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These Officials Live On In Statute

I always find outdated statutory references to be annoying, particularly when I'm dealing with a statutory scheme for the first time.  I recognize that the fun of legislation lies in writing new laws, but with the power to make law should come to the responsibility of keeping those laws current.  Below are just a few examples of offices that no longer exist:

Director of Health Services - Anyone wishing to sell lots in a subdivision and provide water through a mutual water company must, among other things, certify that it "has on file, a copy of the certificate of the State Director of Health Services, as required by Sections 116300 to 116385, inclusive, of the Health and Safety Code".  Corp. Code § 14312(a)(8) & (d)(6).  Good luck with getting that certificate today.  First, the legislature renumbered the referenced statutes more than two decades ago.  See Stats 1997 ch 734 § 6 (SB 1307).  Second, the last Director of Health Services, Sandra Shewry, left office on July 1, 2007, when California eliminated the Department in favor of two new departments - the Department of Public Health and the Department of Health Care Services.  2006 Stats. Ch. 241, SB 162 (Ortiz).  Although the name is similar, I wouldn't look for to that department for the required certificate.  It now seems that these certificates are available from the State Water Resources Control Board.  Cal. Health & Safety Code § 11627(b) & (ab).

Superintendent of Banks - California's usury limitations are found in Article XV of its Constitution.  In Section 1(2) there is a reference to the Superintendent of Banks.  That title, which dated to 1909, was eliminated in 1997 when the California legislature created the Department of Financial Institutions headed by the Commissioner of Financial Institutions.  1996 Stats. Ch. 1064, AB 2251 (Weggeland).  On July 1, 2013, the DFI and the Department of Corporations were combined to form the Department of Business Oversight headed by the Commissioner of Business Oversight.  

Commissioner of Financial Institutions - As explained above, the Commissioner of Financial Institutions had a relatively short run of less than two decades.  Nonetheless, many California statutes continue to refer to this defunct regulatory title.  Here are but a few of the these statutes:  Code of Civ. Proc. §§ 73c & 73d; Corp. Code §§ 1001, 31103; Fin. Code § 22304; Ins. Code § 14022; Rev. & Tax. Code § 24370; and Streets & Highway Code § 31172-73.

Commissioner of Corporations - For same reason that there is no longer a Commissioner of Financial Institutions, the position of Commissioner of Corporations no longer exists.  Jan Owen was California's last Commissioner of Corporations and first Commissioner of Business Oversight.  The California codes are sprinkled with references to the Commissioner of Corporations.  See, e.g., Bus. & Prof. Code § 7742; Corp. Code § 28715; Pub. Res. Code § 4734; and Gov't Code § 7603.

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About this Author

Keith Paul Bishop, Corporate Transactions Lawyer, finance securities attorney, Allen Matkins Law Firm

Keith Paul Bishop is a partner in Allen Matkins' Corporate and Securities practice group, and works out of the Orange County office. He represents clients in a wide range of corporate transactions, including public and private securities offerings of debt and equity, mergers and acquisitions, proxy contests and tender offers, corporate governance matters and federal and state securities laws (including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the Dodd-Frank Act), investment adviser, financial services regulation, and California administrative law. He regularly advises clients...