32 Tulsa L.J. 297 (1996-1997)
The Influence of the Federal Administrative Procedure Act on California's New Administrative Procedure Act

handle is hein.journals/tlj32 and id is 307 raw text is: THE INFLUENCE OF THE FEDERAL
Michael Asimowt
The Federal Administrative Procedure Act (APA),' celebrating its fifti-
eth birthday in this symposium, dominates the field of administrative law. Like
the Federal Rules of Civil or Criminal Procedure, the APA prescribes the man-
ner in which countless thousands of federal adjudicatory and rulemaking pro-
ceedings are conducted each year. In that sense, the APA has achieved quasi-
constitutional status. The Act has been the subject of innumerable judicial deci-
sions and vast quantities of scholarship.
A reformer who sets out to modernize a state's APA necessarily turns first
to what is most familiar: the Federal APA. The pathways of that statute are
embedded in every administrative lawyer's mental map. If a federal provision
seems to have worked well, that provision is the logical starting point in draft-
ing a state law. If a provision has generated major problems in application, that
lesson should also be taken to heart.
On October 15, 1995, Governor Pete Wilson signed Senate Bill 523 (S.B.
523), California's new Administrative Procedure Act, into law.2 This was a
happy day for quite a few people, including the author of this article who
served as consultant for the California Law Revision Commission (Commis-
sion) in its seven-year effort to propose and enact a new APA.3 The Tulsa
t Professor of Law, UCLA Law School. The opinions herein are the author's, not necessarily those of
the California Law Revision Commission. Thanks to Karl Engeman and Nat Sterling for reading drafts of this
I. Administrative Procedure Act, ch. 324, 60 Stat. 237 (1946) (codified as amended in scattered sec-
tions of 5 U.S.C.).
2. CAL. GOV'T CODE §§ 11400-11529 (West Supp. 1996) (enacted by S.B. 523, ch. 938, §§ 21-51,
1995 Cal. Legis. Serv. 5533-62 (West)). The APA revisions are applicable to an administrative proceeding
commenced on or after July 1, 1997. The new APA, together with most of the Law Revision Commission's
section-by-section comments, can be found in West's Annotated California Codes (Supp. 1996).
3. The California Law Revision Commission is an independent state agency charged with recommend-
ing reforms of state law. The Commission has considerable credibility with the legislature which was of great
assistance in getting the new APA passed. In addition to a small paid staff, the members of the Commission
are volunteer lawyers, judges, legislators and legislative staff members. Commission members convene for
one-day or two-day meetings several times a year to review studies and recommend legislation on a wide

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