Agencies adopt regulations to provide the details needed to implement a law passed by the legislature, adopted by referendum or required by the state constitution. As such, regulations have the full force of law.
Researching California regulations present unique challenges because they are not available from a single source or location. Most do appear in the California Code of Regulations but some, like building code regulations appear elsewhere as do some agency internal rules/regulations (see below for more). The purpose of this libguide is to provide a map to researching California administrative regulations.
Note re: links in this Guide: Where an online source is referenced the link leads to that source (some sources require USD authentication). Where the link leads to an LRC catalog record it opens that catalog record.
The 28 titles of the C.C.R, are available for free online. Twenty-seven titles are through a contract between the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) and Barclays, a division of Thomson Reuters. It includes all the regulations that have been formally adopted by the state agencies, approved by the Office of Administrative Law, and filed with the Secretary of State. Updated weekly, website is searchable by citation (title & section #), full text and full text limited to specific titles.
The C.C.R., not including Title 24, is also available on commercial services: BloombergLaw, Casetext, Fastcase, LEXIS, and WESTLAW.
|The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) ensures that agency regulations are clear, necessary, legally valid, and available to the public. OAL reviews administrative regulations proposed by 200+ state agencies for compliance with the California’s Administrative Procedure Act (APA), filing the approved regulations with the Secretary of State and for publishing regulations in the California Code of Regulations.|
Each online tool has the same approaches:
Bloomberglaw (USD faculty & students)
Under Research tools choose state resources, click California on the map, choose California Code of Regulations
Click on a title to browse, click on the magnifying glass in the upper right to search.
Casetext (USD faculty & students requires selecting the jurisdiction)
Choose California and then California Code of Regulations and then apply jurisdictions
Click Search, search regulations, California
Lexis (authentication required)
Type Barclays in the search box, click CA-Barclays
Westlaw (authentication required)
Type California Regulations in the search box, choose California Regulations
Consult the California State Agency Index, an alphabetical listing of agencies with links to the agency web site and contact information to find the correct CCR title to browse. The agency websites usually include a link to related laws and regulations. Caution: agency websites vary - meaning the that laws and regulations are inconsistently located on the respective websites.
Caution: The LRC does not keep current the hard copy finding tools. Still, an out-of-date tool may help find the regulation which would then be brought up-to-date using an online tool.
Barclays Official California Code of Regulations (KFC 35 1990 .A22; Master Index volume - last updated June 2015)
Comprehensive Index California Code of Regulations (KFC 35 .A22 (1975 - 1998)
The California Code of Regulations (Cal. Code Regs. or C.C.R.) , also known as the California Administrative Code, is the compiled administrative regulations in 28 broad subject areas.
The 28 titles of the C.C.R, are available for free online; 27 of them through a contract between the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) and Barclays.
Title 1. General Provisions
Title 2. Administration
Title 3. Food and Agriculture
Title 4. Business Regulations
Title 5. Education
Title 6. Governor (no executive orders or proclamations)
Title 7. Harbors and Navigation
Title 8. Industrial Relations
Title 9. Rehabilitative and Developmental Services
Title 10. Investment
Title 11. Law
Title 12. Military and Veterans Affairs
Title 13. Motor Vehicles
Title 14. Natural Resources
Title 15. Crime Prevention and Corrections
Title 16. Professional and Vocational Regulations
Title 17. Public Health
Title 18. Public Revenues
Title 19. Public Safety
Title 20. Public Utilities and Energy
Title 21. Public Works
Title 22. Social Security
Title 23. Waters
Title 24. Building Standards Code
Title 25. Housing and Community Development
Title 26. Toxics
Title 27. Environmental Protection
Title 28. Managed Health Care
The C.C.R., not including Title 24, is also available on BloombergLaw, Casetext, Fastcase, LEXIS, and WESTLAW for full-text searching.. (Note: the browsing & search functionality are not the same through each of the above.)
Agency staff draft regulations, sometimes with public participation or advisory committee input. When an agency proposes to adopt, repeal, or amend a regulation, the agency issues a public announcement inviting comments and setting the time and place for public comment. This "Notice of Proposed Action" is published in the California Regulatory Notice Register online and in hard copy (KFC 36 .C2 in the LRC to the right of the column), and interested parties are also notified. Agencies must provide at least a 45-day period for public hearings and written comments.
After the public comment period agency staff may revise the proposed regulation. If the revisions are neither significant nor substantial the proposed regulations are sent to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL).
A proposed regulation can become effective no sooner than 75 days after public notice of the proposed rule.
The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) reviews the final version of the proposed regulation to ensure procedural compliance. If approved, the regulation OAL files the regulation with the Secretary of State for publication online and in hard copy in the California Code of Regulations (also known as the California Administrative Code, Cal Gov. Code §11344.9(a)). Normally, a regulation becomes effective 30 days after the OAL files it with the Secretary of State. All requirements are enumerated in the California Administrative Procedures Act, found at Cal. Gov't Code §§ 11340-11361.
Agencies sometimes adopt a "house rule" or "underground regulation" without following the formal process for adopting a regulation. Individuals can challenge the enforcement of such a rule. If the OAL accepts the challenge the agency must go through the normal rule-making process.
Part 1. California Building Standards Administrative Code
Part 2. vol. 1 Building Code (incorporates references to the
vol. 2 Building Code (incorporates references to the Uniform Building Code)
Part 2.5 California Residential Code
Part 3. California Electrical Code (incorporates references to the National Electrical Code)
Part 4. California Mechanical Code (incorporates references to the Uniform Mechanical Code)
Part 5. California Plumbing Code (incorporates references to the Uniform Plumbing Code)
Part 6. California Energy Code
Part 7. Vacant - formerly California Elevator Safety Construction Code (see Cal. Code Regs., Title 8)Part 8. California Historical Building Code
Part 9. California Fire Code (incorporates references to the Uniform Fire Code)
Part 10. California Code for Building Conservation (incorporates references to the Uniform Code for Building Conservation)
Part 12. California Referenced Standards Code (incorporates references to the
The microform versions below have the C.C.R. as of December of each year.
California Administrative Code 1945-1947
California Code of Regulations 1988-2013
LRC Information Services Microforms KFC35 .A2
California Administrative Code 1977-1987
LRC Information Services Microforms KFC 35 .A2
Barclay's Official California Code of Regulations 1990-2015
LRC California KFC35 1990 A.22
This source has the C.C.R as of 2015 June 2015
The history of each regulation is at the bottom, directly under the Note, and is clearly marked HISTORY. For example, the history of 3 Cal. Code Regs. § 8307, Cannabis Cultivation, Pesticide Use Requirements, reads:
1. New section filed 12-7-2017 as a deemed emergency pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 26013(b)(3); operative 12-7-2017 (Register 2017, No. 49). A Certificate of Compliance must be transmitted to OAL by 6-5-2018 or emergency language will be repealed by operation of law on the following day.
The current version of a regulation is on the OAL website. A statement of currency appears at the bottom of each regulation in the following format:
This database is current through [month/day/year] Register [year], No. [#].
To determine if any amendments to the regulation are proposed see either:
(1) The California Regulatory Notice Register (KFC 36 .C2). Published weekly by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) the Register contains notices of proposed regulatory action by agency alphabetical order. Each issue also lists regulations filed with the California Secretary of State. The LRC has the latest 2 years of the Register (also known as the Z Register) in paper in the California Room and 1977 to 2013 in microform. Searching the print Register is difficult because there is no paper index.
(1a) The online version of the Register from 2018 to the present is on OAL's website (as of 10/10/19 the page is under construction). To read or search the Register each issue a PDF of the issue must be opened.
NOTE: the commercial service below have more search options than the OAL versions.
(2) California Rulemaking on Bloomberg
(3) the California Regulatory Law Bulletin on Lexis contains the “Informative Digest of Proposed Action” from the Register.
(4) California Proposed & Adopted Regulations - Current on Westlaw. has the full text of the Notice Register
(5) California Regulation Tracking is also on Westlaw.CA Reg Text
The best source for information about a proposed regulation may be the agency contact person listed in the Regulatory Notice Register. The Contact note provides the name, agency, address and telephone number of this person, who is usually the most knowledgeable individual about the regulation.
You can also look on the agency website for information about its regulatory actions. You may request the agency to put you on its mailing list to be notified directly of any proposed regulatory actions.
Secondary sources explain the regulation and provide some guidance in researching the topic.
Other law library LibGuides give different perspectives on the research process.
Administrative Regulations Research - Exhaustive
California Administrative law: a legal research guide (KFC780.A1 H86 2019) for a thorough discussion of researching California regulations.
Administrative Regulations Practice Guides
California administrative mandamus ( and available on CEB OnLaw,
California administrative hearing practice () and available on CEB OnLaw,
California Administrative Procedure Act, Administrative adjudication (KFC782.5 .A3 1997)
Regulations get amended and courts interpret them, requiring the researcher to validate the regulation. A citators does this for cases and legislation affecting a regulation.
Bloomberg: while viewing a regulation click the "Smart Code" icon to identify sections of court opinions discussing that regulaiton
Westlaw: while viewing the regulation, click the "Citing Refernces" tab Westlaw assigns flags, red indicating affected by recently adopted regulations and yellow for proposed regulations