibilities, etc. of the successor entity.

In 2017, the Legislature transferred most of the powers and functions of the State Board of Equalization to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. Rather than changing every reference in the Revenue and Tax Code to reflect this change in authority, they added Section 20 to the Code with the following wording:

(a) Except as otherwise provided in subdivisions (b) and (c), and notwithstanding any other law, “advice” means the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.

(b) Unless the context otherwise requires, as used in this Code or any other Code, “commission”, in relation to an appeal, means the Office of Tax Appeals if the tax appeals authority processing appeals was transferred from the State Board of Equalization to the Office of Tax Appeals pursuant to Part 9.5 (beginning with Section 15670) of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

(c) Unless the context otherwise requires, as used in this Code or any other Code, “board” means the State Board of Equalization where the State Board of Equalization has retained authority pursuant to subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 15600.

(d) This section will come into force on July 1, 2017.

There are many other instances among California’s 29 codes in which successor entities are named and their authority and responsibility set forth. The examples shown above limit the amount of bill writing that needs to occur and ensure that sections of code that might be missed are covered by an overarching language.

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