Governor’s Reorganization Plan

The Governor has the authority to examine the organization of executive branch agencies and determine what changes may be necessary to promote more efficient and effective government services. The Legislature has granted the Governor the authority to reorganize those functions whenever it is in the public interest. The reorganization process provides for a streamlined public and legislative review of the proposal. The reorganization process can be used to consolidate, transfer or abolish programs and agencies. The process can be used to create new agencies, but the process cannot be used to create new functions. The reorganization process is permitted in Article V, Section 6 of the California Constitution. The statutory authority is in Government Code Section 12080 et seq.

Detail of State Capitol building

Role of the Little Hoover Commission

The Little Hoover Commission’s role in the process is described in Government Code Section 8523. The law requires the Governor to submit any reorganization plan to the Little Hoover Commission “at least 30 days prior” to submitting the plan to the Legislature. Before submitting the proposal to the Commission, the plan must be submitted to Legislative Counsel for drafting into bill language.

The Commission’s role in the reorganization process is only advisory. Its conclusions and recommendations are not binding on the Governor or the Legislature. The Commission reviews the plan and submits a report to the Governor and the Legislature within 30 days of the plan being submitted to the Legislature.

The Commission conducts one or more public hearings, providing a forum for affected agencies, constituencies and interest groups. In addition to invited witnesses, the Commission hears testimony from other interests or members of the public who would like to testify. The Commission also welcomes written comments.

The Commission assesses the plan based on its broad mandate to assist policymakers in “promoting economy, efficiency and improved service in the transaction of the public business.” The Commission’s report offers a recommendation to the Governor and the Legislature as to whether or not it believes the reorganization plan should go into effect. The Commission sometimes offers recommendations for how the plan could be strengthened, either through administrative actions or subsequent legislation.

Role of the Legislature

A reorganization plan may be delivered to the Legislature at any time during a regular session. The Legislature, however, must have 60 calendar days of a continuous session to consider the plan. The Governor’s plan becomes effective on the 61st day after it has been given to the Legislature unless either the Senate or the Assembly adopts by majority vote a resolution rejecting the plan. Actual statutory language to enact the reorganization is processed in the following year, but the reorganization is effective even without the statutes being on the books.

Read about previous plans