February 23, 2019

February 22, 2019

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

February 21, 2019

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

February 20, 2019

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

California Courts and the Use of Legislative Intent Materials

Introduction

In determining the intent of the Legislature in enacting state laws, California courts have historically taken a limited view of legislative materials that can be used to determine intent. The courts generally rely upon certain types of legislative history documents to gain an understanding of the meaning of a statute and, ultimately, to apply the Legislature’s intent when interpreting a statute.

The determination of legislative intent is important because there are instances in which there are legitimate legal disputes between parties as to what statutory language may mean or what was intended by the language. In these cases, both parties will attempt to argue that their interpretation is the correct one that should be adopted by the court. Obviously, it is up to the judiciary to determine whose view is the correct one.

The concern is that the courts utilize an unrealistic viewpoint in determining which legislative intent materials can be properly used by a court to make a determination. For example, the courts have determined that documents available to all legislators are the proper ones to use. Of course, this is based upon the assumption, which is not likely correct, that all legislators read all of the materials before casting their votes.

This statement is not meant as a criticism of the Legislature or any individual legislators. Instead, it is simply an acknowledgment that legislators cannot be expected to read every bill and all of the background materials and analyses and thoroughly understand the intent behind each and every measure and the particular wording used in the legislation when they are voting on thousands of bills each year.

The other point from this author’s perspective is that California's legislative history is lacking, particularly in comparison to the materials produced by the federal legislature. Again, this is not a criticism of the California legislative process or the parties involved in it; rather, it is an acknowledgment that there is limited, insightful material produced in conjunction with the consideration of legislation because there are so many bills to review and analyze.

For example, Congress uses a committee mark-up session to delve deeply into the legislative language being used in a bill. They review in detail the language and discuss and debate it and there are transcripts of those hearings. In the California Legislature, on the other hand, committees rarely get into the details of bill language. There may be debate generally over the policy of a particular bill, but rarely any discussion about the bill’s actual language.

Also, at the federal level, there is the benefit of the Congressional Record, basically a verbatim transcript of debate and discussion regarding pending legislation, which is obviously very helpful for reviewing legislative history and intent. However, the Assembly Daily Journal and the Senate Daily Journal do not have anything in detail regarding legislative debate. As such, the main source of legislative intent in the California Legislature is either a committee analysis or floor analysis (generally based off the committee analysis).

Unfortunately, committee and floor analyses of bills rarely provide details or insights into why specific language was or was not used in a bill. Generally, the bill analyses explain existing law, changes to the law being made by the proposed bill, arguments for and against the bill, and a few staff comments. However, rarely is specific language discussed and reasons why that particular language was used. As a result, there are definite limitations in gleaning insight into the language used by the Legislature when it comes to bills.

Because of these factors, California courts’ reliance on certain legislative materials is important, but the courts may be taking an unnecessarily narrow view of which items can be appropriately used to determine the intent of the Legislature. One possible reason is that the judicial branch does not have a fundamental understanding of the legislative process.

In making determinations regarding which documents are properly considered by a court of law in determining legislative intent, the courts have not acknowledged a realistic view of the legislative process and they need to have greater familiarity with the legislative process in order to properly determine what true and accurate statements of legislative intent are and how they are made by members of the legislative branch of government.

As we live and operate in a legal world dominated by statutes, it is of increasing importance for our courts to properly interpret those statutes and determine what particular legislative language means. Our state statutes sometimes have ambiguities and courts must look to the legislative history to determine what those statutory words were intended to mean. Sometimes a statute’s plain reading can be followed, but at other times, that may not be so easy and courts will have to rely upon the limited evidence of legislative intent that is available.

Resorting to Intent and History Materials

Preliminarily, resorting to legislative history is appropriate only where statutory language is ambiguous. As the California Supreme Court has said, "Our role in construing a statute is to ascertain the Legislature's intent so as to effectuate the purpose of the law. In determining intent, we look first to the words of the statute, giving the language its usual, ordinary meaning. If there is no ambiguity in the language, we presume the Legislature meant what it said, and the plain meaning of the statute governs."[1]

Thus, "[o]nly when the language of a statute is susceptible to more than one reasonable construction is it appropriate to turn to extrinsic aids, including the legislative history of the measure, to ascertain its meaning."[2] Even where statutory language is ambiguous, and resort to legislative history is appropriate, as a general rule in order to be cognizable, legislative history must shed light on the collegial view of the Legislature as a whole. [emphasis added][3]

Thus, to pick but one example, the Supreme Court has said, "We have frequently stated . . . that the statements of an individual legislator, including the author of a bill, are generally not considered in construing a statute, as the court's task is to ascertain the intent of the Legislature as a whole in adopting a piece of legislation."[4]

Taking Judicial Notice

There are numerous decisions where appellate courts have taken judicial notice of the entire legislative history of a statute.[5] Some decisions have criticized parties who submit only selected parts of legislative history. For example, in Drouet v. Superior Court[6], the Supreme Court rejected an interpretation based on “isolated fragments of the Act’s legislative history,” pointing to a “single paragraph in a Senate committee analysis....”

Similarly, in Fremont Indemnity Co. v. Fremont General Corp.[7], the Second District Court of Appeal criticized the respondents’ reliance on two items of legislative history, noting that these were only “brief summaries” that would not be viewed as “comprehensive statements of the intent of the statute.”

In People v. Valenzuela[8], the Fourth District Court of Appeal denied a request for judicial notice of a letter from the bill’s author to the governor. Aside from the fact that the letter was not proper legislative history since it reflected the views of one legislator, the court was also “reluctant to sanction defense counsel’s selective presentation of one excerpt from the legislative history obtained from the Legislative Intent Service.”[9] “The entire legislative history should have been submitted to us.”[10]

California Law on Legislative Intent

In California, the use of legislative intent has long been established by both statute and case law. For example, California’s Code of Civil Procedure[11], which was enacted in 1872, provides the following mandate to the courts: “In the construction of a statute, the intention of the Legislature … is to be pursued, if possible …”

Similarly, the judicial notice statute in California law identifies admissible legislative history materials in Evidence Code Section 452(c)[12]. The cases cited under this section of state law identify various records with which the courts have a high comfort level to determine the intent of the Legislature in adding or amending a particular code section.

 

In broad terms, evidence of legislative intent can be derived from two primary sources: Either an intrinsic analysis of the statute and its surrounding statutory context according to standard principles of statutory construction; or, by use of extrinsic aids to reconstruct the legislative history of a statute to understand the meaning of the language.

As previously discussed, legislative intent is particularly difficult to ascertain in this state because there is limited documentation in the proceedings of the California Legislature.[13] In order for a court to resort to the statute’s legislative history, the court must be persuaded that the statute is sufficiently ambiguous.

Limitation on California Materials

The fundamental limitation in most California legislative history materials is that there is rarely an explanation of why certain words were chosen or why particular phrases were put in a statute. As a result, when interpreting a statute, it is difficult to know why the bill contains certain language, or why other language was not used, or why the language was changed, and what was intended by the chosen language.

Broadly speaking, one may be able to understand what the statutory language says, but rarely do bill analyses provide insights into why specific language was chosen. Moreover, the intent of specific bill language is rarely known outside a handful of individuals who were directly involved in drafting the bill language, or at least negotiated it, which is generally limited to the author and his or her staff, the bill’s sponsor, proponents, opponents, and policy committee staff. On other occasions, we may include fiscal committee staff and possibly leadership staff.

As will be discussed in greater detail below, the courts attribute intent to the entire legislature, as opposed to the bill’s author, for example, yet only a handful of legislators truly know the intent of a bill and why certain bill language was chosen for the statute. On the other hand, the vast majority of legislators voting on the bill do not.

Again, this is not a criticism of legislators. They consider and vote upon several thousand bills and amendments each year and so they cannot be expected to know details about all of those bills. That is why this author believes the courts should rely primarily upon what the bill author says about the bill’s intent and the language chosen.

The bill's author is in the best position to provide a clear statement of legislative intent as he or she is most intimately involved with the bill and the specific language used in that bill. As such, courts should provide greater deference to author's statements of intent, rather than documents shared with the entire legislature. In addition, all documents related to legislative history and intent should be merely subject to a relevance test.

Kaufman Case Discussion

In the key case to discuss the use of legislative intent materials, we find clear guidance provided by the decision. The appellate court issued its written decision on August 30, 2005 and, since then, it has been cited affirmatively more than 80 times. The case is Kaufman & Broad Communities, Inc., et al. v. Performance Plastering, Inc. (2005) 33 Cal.Rptr.3d 362. The written decision was issued by the Third District Court of Appeal and involved an opinion ruling on a motion for judicial notice of legislative history documents.

In a 3-0 decision, the appellate court set forth a listing of legislative history documents that are cognizable as well as those that do not constitute cognizable legislative history. There are numerous sources to help determine the legislative history and intent of a bill’s provisions the court determined.

The California Rules of Court[14] allow a party to seek a court to take judicial notice of documents that constitute cognizable legislative history. In this case, Performance Plastering sought for the court to accept legislative history of a 1998 amendment to California Revenue & Taxation Code Section 19719, which was added by Assembly Bill 1950[15].

The Kaufman court set forth that, in order that legislative intent be given effect, the statute should be construed within the ordinary meaning of the language used and in harmony with the whole system of law.  A wide variety of factors may illuminate legislative design, such as context, object in view, evils to be remedied, history of the times, and of legislation upon the same subject, public policy, and contemporaneous construction." [16]

In Kaufman, the court first discussed legislative history in general terms. The court began by criticizing “many attorneys” and “some professional legislative intent services” companies for their expansive view of legislative process papers being properly subject to judicial notice.

In fact, the appellate court told practitioners that the lack of segregation and justification for each request for judicial notice “must stop.” The court went on to describe “the purpose of this opinion is to help attorneys to better understand the role of legislative history and to encourage them to request judicial notice only of documents that constitute cognizable legislative history.”

How should those seeking to determine legislative intent proceed? First, one must review the introduced bill, each amended version of the bill, and the final bill language that was chaptered.[17] The purpose of doing so is to understand the changes made to the bill language, particularly which words and phrases were included or excluded. Courts also try to identify the broad policy framework and the statutory scheme within which to analyze any individual section, word, phrase, or clause of interest.

Courts first look to ascertain whether the legislative history document is relevant and whether the source is reliable so that the court will accept the document(s) as indicative of intent of the Legislature. What the appellate court did in the Kaufman case was to create two categories of legislative history documents.

The court specifically listed those it deemed to be "cognizable legislative history" and those it determined to be "not cognizable legislative history." The appellate court distinguished the two on the basis that "cognizable legislative history" is that which "must shed light on the collegial view of the Legislature as a whole."

In December 2005, the California Supreme Court was asked to depublish the Kaufman decision, but the Court declined.

Cognizable Legislative Documents

Pursuant to the Kaufman decision, the following are the documents that constitute cognizable legislative history in the court of appeal for the Third Appellate District and the cases that the court cited:

A. Ballot Pamphlets: Summaries and Arguments/Statement of Vote[18]

B. Committee Files[19]

C. Conference Committee Reports[20]

D. Different Versions of the Bill[21]

E. Floor Statements[22]

F. House Journals and Final Histories[23]

G. Reports of the Legislative Analyst[24]

H. Legislative Committee Reports and Analyses (including statements pertaining to the bill's purpose)[25]

* Assembly Committee on Criminal Law and Public Safety[26]

* Assembly Committee on Finance, Insurance and Commerce[27]

* Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization[28]

* Assembly Committee on Health[29]

* Assembly Committee on Human Services[30]

* Assembly Committee on Insurance[31]

* Assembly Committee on Judiciary[32]

* Assembly Committee on Labor, Employment and Consumer Affairs[33]

* Assembly Committee on Public Employees and Retirement[34]

* Assembly Committee on Public Safety[35]

* Assembly Committee on Retirement[36]

* Assembly Committee on Revenue and Tax[37]

* Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife[38]

* Assembly Committee on Ways and Means[39]

* Assembly Interim Committee on Municipal and County Government[40]

* Assembly Office of Research[41]

* Assembly Staff Analysis[42]

* Assembly Subcommittee on Health, Education and Welfare Services[43]

* Senate Committee on Appropriations Fiscal Summary of Bill[44]

* Senate Committee on Business and Professions[45]

* Senate Committee on Criminal Procedure[46]

* Senate Committee on Education[47]

* Senate Committee on Health and Human Services[48]

* Senate Committee on Health and Welfare[49]

* Senate Committee on Judiciary[50]

* Senate Committee on Revenue and Taxation[51]

* Senate Rules Committee[52]

* Senate Conference Committee[53]

* Senate Interim Committee on Fish and Game[54]

* Senate Subcommittee on Mental Health[55]

I. Legislative Counsel's Digest[56]

J. Legislative Counsel's Opinions/Supplementary Reports[57]

K. Legislative Party Floor Commentaries

* Senate Republican Floor Commentaries[58]

L. Official Commission Reports and Comments

* California Constitution Revision Commission[59]

* California State Government Organization and Economy Commission[60]

* Law Revision Commission[61]

M. Predecessor Bills[62]

N. Statements by Sponsors, Proponents and Opponents

* Assembly Bill Digest by Assembly Speaker[63]

* Floor Statement by Sponsoring Legislator[64]

O. Transcripts of Committee Hearings[65]

P. Analyses by Legislative Party Caucuses (e.g. Senate Democratic and Republican) [66]

* Assembly Office of Research Report[67]

* Assembly Committee on Judiciary[68]

* Office of Senate Floor Analyses[69]

Non-Cognizable Legislative Documents

Pursuant to the Kaufman decision, the following are the documents that do not constitute cognizable legislative history in the court of appeal for the Third Appellate District and the cases that the court cited:

  1. Authoring Legislator's Files, Letters, Press Releases and Statements Not Communicated to the Legislature as a Whole

* Files[70]

* General[71]

* Letters from Bill's Author to Governor Without an Indication the Author's Views Were Made Known to the Legislature as a Whole[72]

* Statements by Bill's Author About Bill's Intended Purpose[73]

B. Documents with Unknown Author and Purpose[74]

C. Enrolled Bill Reports Prepared by Executive Branch for Governor[75]

D. Handwritten Document Copies, without Author, Contained in Assembly-member's Files[76]

E. Letter from Consultant to the State Bar Taxation Section to Governor[77]

F. Letter from the Family Law Section of the State Bar of California to Assemblymember or Senator[78]

G. Letters to Governor Urging Signing of Bill[79]

H. Letters to Particular Legislators, Including Bill's Author[80]

I. Magazine Articles[81]

J. Memorandum from a Deputy District Attorney to Proponents of Assembly Bill[82]

K. Proposed Assembly Bill Which Was Withdrawn by Author[83]

L. State Bar's View of the Meaning of Proposed Legislation[84]

M. Subjective Intent Reflected by Statements of Interested Parties and Individual Legislators, Including Bill's Author, Not Communicated to Legislature as a Whole[85]

N. Views of Individual Legislators, Staffers, and Other Interested Persons

* Document Related to Bill from File of Assembly Committee on Ways and Means

* Material on Bill from File of Assembly Committee on Public Safety

* Material on Bill from File of Assembly Republican Caucus

* Material on Bill from File of Author

* Material on Bill from File of Office of Senate Floor Analyses

* Material on Bill from File of Senate Committee on Appropriations

* Material on Bill from File of Senate Committee on the Judiciary

* Post enrollment Documents Regarding Bill

The Kaufman court then reviewed specific items that were sought to have judicial notice and made the following conclusions based upon the rules set forth above:

A. The bill author’s fact sheet. The court ruled that this document was not “made available to the Legislature as a whole. Rather, it appears to reflect the personal view of Assemblymember Tom Torlakson. It does not constitute cognizable legislative history, and the request for judicial notice of this document is denied.”[86]

B. The Assembly Judiciary Committee Report. The court ruled that “the request for judicial notice is granted with respect to this document.”[87]

C. The Senate Judiciary Committee Report. The court ruled that “the request for judicial notice is granted with respect to this document.”[88]

D. Three enrolled bill reports prepared respectively by the Office of Insurance Advisor, the Department of Real Estate, and the Franchise Tax Board. The court ruled that “the request for judicial notice of these enrolled bill reports is denied.”[89]

Concerns with the Kaufman Decision

One issue raised in the Kaufman decision is whether the opinion undermines the importance of seeking legislative intent by limiting the information the court can take into account. Does reliance on a handful of documents limit consideration of the remainder of the bill file? Should a court review the entire body of documents related to a bill’s enactment? Does consideration of the entire set of documents better explain what problem was being addressed and how the legislation was developed?

The Kaufman decision specifically excludes some types of documents from consideration by a court, but they may be relevant to determining intent in some cases. In addition, does the Kaufman decision contravene existing state statutes?

For example, the Code of Civil Procedure[90] explicitly provides “In the construction of a statute the intention of the Legislature … is to be pursued, if possible”. (emphasis added) In addition, the Evidence Code[91] provides that, in taking judicial notice, “Any source of pertinent information…may be consulted or used.” In addition, Section 454(b) provides “Exclusionary rules of evidence do not apply except Section 352 and the rules of privilege”. (emphasis added) These statutes may provide the basis for courts to consider all documents from legislative bill files and allow individual judges to determine their probative value.

The fundamental concern expressed by critics of the Kaufman decision is that it is reliant upon the decision in California Teachers Assn. v. San Diego Community College Dist.[92] Here the court determined that the legislative history documents must shed light on the collegial view of the legislature to be useful. Based upon its reliance on this decision, the Kaufman court further restricted the general rule to limit documents to statements communicated to the legislature as a whole. But this position belies a misunderstanding about the legislative process and the knowledge of legislators when voting on bills.

In concept, the idea that a document setting forth legislative history must be “communicated to the legislature as a whole” does not make much sense because it is based upon the faulty assumption that those types of documents actually reflect the intent of the Legislature. It also assumes that the entire Assembly and the entire Senate has read a bill analysis, for example, and acknowledges that this document reflects their intent in voting for the bill.

The other point is that litigation over statutory language needing an interpretation by the judiciary is rarely reflected in the legislative documents supplied to the entire Legislature. Instead, these legal disputes over language could more likely be helped by statements made by the bill’s author, its supporters, and its opponents.

For example, litigation usually results over the precise language of a statute and an ambiguity or dispute over whether the language applies or does not apply to a particular set of facts. But this type of situation is almost never addressed in the documents supplied to the Legislature as a whole. Instead, it will be other documents generally not accepted as being of probative value and cognizable under the Kaufman decision.

A Closer Look at Certain Legislative Documents

The following is a brief summary of some of the key documents related to legislative history and intent:

Statements of Individual Legislators - The California Supreme Court has looked to “individual legislators’ (including co-authors’) comments from the Assembly and Senate committee files.”[93] The state Supreme Court referred to these materials, among others judicially noticed, as “expressions of legislative intent to construe it [the term “managing agent”] in the statute’s relative context.[94]

Statements by Sponsors - In Quarterman v. Kefauver[95], the First District Court of Appeal extracted the sponsor statements from legislative committee analyses. Similarly, the Second District Court of Appeal in Soil v. Superior Court[96] made several references to the statements of the sponsor of the legislation, and those of the opponents, as found in legislative committee analyses.

Legislative Intent Language - Some bills include “intent” language expressing findings and declarations of the Legislature regarding what the bill’s changes are intended to do or mean. Bill drafters should consider the pros and cons of using intent language. The following is one appellate court’s view of such language:

“That two legislators report contradictory legislative intent fortifies judicial reticence to rely on statements made by individual members of the Legislature as an expression of the intent of the entire body.[97] Other extrinsic aids to determine legislative intent are generally more persuasive.”

Legislative Counsel Opinions - Legislative Counsel Opinions are issued to legislators confidentially. As the client, a legislator can release an opinion and it is given weight by the courts. However, these opinions may not be shared with the entire legislature.

Letters to the Journal - Letters to the Journal of the Assembly or Senate are valuable for explaining the specifics of a bill, why it was carried by the author, and whether any provisions need to be clarified.

LAO Analyses - Legislative Analyst Office analyses are also viewed positively. However, they only analyze the budget and ballot measures. LAO previously analyzed the fiscal impact of all bills, but that has not occurred since the early 1990s.

Veto of Prior Bill - A veto message of a prior bill has been determined to shed light on legislative intent. Of course, this is written by the Governor and is not utilized by the Legislature as a whole when they are voting on a bill.

Bill Files - Bill files can offer several documents that may shed light on the legislature’s intent. This can include the author's bill files, committee bill files, and the Governor's chaptered bill files. Legislators and the Governor decide whether to make public their bill files. Committee bill files are subject to public inspection.

The author’s bill files could include public and private documents, such as internal memoranda, press releases, committee statements, and correspondence. Committee bill files contain bill versions, analyses, support and oppose letters, research, studies, opinions, testimony, and correspondence.

Governor's chaptered bill files include bills, analyses from the Legislature, as well as the analyses of the Department of Finance (on the fiscal impacts) and relevant executive branch agencies and departments. These files are usually confidential until the Governor is out of office. So, they are not actually relied upon by the entire legislature.

Other Reports - The California Law Revision Commission and Little Hoover Commission occasionally write reports on particular topics. They often make recommendation to changes in the law. Courts have relied upon these documents.

Alternative Approach Recommended

Perhaps a better approach for the judiciary is to focus on the relevance of the document(s) to the particular legal dispute, rather than a focus on a class of documents, in order to ascertain the intent of the legislature. This also reflects a more accurate understanding of the legislative process.

Legislative history documents are judicially noticeable extrinsic aides to statutory construction under Evidence Code Section 452(c). Pursuant to Evidence Code Section 452, there are no significant limits on the judicial discretion of a court to judicially notice documents as aides to statutory construction.[98] As a result, there is no limitation on a court to consider all documents of legislative history and determine whether they are relevant to helping ascertain the intent of the Legislature. This is the approach the courts should take in California


[1] Hunt v. Superior Court (1999) 21 Cal.4th 984, 1000, 90 Cal.Rptr.2d 236, 987 P.2d 705, followed in Curle v. Superior Court (2001) 24 Cal.4th 1057, 1063, 103 Cal.Rptr.2d 751, 16 P.3d 166; accord: Hoechst Celanese Corp. v. Franchise Tax Bd. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 508, 519, 106 Cal.Rptr.2d 548, 22 P.3d 324.

[2] Diamond Multimedia Systems, Inc. v. Superior Court (1999) 19 Cal.4th 1036, 1055, 80 Cal.Rptr.2d 828, 968 P.2d 539, followed in People v. Farell (2002) 28 Cal.4th 381, 394, 121 Cal.Rptr.2d 603, 48 P.3d 1155; accord: Esberg v. Union Oil Co. (2002) 28 Cal.4th 262, 269, 121 Cal.Rptr.2d 203, 47 P.3d 1069; Briggs v. Eden Council for Hope & Opportunity (1999) 19 Cal.4th 1106, 1119-1120, 81 Cal.Rptr.2d 471, 969 P.2d 564, and authorities cited therein; Professional Engineers in Cal. Government v. State Personnel Bd. (2001) 90 Cal.App.4th 678, 688-689, 109 Cal.Rptr.2d 375, but see Kulshrestha v. First Union Commercial Corp. (2004) 33 Cal.4th 601, 613, fn. 7, 15 Cal.Rptr.3d 793, 93 P.3d 386.

[3] See California Teachers Assn. v. San Diego Community College Dist. (1981) 28 Cal.3d 692, 701, 170 Cal.Rptr. 817, 621 P.2d 856.

[4] Quintano v. Mercury Casualty Co. (1995) 11 Cal.4th 1049, 1062, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 1, 906 P.2d 1057.

[5] See, e.g., Marie v. Riverside County Reg. Park, etc., 46 Cal.4th 282, 290-292 (2009); Stewart v. Rolling Stone LLC, 181 Cal.App.4th 664, 676 n. 8 (1st Dist., Div. 1 2010); Board of Retirement v. Superior Court, 101 Cal.App.4th 1062, 1070 n. 6 (2d Dist., Div. 6 2002); Alch v. Superior Court, 122 Cal.App.4th 339, 364 n. 12 (2d Dist., Div. 8 2004); Johnson v. Arvin-Edison Water Storage Dist., 174 Cal.App.4th 729, 735 n. 2 (5th Dist. 2009); People v. Connor, 115 Cal.App.4th 669, 681 n. 3 (6th Dist. 2004).

[6] 31 Cal.4th 583, 589 (2003).

[7] 148 Cal.App.4th 97, 128-129 (2007).

[8] 92 Cal.App.4th 768, 776 n. 3, 4 (2001).

[9] Id. at n. 4.

[10] Id.

[11] See Section 1859.

[12] Evidence Code Section 452 reads in full: 452. Judicial notice may be taken of the following matters to the extent that they are not embraced within Section 451:

(a) The decisional, constitutional, and statutory law of any state of the United States and the resolutions and private acts of the Congress of the United States and of the Legislature of this state.

(b) Regulations and legislative enactments issued by or under the authority of the United States or any public entity in the United States.

(c) Official acts of the legislative, executive, and judicial departments of the United States and of any state of the United States.

(d) Records of (1) any court of this state or (2) any court of record of the United States or of any state of the United States.

(e) Rules of court of (1) any court of this state or (2) any court of record of the United States or of any state of the United States.

(f) The law of an organization of nations and of foreign nations and public entities in foreign nations.

(g) Facts and propositions that are of such common knowledge within the territorial jurisdiction of the court that they cannot reasonably be the subject of dispute.

(h) Facts and propositions that are not reasonably subject to dispute and are capable of immediate and accurate determination by resort to sources of reasonably indisputable accuracy.

(Enacted by Stats. 1965, Ch. 299.)

[13] Compare this to the Congressional Record, which provides often verbatim transcriptions of Congressional proceedings.

[14] Rule 22(s).

[15] Statutes of 1998, Chapter 856, Section 2.

[16] People v. White (1978) 77 Cal. App. 3d Supp. 17.  

[17] See Murphy v. Kenneth Cole Productions, 40 Cal 4th 1094, 1107 (2007); Wells v. Onezone Learning Foundation, 39 Cal 4th 1164, 1191-1192 (2006); and Olmstead v. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., 32 Cal. 4th 804, 814 (2004)).

[18] Robert L. v. Superior Court (2003) 30 Cal.4th 894, 903, 135 Cal.Rptr.2d 30, 69 P.3d 951; Jahr v. Casebeer (1999) 70 Cal.App.4th 1250, 1255-1256, 1259, 83 Cal.Rptr.2d 172; Aguimatang v. California State Lottery (1991) 234 Cal.App.3d 769, 790-791, 286 Cal.Rptr. 57.

[19] James v. St. Elizabeth Community Hospital (1994) 30 Cal.App.4th 73, 81, 35 Cal.Rptr.2d 372; People v. Shegog (1986) 184 Cal.App.3d 899, 904, fn. 3, 229 Cal.Rptr. 345.

[20] Crowl v. Commission on Professional Competence (1990) 225 Cal.App.3d 334, 347, 275 Cal.Rptr. 86.

[21] Quintano v. Mercury Casualty Co., supra, 11 Cal.4th at p. 1062, fn. 5, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 1, 906 P.2d 1057; People v. Watie (2002) 100 Cal.App.4th 866, 884, 124 Cal.Rptr.2d 258; San Rafael Elementary School Dist. v. State Bd. of Education (1999) 73 Cal.App.4th 1018, 1025, fn. 8, 87 Cal.Rptr.2d 67; People v. Patterson (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 438, 442-443, 84 Cal.Rptr.2d 870.

[22] Dowhal v. SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare (2004) 32 Cal.4th 910, 926, fn. 6, 12 Cal.Rptr.3d 262, 88 P.3d 1; People v. Drennan (2000) 84 Cal.App.4th 1349, 1357-1358, 101 Cal.Rptr.2d 584; In re Marriage of Siller (1986) 187 Cal.App.3d 36, 46, fn. 6, 231 Cal.Rptr. 757.

[23] People v. Patterson, supra, 72 Cal. App.4th at pp. 442-443, 84 Cal.Rptr.2d 870 [procedural history of bill from Assembly final history]; Joyce G. v. Superior Court (1995) 38 Cal.App.4th 1501, 1509, 45 Cal.Rptr.2d 805; Natural Resources Defense Council v. Fish & Game Com. (1994) 28 Cal.App.4th 1104, 1117, 33 Cal.Rptr.2d 904, fn. 11 [House Conference Report]; Rosenthal v. Hansen (1973) 34 Cal.App.3d 754, 760, 110 Cal.Rptr. 257 [appendix to Journal of the Assembly]; Rollins v. State of California (1971) 14 Cal.App.3d 160, 165, fn. 8, 92 Cal.Rptr. 251 [appendix to Journal of the Senate].

[24] Heavenly Valley v. El Dorado County Bd. of Equalization (2000) 84 Cal.App.4th 1323, 1339-1340, 101 Cal.Rptr.2d 591; People v. Patterson, supra, 72 Cal.App.4th at p. 443, 84 Cal.Rptr.2d 870; Board of Administration v. Wilson (1997) 52 Cal.App.4th 1109, 1133, 61 Cal.Rptr.2d 207; Aguimatang v. California State Lottery, supra, 234 Cal.App.3d at p. 788, 286 Cal.Rptr. 57; People v. Gulbrandsen (1989) 209 Cal.App.3d 1547, 1562, 258 Cal.Rptr. 75.

[25] Hutnick v. United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co. (1988) 47 Cal.3d 456, 465, fn. 7, 253 Cal.Rptr. 236, 763 P.2d 1326.

[26] People v. Baniqued (2000) 85 Cal.App.4th 13, 27, fn. 13, 101 Cal.Rptr.2d 835.

[27] Martin v. Wells Fargo Bank (2001) 91 Cal.App.4th 489, 496, 110 Cal.Rptr.2d 653.

[28] Aguimatang v. California State Lottery, supra, 234 Cal.App.3d at p. 788, 286 Cal.Rptr. 57.

[29] Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. v. Zingale (2002) 99 Cal.App.4th 1018, 1025, 121 Cal.Rptr.2d 741; Khajavi v. Feather River Anesthesia Medical Group (2000) 84 Cal.App.4th 32, 50, 100 Cal.Rptr.2d 627; Zabetian v. Medical Board (2000) 80 Cal.App.4th 462, 468, 94 Cal.Rptr.2d 917; Clemente v. Amundson (1998) 60 Cal.App.4th 1094, 1106, 70 Cal.Rptr.2d 645.

[30] Golden Day Schools, Inc. v. Department of Education (1999) 69 Cal.App.4th 681, 692, 81 Cal.Rptr.2d 758.

[31] Santangelo v. Allstate Ins. Co. (1998) 65 Cal.App.4th 804, 814, fn. 8, 76 Cal.Rptr.2d 735.

[32] Guillemin v. Stein (2002) 104 Cal.App.4th 156, 166, 128 Cal.Rptr.2d 65; Calfarm Ins. Co. v. Wolf (2001) 86 Cal.App.4th 811, 816, fn. 8, 820, 103 Cal.Rptr.2d 584, fns. 27-28; In re Marriage of Perry (1998) 61 Cal.App.4th 295, 309, fn. 3, 71 Cal.Rptr.2d 499; Peltier v. McCloud River R.R. Co. (1995) 34 Cal.App.4th 1809, 1819, fn. 5, 41 Cal.Rptr.2d 182.

[33] Jensen v. BMW of North America, Inc. (1995) 35 Cal.App.4th 112, 138, 41 Cal.Rptr.2d 295.

[34] Board of Administration v. Wilson, supra, 52 Cal. App.4th at p. 1133, 61 Cal.Rptr.2d 207.

[35] People v. Blue Chevrolet Astro (2000) 83 Cal.App.4th 322, 329, 99 Cal.Rptr.2d 609; People v. Johnson (2000) 77 Cal.App.4th 410, 419, 91 Cal.Rptr.2d 596; People v. Sewell (2000) 80 Cal.App.4th 690, 695, 95 Cal.Rptr.2d 600; People v. Patterson, supra, 72 Cal.App.4th at pp. 442-443, 84 Cal.Rptr.2d 870; Sommerfield v. Helmick (1997) 57 Cal.App.4th 315, 319, 67 Cal.Rptr.2d 51; Ream v. Superior Court (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 1812, 1819, fn. 5, 1820-1821, 56 Cal.Rptr.2d 550 [interim hearing report and analysis of assembly bill]; People v. Frye (1994) 21 Cal.App.4th 1483, 1486, 27 Cal.Rptr.2d 52.

[36] Praiser v. Biggs Unified School Dist. (2001) 87 Cal.App.4th 398, 407, fn. 16, 104 Cal.Rptr.2d 551.

[37] Sunrise Retirement Villa v. Dear (1997) 58 Cal.App.4th 948, 959, 68 Cal.Rptr.2d 416.

[38] Natural Resources Defense Council v. Fish & Game Com., supra, 28 Cal.App.4th at p. 1118, 33 Cal.Rptr.2d 904 [bill analysis work sheet].

[39] People v. Patterson, supra, 72 Cal. App.4th at pp. 442-443, 84 Cal.Rptr.2d 870; Clemente v. Amundson, supra, 60 Cal.App.4th at p. 1106, 70 Cal.Rptr.2d 645.

[40] Board of Trustees v. Leach (1968) 258 Cal.App.2d 281, 286, 65 Cal.Rptr. 588.

[41] Forty-Niner Truck Plaza, Inc. v. Union Oil Co. (1997) 58 Cal.App.4th 1261, 1273, 68 Cal.Rptr.2d 532.

[42] Clemente v. Amundson, supra, 60 Cal.App.4th at p. 1107, 70 Cal.Rptr.2d 645.

[43] A.H. Robins Co. v. Department of Health (1976) 59 Cal.App.3d 903, 908-909, 130 Cal.Rptr. 901.

[44] People v. Patterson, supra, 72 Cal.App.4th at p. 443, 84 Cal.Rptr.2d 870.

[45] Hassan v. Mercy American River Hospital (2003) 31 Cal.4th 709, 722, 3 Cal.Rptr.3d 623, 74 P.3d 726 [Senate committee staff analysis]; Khajavi v. Feather River Anesthesia Medical Group, supra, 84 Cal.App.4th at p. 50, 100 Cal.Rptr.2d 627; Forty-Niner Truck Plaza, Inc. v. Union Oil Co., supra, 58 Cal. App.4th at p. 1273, 68 Cal.Rptr.2d 532 [bill analysis work sheet].

[46] People v. Blue Chevrolet Astro, supra, 83 Cal.App.4th at p. 329, 99 Cal.Rptr.2d 609.

[47] Praiser v. Biggs Unified School Dist., supra, 87 Cal.App.4th at p. 407, fn. 15, 104 Cal.Rptr.2d 551; Golden Day Schools, Inc. v. Department of Education, supra, 69 Cal.App.4th at p. 692, 81 Cal.Rptr.2d 758.

[48] In re Raymond E. (2002) 97 Cal.App.4th 613, 617, 118 Cal.Rptr.2d 376.

[49] Zabetian v. Medical Board, supra, 80 Cal.App.4th at p. 468, 94 Cal.Rptr.2d 917; Clemente v. Amundson, supra, 60 Cal.App.4th at p. 1105, 70 Cal.Rptr.2d 645 [request for approval of Senate bill].

[50] Martin v. Szeto (2004) 32 Cal.4th 445, 450, 9 Cal.Rptr.3d 687, 84 P.3d 374 [background information]; Boehm & Associates v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd. (2003) 108 Cal.App.4th 137, 146, 133 Cal.Rptr.2d 396; Westly v. U.S. Bancorp (2003) 114 Cal.App.4th 577, 583, 7 Cal.Rptr.3d 838; Wood v. County of San Joaquin (2003) 111 Cal.App.4th 960, 970, 4 Cal.Rptr.3d 340; People v. Robinson (2002) 104 Cal.App.4th 902, 905, 128 Cal.Rptr.2d 619; Guillemin v. Stein, supra, 104 Cal.App.4th at p. 167, 128 Cal.Rptr.2d 65; In re Michael D. (2002) 100 Cal.App.4th 115, 122-123, 121 Cal.Rptr.2d 909; In re Raymond E., supra, 97 Cal.App.4th at p. 617, 118 Cal.Rptr.2d 376; People v. Patterson, supra, 72 Cal.App.4th at p. 443, 84 Cal.Rptr.2d 870; In re Marriage of Perry, supra, 61 Cal.App.4th at p. 309, fn. 3, 71 Cal.Rptr.2d 499.

[51] Heavenly Valley v. El Dorado County Bd. of Equalization, supra, 84 Cal. App.4th at p. 1340, 101 Cal.Rptr.2d 591; Sacramento County Fire Protection Dist. v. Sacramento County Assessment Appeals Bd. (1999) 75 Cal.App.4th 327, 335, 89 Cal.Rptr.2d 215; Sunrise Retirement Villa v. Dear, supra, 58 Cal.App.4th at p. 959, 68 Cal.Rptr.2d 416.

[52] Guillemin v. Stein, supra, 104 Cal.App.4th at p. 166, 128 Cal.Rptr.2d 65.

[53] Golden Day Schools, Inc. v. Department of Education, supra, 69 Cal.App.4th at p. 692, 81 Cal.Rptr.2d 758.

[54] California Trout, Inc. v. State Water Resources Control Bd. (1989) 207 Cal.App.3d 585, 597, 255 Cal.Rptr. 184.

[55] Clemente v. Amundson, supra, 60 Cal.App.4th at p. 1104, fn. 10, 70 Cal.Rptr.2d 645.

[56] Pacific Gas & Electric Co. v. Department of Water Resources (2003) 112 Cal.App.4th 477, 482-483, 5 Cal.Rptr.3d 283; People v. Allen (2001) 88 Cal.App.4th 986, 995, 106 Cal.Rptr.2d 253; Heavenly Valley v. El Dorado County Bd. of Equalization, supra, 84 Cal.App.4th at p. 1339, 101 Cal.Rptr.2d 591; People v. Harper (2000) 82 Cal.App.4th 1413, 1418, 98 Cal.Rptr.2d 894; Alt v. Superior Court (1999) 74 Cal.App.4th 950, 959, fn. 4, 88 Cal.Rptr.2d 530; Construction Industry Force Account Council v. Amador Water Agency (1999) 71 Cal.App.4th 810, 813, 84 Cal.Rptr.2d 139; People v. Prothero (1997) 57 Cal.App.4th 126, 133, fn. 7, 66 Cal.Rptr.2d 779; Peltier v. McCloud River R.R. Co., supra, 34 Cal.App.4th at p. 1819, fn. 5, 41 Cal.Rptr.2d 182.

[57] Trinkle v. California State Lottery (2003) 105 Cal.App.4th 1401, 1410, fn. 7, 129 Cal.Rptr.2d 904; Trinkle v. Stroh (1997) 60 Cal.App.4th 771, 778, fn. 4, 70 Cal.Rptr.2d 661; People v. $31,500 United States Currency (1995) 32 Cal.App.4th 1442, 1460-1461, 38 Cal.Rptr.2d 836.

[58] Pacific Gas & Electric Co. v. Department of Water Resources, supra, 112 Cal. App.4th at p. 498, 5 Cal.Rptr.3d 283.

[59] Katzberg v. Regents of University of California (2002) 29 Cal.4th 300, 319, fn. 18, 127 Cal.Rptr.2d 482, 58 P.3d 339 [proposed revision].

[60] Department of Personnel Administration v. Superior Court (1992) 5 Cal.App.4th 155, 183, 6 Cal.Rptr.2d 714.

[61] Estate of Dye (2001) 92 Cal.App.4th 966, 985, 112 Cal.Rptr.2d 362; Estate of Della Sala (1999) 73 Cal.App.4th 463, 469, 86 Cal.Rptr.2d 569; Estate of Reeves (1991) 233 Cal.App.3d 651, 656, 284 Cal.Rptr. 650; In re Marriage of Schenck (1991) 228 Cal.App.3d 1474, 1480, fn. 2, 279 Cal.Rptr. 651.

[62] City of Richmond v. Commission on State Mandates (1998) 64 Cal.App.4th 1190, 1199, 75 Cal.Rptr.2d 754.

[63] People v. Drennan, supra, 84 Cal.App.4th at p. 1357, 101 Cal.Rptr.2d 584.

[64] In re Marriage of Siller, supra, 187 Cal.App.3d at p. 46, fn. 6, 231 Cal.Rptr. 757.

[65] Lantzy v. Centex Homes (2003) 31 Cal.4th 363, 376, 2 Cal.Rptr.3d 655, 73 P.3d 517; Hoechst Celanese Corp. v. Franchise Tax Bd. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 508, 519, fn. 5, 106 Cal.Rptr.2d 548, 22 P.3d 324.

[66] People v. Allen, supra, 88 Cal. App.4th at p. 995, fn. 16, 106 Cal.Rptr.2d 253; Golden Day Schools, Inc. v. Department of Education, supra, 69 Cal.App.4th at p. 691-692, 81 Cal.Rptr.2d 758; Forty-Niner Truck Plaza, Inc. v. Union Oil Co., supra, 58 Cal.App.4th at p. 1273, 68 Cal.Rptr.2d 532.

[67] Crowl v. Commission on Professional Competence, supra, 225 Cal.App.3d at pp. 346-347, 275 Cal.Rptr. 86 [staff report].

[68] Wood v. County of San Joaquin, supra, 111 Cal.App.4th at p. 969, 4 Cal.Rptr.3d 340; Rieger v. Arnold (2002) 104 Cal.App.4th 451, 463, 128 Cal.Rptr.2d 295; Guillemin v. Stein, supra, 104 Cal.App.4th at p. 167, 128 Cal.Rptr.2d 65.)

Office of Assembly Floor Analyses (People v. Patterson, supra, 72 Cal. App.4th at p. 443, 84 Cal.Rptr.2d 870.

[69] Pacific Gas & Electric Co. v. Department of Water Resources, supra, 112 Cal.App.4th at p. 497, 5 Cal.Rptr.3d 283; People v. Robinson, supra, 104 Cal.App.4th at p. 905, 128 Cal.Rptr.2d 619; In re Raymond E., supra, 97 Cal.App.4th at pp. 616-617, 118 Cal.Rptr.2d 376; Khajavi v. Feather River Anesthesia Medical Group, supra, 84 Cal.App.4th at p. 50, 100 Cal.Rptr.2d 627; People v. Chavez (1996) 44 Cal.App.4th 1144, 1155-1156, 52 Cal.Rptr.2d 347.

[70] People v. Patterson, supra, 72 Cal.App.4th at p. 444, 84 Cal.Rptr.2d 870.

[71] People v. Garcia (2002) 28 Cal.4th 1166, 1176, fn. 5, 124 Cal.Rptr.2d 464, 52 P.3d 648.

[72] Heavenly Valley v. El Dorado County Bd. of Equalization, supra, 84 Cal.App.4th at p. 1340-1341, 101 Cal.Rptr.2d 591; People v. Patterson, supra, 72 Cal.App.4th at pp. 443-444, 84 Cal.Rptr.2d 870.

[73] People v. Patterson, supra, 72 Cal.App.4th at p. 443, 84 Cal.Rptr.2d 870.

[74] State Compensation Ins. Fund v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd. (1985) 40 Cal.3d 5, 10, fn. 3, 219 Cal.Rptr. 13, 706 P.2d 1146.

[75] Hutnick v. United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co., supra, 47 Cal.3d at p. 465, fn. 7, 253 Cal.Rptr. 236, 763 P.2d 1326; People v. Patterson, supra, 72 Cal.App.4th at p. 444, 84 Cal.Rptr.2d 870.

[76] Amwest Surety Ins. Co. v. Wilson (1995) 11 Cal.4th 1243, 1263, fn. 13, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 12, 906 P.2d 1112.

[77] Heavenly Valley v. El Dorado County Bd. of Equalization, supra, 84 Cal.App.4th at pp. 1340-1341, 101 Cal.Rptr.2d 591.

[78] In re Marriage of Pendleton & Fireman (2000) 24 Cal.4th 39, 47, 99 Cal.Rptr.2d 278, 5 P.3d 839.

[79] California Teachers Assn. v. San Diego Community College Dist., supra, 28 Cal.3d at p. 701, 170 Cal.Rptr. 817, 621 P.2d 856; Heavenly Valley v. El Dorado County Bd. of Equalization, supra, 84 Cal. App.4th at p. 1327, fn. 2, 101 Cal.Rptr.2d 591.

[80] Quintano v. Mercury Casualty Co., supra, 11 Cal.4th at p. 1062, fn. 5, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 1, 906 P.2d 1057; Heavenly Valley v. El Dorado County Bd. of Equalization, supra, 84 Cal. App.4th at p. 1327, fn. 2, 101 Cal.Rptr.2d 591.

[81] Cortez v. Purolator Air Filtration Products Co. (2000) 23 Cal.4th 163, 168, 96 Cal.Rptr.2d 518, 999 P.2d 706.

[82] People v. Garcia, supra, 28 Cal.4th at p. 1176, fn. 5, 124 Cal.Rptr.2d 464, 52 P.3d 648.

[83] Heavenly Valley v. El Dorado County Bd. of Equalization, supra, 84 Cal.App.4th at p. 1342, 101 Cal.Rptr.2d 591.

[84] Peltier v. McCloud River R.R. Co., supra, 34 Cal.App.4th at p. 1820, 41 Cal.Rptr.2d 182.

[85] Quintano v. Mercury Casualty Co., supra, 11 Cal.4th at p. 1062, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 1, 906 P.2d 1057; Collins v. Department of Transportation (2003) 114 Cal.App.4th 859, 870, fn. 11, 8 Cal.Rptr.3d 132.

[86] See Quintano v. Mercury Casualty Co., supra, 11 Cal.4th at p. 1062, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 1, 906 P.2d 1057; People v. Patterson, supra, 72 Cal.App.4th at p. 444, 84 Cal.Rptr.2d 870.

[87] Guillemin v. Stein, supra, 104 Cal.App.4th at p. 166, 128 Cal.Rptr.2d 65, and authorities cited at pp. 365-66 of this opinion, ante.

[88] Martin v. Szeto, supra, 32 Cal.4th at p. 450, 9 Cal.Rptr.3d 687, 84 P.3d 374, and authorities cited at pp. 366-67 of this opinion, ante.

[89] Hutnick v. United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co., supra, 47 Cal.3d at p. 465, fn. 7, 253 Cal.Rptr. 236, 763 P.2d 1326; People v. Patterson, supra, 72 Cal.App.4th at p. 444, 84 Cal.Rptr.2d 870.

[90] See Section 1859.

[91] Section 454(a).

[92] (1981) 28 Cal. 3d. 692, 701.

[93] White v. Ultramar, Inc. 21 Cal.4th 563, 572, fn. 3 (1999).

[94] Id., page 572.

[95] 55 CA4th 1366 (1997).

[96] 55 CA4th, 872, 878-880 (1997).

[97] See Ballard v. Anderson (1971) 4 Cal.3d 873, 881 [95 Cal.Rptr. 1, 484 P.2d 1345]; Rich v. State Board of Optometry (1965) 235 Cal.App.2d 591, 603 [45 Cal.Rptr. 512] (hg. den.).

[98] Note Evidence Code Section 450, Law Revision Commission Comment: “Section 450 will neither broaden nor limit the extent to which a court may resort to extrinsic aides . . .Nor will Section 450 broaden or limit the extent to which a court may take judicial notice of any other matter not specified in Section 451 or 452.”

© 2019 University of the Pacific, Calif. All rights reserved.

TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS


About this Author

Chris M. Micheli, Attorney, California legislative advocate eSacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli
Adjunct Professor

Chris Micheli is an attorney and legislative advocate for the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc. As a lobbyist in the labor and employment field, he was directly involved in the development of California’s changes to its Equal Pay Act. The Wall Street Journal (July 1998) called him "one of the top three business tax lobbyists in the state." The Los Angeles Times (May 2005) described him as an "elite lobbyist," and Capitol Weekly (August 2006) described him as a "prominent lobbyist." He received his B.A. in Political Science - Public Service (1989) from the...

(916) 448-3075