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California Law Revision Commission

-- Last revised 10/11/19 --

Governing Statute: Government Code §§ 8280-8298

[Added by 1984 Cal. Stat. ch. 1335, § 2; see also 1985 Cal. Stat. ch. 106, § 45 (amending Section 8295); 1989 Cal. Stat. ch. 152, § 1 (adding Section 8298). Formerly Gov't Code §§ 10300-10340, added by 1953 Cal. Stat. ch. 1445, § 2; amended by 1960 Cal. Stat. ch. 61, § 1 (1st Ex. Sess.); 1965 Cal. Stat. ch. 371, § 110; 1978 Cal. Stat. ch. 228, § 1; 1981 Cal. Stat. ch. 1106, § 2; 2004 Cal. Stat. ch. 193, § 33 (amending Section 8293); 2018 Cal. Stat. ch. 25 (amending Sections 8280, 8281, 8282, 8283, 8284, 8286, 8287, 8288, 8291, 8292, 8293, 8294, 8295, and 8296, and adding Sections 8281.5 and 8290.5.]

§ 8280. Creation of Commission and Committee

    8280. (a) There is created in the State Government the California Law Revision Commission.
    (b) Commencing January 1, 2020, there exists within the California Law Revision Commission the Committee on Revision of the Penal Code.
    (c) For purposes of this article, the following terms have the following meanings:
    (1) “Commission” means the California Law Revision Commission.
    (2) “Committee” means the Committee on Revision of the Penal Code, unless otherwise specified.

§ 8281. Membership of Commission

    8281. (a) The commission consists of one Member of the Senate appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules, one Member of the Assembly appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly, and seven members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Legislative Counsel is an ex officio member of the commission.
    (b) The Members of the Legislature appointed to the commission serve at the pleasure of the appointing power and shall participate in the activities of the commission to the extent that the participation is not incompatible with their respective public offices as Members of the Legislature. For the purposes of this article, those Members of the Legislature constitute a joint interim investigating committee on the subject of this article and, as a joint interim investigating committee, have the powers and duties imposed upon those committees by the Joint Rules of the Senate and Assembly.
    (c) The members appointed by the Governor shall be appointed for a term of four years. The terms of the members first appointed shall not commence earlier than October 1, 1953, and shall expire as follows: four on October 1, 1955, and three on October 1, 1957. When a vacancy occurs in any office filled by appointment by the Governor, the Governor shall appoint a person to the office, who shall hold office for the balance of the unexpired term of the person’s predecessor.

§ 8281.5 Membership of Committee

    8281.5. (a) The Committee on Revision of the Penal Code consists of one Member of the Senate appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules, one Member of the Assembly appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly, and five members appointed by the Governor.
    (b) (1) The Members of the Legislature appointed to the committee serve at the pleasure of the appointing power and shall participate in the activities of the committee to the extent that the participation is not incompatible with their respective public offices as Members of the Legislature.
    (2) For purposes of this article, those Members of the Legislature constitute a joint interim investigating committee on the subject of Section 8290.5 and, as a joint interim investigating committee, have the powers and duties imposed on those committees by the Joint Rules of the Senate and Assembly.
    (c) (1) The members appointed by the Governor shall be appointed for a term of four years. The terms of the members first appointed expire as follows:
    (A) Three terms expire on January 1, 2022.
    (B) Two terms expire on January 1, 2024.
    (2) When a vacancy occurs in any office within the committee filled by appointment by the Governor, the Governor shall appoint a person to the office, who shall hold office for the balance of the unexpired term of the person’s predecessor.
    (d) Members of the committee shall not be members of the commission.

§ 8282. Compensation and expenses

    8282. (a) The members of the commission and committee shall serve without compensation, except that each member appointed by the Governor shall receive one hundred dollars ($100) for each day’s attendance at a meeting of the commission or committee.
    (b) Each member of the commission and committee shall be allowed actual expenses incurred in the discharge of the member’s duties, including travel expenses.

§ 8283. Chairperson

    8283. (a) The commission shall select one of its members chairperson. Five members constitute a quorum of the commission.
    (b) The Governor shall select one of the committee members to serve as chairperson. Three members constitute a quorum of the committee.

§ 8284. Executive director

    8284. The commission may appoint an executive director and fix the director’s compensation, in accordance with law.

§ 8285. Employees

    8285. The commission may employ and fix the compensation, in accordance with law, of such professional, clerical and other assistants as may be necessary.

§ 8286. Assistance of state

    8286. The material of the State Library shall be made available to the commission and the committee. All state agencies, and other official state organizations, and all persons connected therewith shall give the commission and committee full information, and reasonable assistance in any matters of research requiring recourse to them, or to data within their knowledge or control.

§ 8287. Assistance of bar

    8287. The Board of Trustees of the State Bar shall assist the commission and the committee in any manner the commission or committee may request within the scope of its powers or duties.

§ 8288. Political activities of commissioners and staff

    8288. (a) No employee of the commission and no member appointed by the Governor shall, with respect to any proposed legislation concerning matters assigned to the commission for study pursuant to Section 8293, advocate the passage or defeat of the legislation by the Legislature or the approval or veto of the legislation by the Governor. An employee or member of the commission appointed by the Governor shall not advocate the passage or defeat of any legislation or the approval or veto of any legislation by the Governor, in that person’s official capacity as an employee or member.
    (b) An employee or member of the commission may appear and testify at any legislative committee hearing on legislation to implement a commission recommendation, for the purpose of explaining the recommendation and answering questions posed by the legislative committee members, if the employee or member of the commission does not violate the restrictions described in subdivision (a).

§ 8289. Duties of commission

    8289. The commission shall, within the limitations imposed by Section 8293:
    (a) 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.
    (b) 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 or other learned bodies.
    (c) Receive and consider suggestions from judges, justices, public officials, lawyers, and the public generally as to defects and anachronisms in the law.
    (d) 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 this state into harmony with modern conditions.

§ 8290. Unconstitutional and impliedly repealed statutes

    8290. The commission shall recommend the express repeal of all statutes repealed by implication, or held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the state or the Supreme Court of the United States.

§ 8290.5 Duties of Committee

    8290.5. (a) The committee shall study and make recommendations on revision of the Penal Code to achieve all of the following objectives:
    (1) Simplify and rationalize the substance of criminal law.
    (2) Simplify and rationalize criminal procedures.
    (3) Establish alternatives to incarceration that will aid in the rehabilitation of offenders.
    (4) Improve the system of parole and probation.
    (b) In making recommendations pursuant to subdivision (a), the committee may recommend adjustments to the length of sentence terms. In making that recommendation, the committee may consider any factors, including, but not limited to, any of the following:
    (1) The protection of the public.
    (2) The severity of the offense.
    (3) The rate of recidivism.
    (4) The availability and success of alternatives to incarceration.
    (5) Empirically significant disparities between individuals convicted of an offense and individuals convicted of other similar offenses.
    (c) The approval by the commission of any recommendations by the committee is not required.

§ 8291. Submission and distribution of reports

    8291. (a) The commission and the committee shall submit their reports, and their recommendations as to revision of the laws, to the Governor and the Legislature.
    (b) Notwithstanding Section 9795, the commission and the committee may provide a copy of a recommendation to each member of a legislative committee that is hearing legislation that would implement the recommendation.

Note. Section 8291 is limited by later-enacted rules governing distribution of state reports set out in Government Code Sections 11094-11099.

§ 8292. Contents of reports

    8292. The commission and the committee may, within the limitations imposed by Section 8293, include in their reports the legislative measures proposed by them to effect the adoption or enactment of the proposed revision. The reports may be accompanied by exhibits of various changes, modifications, improvements, and suggested enactments prepared or proposed by the commission or the committee with a full and accurate index thereto.

§ 8293. Calendar of topics

    8293. (a) The commission shall file a report at each regular session of the Legislature that shall contain a calendar of topics selected by it for study, including a list of the studies in progress and a list of topics intended for future consideration. The commission shall confine its studies to those topics set forth in the calendar contained in its last preceding report that have been or are thereafter approved for its study by concurrent resolution of the Legislature. The commission shall also study any topic that the Legislature, by concurrent resolution or statute, refers to it for study.
    (b) The committee shall prepare an annual report that describes its work in the prior calendar year and its expected work for the subsequent calendar year.

§ 8294. Printing of reports

    8294. The commission’s and committee’s reports, exhibits, and proposed legislative measures shall be printed by the State Printing Office under the supervision of the commission or committee, respectively. The exhibits shall be so printed as to show in the readiest manner the changes and repeals proposed by the commission or committee.

§ 8295. Cooperation with legislative committees

    8295. The commission and the committee shall confer and cooperate with any legislative committee on revision of the law and may contract with any other committee for the rendition of service, by either for the other, in the work of revision.

§ 8296. Cooperation with bar and other associations

    8296. The commission and the committee may cooperate with any bar association or other learned, professional, or scientific association, institution, or foundation in any manner suitable for the fulfillment of the purposes of this article.

§ 8297. Research contracts

    8297. The commission may, with the approval of the Director of General Services, enter into, amend and terminate contracts with colleges, universities, schools of law or other research institutions, or with qualified individuals for the purposes of research.

§ 8298. Recommendations concerning minor revisions

    8298. The commission may study and recommend revisions to correct technical or minor substantive defects in the statutes of the state without a prior concurrent resolution of the Legislature referring the matter to it for study.