Creating a Tracked-Changes Version of An Ordinance, Resolution, or Charter Is Helpful to The City Council or Legislative Body
January 12, 2012 Leave a comment
In my series about the Charter of the City of San Bernardino, I have created tracked change versions of the Charter through the years. I started by recreating a modern version of the 1905 Charter. I created that by finding the Statutes of 1905, page 940. This book is now in the public domain, having left copyright a long time ago. Google has scanned the book. If you look at the first page, the physical book scanned by Google was from the ” Library Leland Stanford Junior University.” Though it is a cut-and-paste job to get from the OCR version provided by Google, you have to go line-by-line and take out the funky annotations.
Then, as the Charter of the City of San Bernardino was updated, first (successfully) in 1908, I took the 1905 Charter, reviewed the changes added by charter amendment, and made a strike out version with additions and deletions. Each charter amendment is in the Statutes of California for the respective year of passage, because the Legislature of the State of California had to approve the changes until the law changed, and now municipal charters must be sent to the Secretary of State, so they still appear in the Statutes of California. You can find these at better law libraries; in particular, I can recommend the Victor Miceli Law Library, where I found the versions that I use in the series. They also have an excellent legislative history collection.
Back to the subject at hand, here is an example of a strikeout or legislative version:
Section 133. Whenever the mayor and common council shall by ordinance determine that the public interest or necessity demands the acquisition, construction
,or completion of any municipal improvement, the cost of which would be too great to be paid out of the ordinary annual income and revenue of the city, they are hereby given the power and authority to call a special election and submit to the qualified voters of the city the proposition of incurring indebtedness to pay the cost of such improvement set forth in said ordinance. If said proposition be accepted by a two-thirds vote of the qualified electors voting at such election, the mayor and common council may issue bonds of said city in evidence of said indebtedness ; provided that such indebtedness, together with the unpaid and outstanding bonded indebtedness actually existing at the time such proposition is submitted to said voters, shall not exceed three hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
A strikeout version allows the city council member (or in the case of a charter amendment, the voter to see what is being changed). A strikeout version is particularly useful to a member of a legislative body if an entire chapter or title is being changed because it allows them to see a large amount of changes. I recommend to any municipal attorney to consider creating a strike out version for their clients even if one is not specifically requested.
The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.