Who We Are

Founded in 1913, the Office of Legislative Counsel is a nonpartisan public agency that drafts legislative proposals, prepares legal opinions, and provides other confidential legal services to the Legislature and other clients.

Our Vision

Advancing an effective legislative process for all Californians.


Our Mission

We support the California Legislature by providing responsive nonpartisan legal and technology expertise.


Our Values

Integrity

We commit to doing the right thing, professionally and ethically.

Client Service

We are responsive to our clients and customers, delivering quality products and services that best meet their needs.

Teamwork

We work collaboratively and respectfully to achieve our mission.

Excellence

We are dedicated to building and developing our individual and collective expertise to enhance the quality of the service we provide to our customers and clients.

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California Capitol from an angle

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Past & Present Legislative Counsels

Cara L. Jenkins

2020 - Current

Cara Jenkins

Cara Jenkins was appointed as Legislative Counsel on December 7, 2020.

Ms. Jenkins joined the office in 2010. Most recently, she led the Legislative Counsel’s Capitol Office, where she served as the first point of contact for legislators and staff. Her duties also included working with Rules Committees in both houses, representing the Legislature in litigation, drafting complex legislation, drafting contracts, and teaching social media classes to legislative staff. Ms. Jenkins was previously assigned to the Legislative Services Branch. This branch is responsible for advising the Members and legislative staff on legislature procedure, appropriations and the state budget, the Political Reform Act of 1974, election law, litigation, personnel issues, and other legislative matters, and for drafting contracts and leases.

Prior to joining the office, Ms. Jenkins worked as an associate at a private law firm in Sacramento, specializing in foreclosure defense and bankruptcy law, and directing and supervising attorneys and support staff. She also interned at various private and public offices including the Sacramento City Attorney’s office and the California Department of Justice where she gained experience in business, employment, contract, and education law.

For more than a decade before law school, she worked for DST Output in El Dorado Hills, California, as a manager in corporate communications, and for an advertising agency in Santa Barbara, California.

Ms. Jenkins received her J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.  Her achievements at McGeorge School of Law include: best brief, Appellate & International Advocacy Moot Court Competition; Moot Court Honors Board; Traynor Honor Society; and the Dean’s Honor List. She was also a Sacramento County Bar Association Diversity Law Fellow.  Ms. Jenkins is a member of the California State Bar.

She serves as a member of the California Law Revision Commission and member of the California Commission on Uniform State Laws.

Diane F. Boyer-Vine

2002 - 2020

Diane Boyer-Vine

Diane Boyer-Vine was appointed Legislative Counsel of California on June 6, 2002.

Ms. Boyer-Vine joined the office in 1988. During her tenure with the office, she has worked on issues involving the state budget and sat with the budget conference committee for one year. She was also involved in representing the California Legislature in various litigation actions, including assisting in preparing the amicus curiae brief before the United States Supreme Court in Keller v. The State Bar of California.

In the early 1990's, Ms. Boyer-Vine worked with the Department of Education's task force on recodifying the Education Code. During her tenure as a chief deputy of the office, she also assisted the Senate Committee on Insurance and the Assembly Committee on Insurance during the investigation of the settlement practices of the Department of Insurance under former Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush.

Prior to joining the office, Ms. Boyer-Vine was an associate at the law firm of Martorana and Stockman. She also was a judicial extern in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Ms. Boyer-Vine received her J.D. from the University of California, Davis, King Hall School of Law. She received her undergraduate degree in business administration from California State University, Sacramento.

Ms. Boyer-Vine is a member of the California State Bar. She serves as a member of the California Commission on Uniform State Laws and the California Law Revision Commission. She also is a member of the Sacramento County Bar Association.

Bion M. Gregory

1976 - 2001

Bion Gregory

Bion M. Gregory received his A.B. degree from Stanford University in 1962, and his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1968. He served as Legislative Counsel from 1976 through 2001. Prior to practicing law, he served as a Lieutenant in the US Navy. Mr. Gregory was a deputy legislative counsel from 1968 to 1970, and Chief Counsel to the Senate Committee on Judiciary from 1971 to 1976. Mr. Gregory served as President of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws from 1995 to 1997. He was active in the American Bar Association, serving as a member of the House of Delegates, and was a member of the State and Local Government and Business Law Sections. He served as the President of the Sacramento County Bar Association. He was a member of the American Law Institute, and a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He served on the California Law Revision Commission from 1976 through 2001 and served on the California Commission on Uniform State Laws since 1976. He was a Trustee of the Sacramento Law Foundation and the Junior Statesmen Foundation. He was a member of the Board of Advisors for the YMCA Model Legislature and Court, and the Independent Advisory Board of the McGeorge School of Law Institute for Legislative Practice.

George H. Murphy

1964 - 1976

George Murphy

Mr. George H. Murphy was born in Aurora, Nebraska, on September 12, 1913. He received his A.B., LL.B., and J.D. degrees from the University of Nebraska, and was admitted to the Nebraska bar in 1937, and to the California bar in 1938. Mr. Murphy practiced law in San Francisco from 1945 to 1947, and then served as a deputy legislative counsel from 1947 to 1964. He was a member of the California Commission on Uniform State Laws and of the California Law Revision Commission from 1964 to 1976.

Mr. Murphy married Betty Shuhaw; their children are George Wilton and Robert Edward.

* George H. Murphy was acting Legislative Counsel September 28, 1964 to December 1, 1964.

Angus C. Morrison

1961 - 1964

Angus Morrison

Angus C. Morrison was born in 1910; he received his LL.B. degree from Hastings College of the Law, and was admitted to the California Bar in 1934. Mr. Morrison worked at the State Employment Department before becoming a deputy legislative counsel in 1949. He was Chief Deputy at the time of his appointment as Legislative Counsel. Mr. Morrison was a member of the California Commission on Uniform State Laws and of the California Law Revision Commission.

His wife was Mary Morrison; they had a son, Robert. Mr. Morrison died on September 27, 1964.

Ralph Norman Kleps

1950 - 1961

Ralph Kleps

Ralph Kleps was born in Batavia, New York, on February 4, 1914. He received A.B. and LL.B. degrees from Cornell, was admitted to the California Bar in 1939, and practiced law in San Francisco.

Mr. Kleps was Law Clerk for Chief Justice Phil S. Gibson, California Supreme Court, from 1941 to 1942, director of research for the Judicial Council of California from 1944 to 1945, chief of the California Division of Administrative Procedure from 1945 to 1950, the director of the Administrative Office of California Courts, San Francisco, and president, National Legislative Conference during 1955. He served on the Executive Committee of the California Constitutional Revision Commission and as Chair of the National Conference of Court Administrative Officers. He was the author of articles in professional journals. Mr. Kleps was a member of the California Commission on Uniform State Laws and the California Law Revision Commission.

He married Patricia Prescott; they had three children, Christopher P., Douglas J., and Pamela W.

Fred B. Wood

1927 - 1950

Fred Wood

Fred B. Wood was born in Tecumseh, Michigan, on June 15, 1888. He received A.B. and J.D. degrees from Stanford University.

Prior to serving as Legislative Counsel, Mr. Wood was the Chief Deputy Legislative Counsel from 1914 to 1922, thereafter, he was in private practice from 1922 to 1927. He was Secretary of the California Code Commission from 1929 to 1950, and a member of the California Commission on Uniform State Laws and the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws from 1941 to 1950. Mr. Wood also served on the School Code Commission during 1928; State Personnel Board from 1934 to 1939; and the Rules Codification Board from 1941 to 1947. He was Secretary of the California Commission on County Home Rule and Constitutional Revision during 1930. He left the office of Legislative Counsel when he was appointed Justice of the First District Court of Appeal, Division One, by Governor Warren in May, 1950, and served in that capacity until 1959.

Mr. Wood was initially appointed by Governor C. C. Young, and later chosen by the Legislature to continue as Legislative Counsel, because the mode of appointment changed during his years of service.

In describing the revision of twenty-five codes of law between 1929 and 1953, the Final Report of the California Code Commission states, "… a very large share of the credit for the completion of the program properly belongs to Fred B. Wood. . . . To him belongs the major credit for directing the details of the research for and the drafting of the codes, and for carrying out the policies and programs of the commission."

He married Alice L. Satterthwaite on September 26, 1914, they had two sons, Frederick B. and Perry S. Mr. Wood died on December 30, 1961.

Thomas M. Gannon

1923 - 1927

Thomas Gannon

Thomas M. Gannon was appointed by Governor F. W. Richardson. He was a member of the Sacramento Bar and a franchise tax expert. He was appointed to the State Board of Prison Directors, and was a Member of the 1925 Commission for the Reform of Criminal Procedure. After leaving the position of Legislative Counsel, he served as an examiner for the State Railroad Commission and as assistant chief State Building and Loan Commissioner.

John A. McGilvray

1923 - 1923

John McGilvray

John A. McGilvray was born in 1882; he practiced law in Sacramento and served as a deputy legislative counsel. He was appointed as Legislative Counsel by Governor F. W. Richardson, but left office after a short time to take a position on the State Industrial Accident Commission. Later, Mr. McGilvray served as chair of the Sacramento County Civil Service Commission and as counsel for the California Press Association and the California Newspaper Publishers’ Association.

He was married, and was the father of five children. John McGilvray died in Sacramento on November 10, 1938.

George B. Bush

1920 - 1923

George Bush

George B. Bush was born in Englewood, Kansas, on May 25, 1887. He was a graduate of Stanford University, a practicing lawyer in state and federal courts, and prosecuting attorney of Riverside, California, from 1917 to 1918. Mr. Bush authored articles on oil land leasing, and represented the State of California in a major claim in federal court. He was a member of the California Bar Association and the American Bar Association. The Index of California Law, 1850-1919, was completed and published in 1921, under his direction.

Mr. Bush was married to Marian Van Velsor Will on December 25, 1916; they had one son, George Barnard, Jr.

Arthur P. Will

1914 - 1920

Arthur Will

Arthur P. Will was born in Walter’s Falls, Canada, on January 11, 1868. He received an LL.B. and LL.M. from the University of Michigan. Mr. Will was the first Legislative Counsel. Prior to the appointment, he was a practicing attorney in Los Angeles, with experience in legal authorship and special investigations. After serving six years, he resigned to take the position of referee of the Land Title Court of Los Angeles County. During wartime, he served as Federal Director for California of the United States Public Service Reserve.

Mr. Will was married to Flora Maude Quigley in October, 1895; they had two children, Arthur Joseph and Percival Drake.

Our History

The California Legislature recognized the need for a legal adviser as early as 1895, when it created a Commission for the Revision and Reform of the Law. The commissioners, when requested by the Legislature or any of its committees, attended sessions of the Legislature and acted as "legislative counsel or adviser, in drafting or passing upon the form of any bill or proposed bill, pending, or to be introduced before the Legislature."

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Old photo of the capitol

In 1913, the Legislative Counsel Bureau was established by statute as a staff agency to assist the Legislature with bill drafting and statutory revision.

The first Legislative Counsel was selected by a board consisting of the Governor and two Members of each House of the Legislature. In 1917, the position was made appointive at the pleasure of the Governor. The law was changed in 1927 to the present procedure for the selection of the Legislative Counsel by the Legislature, through the adoption of a concurrent resolution at the beginning of each two-year session. The law requires that the selection be made without reference to political party affiliation and solely upon the ground of fitness to perform the duties of the office.

At the request of the Legislature, the office made historic contributions to the legislative process in California that include:
  • Codifying, compiling, indexing, and preparing digests of California’s laws, and development and maintenance of technology applications, to provide Californians with increased access to the laws that affect their daily lives.
  • Completing the “Index to the Laws of California, 1850-1919,” published in 1921, which provided a ready reference to all statutes and constitutional provisions adopted from the state’s founding in 1850 through 1919.
  • Compiling the first "Statutory Record,” published in 1933, authorized by the Legislature in 1931 pursuant to a Code Commission recommendation. This tabular list of all codified and uncodified sections amended, added, or repealed by every act passed by the Legislature from 1850 to 1932, served as a foundation for future codification work.
  • Through many years of painstaking work, the office would make a significant contribution to placing thousands of unorganized statutes into a set of codes – most notably in support of the California Code Commission from 1929 to 1953.
  • In 1960, a Legislative Counsel’s Digest first appeared regularly printed with the text of each introduced bill, summarizing changes in existing law proposed by the legislation. Later, the office expanded this work, preparing a digest for every introduced and amended version of every bill.
  • Drafting landmark legislation in areas such as water quality, air pollution control, and civil rights that have served as models for national measures.
  • Advising the Legislature regularly with respect to legislation necessary to maintain the codes, to include clarifying language that makes no substantive changes but more clearly and correctly expresses existing provisions of the law.
In the early 1970s, as an extension of its historic responsibility to work with the State Printer to publish legislation, the OLC first hired information technology professionals to begin development of legislative computer systems for publishing. Later, the office would develop systems for bill drafting and overall legislative Member office, committee, and floor-session business operations. The agency’s technological milestones include:
  • The first bill drafting system at the OLC utilizing computer technology was deployed in 1976, processing the text of legislation using software modeled on that used at the Office of State Printing. Consistent with the move to electronic publishing in the printing industry, the OLC computer systems replaced the manual composition of legislative text at the Office of State Printing. Legislative measures were sent to the Office of State Printing in electronic format and then prepared for printing directly without having to be re-keyed, saving resources and significantly decreasing printing turnaround times from about three days to overnight.
  • In 1981, the OLC established centralized offices for IT work, with dedicated technical staff and computer resources, which would later be called the Legislative Data Center.
  • In 1982, the Assembly Speaker demonstrated to the press a new computer system developed by the OLC to support legislative business. For more than a quarter century, the Inquiry System provided the Legislature with electronic access to extensive legislative information. The system was replaced with successive generation of more efficient technology, including web-based applications for research, analysis, and reporting, and mobile-device connectivity.
  • In 1986, the agency deployed computerization and network connectivity for local Senate and Assembly district offices statewide. The OLC introduced the Legislative Counsel Bureau Automation System, an improved bill drafting system based on advances in computer technology and printing/publishing techniques, in 1990 for the 1991-92 legislative session. To generate formatted documents, it relied heavily on a non-proprietary markup scheme called California General Markup Language.
  • In 2005, the OLC developed and launched the Legal Services System, which continues today as a powerful tool for bill drafting, amendments, publication, and overall request workflow management.
  • In the mid-1990s, the OLC created the first website to provide free public access to California laws, bills, voting records, and other key legislative information.
  • In 2012, the office rolled out a greatly enhanced “California Legislative Information” site that provides the public with enhanced features for tracking legislation and researching California law.
  • In 2015, the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act designated the OLC as the official publisher of electronic versions of the California Constitution, statutes, and codes, with the responsibility for authentication and preservation of these legal materials in electronic records.
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