What's In A Name?  A Lot Of Pain

For most of the 20th Century, the state agency charged with the administration and enforcement of California's securities laws was known as the Department of Corporations.  In 2012, then Governor Jerry Brown proposed a plan of reorganization, which I opposed without success.  As a result, the Department was renamed the Department of Business Oversight. Now it appears that the Department will bear a new and tediously prolix moniker - The Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.  

On August 31, the legislature passed AB 1864 (Limón) which had until August 25 consisted of a single sentence: "It is the intent of the Legislature to enact statutory changes relating to the Budget Act of 2020."  By gutting and amending AB 1864 at the eleventh hour and in the midst of a pandemic, the legislature effectively eliminated all opportunity for the public to debate and comment on the substance of the bill, which goes far beyond a simple name change. 

Changing the name of the Department will mean that scores of references to the Department other statutes as well as rules and forms will need to be updated.  This will take some time and will undoubtedly lead to some confusion for the public.  It will also divert resources of the Department which must update everything from stationary to forms to rules to reflect the new name.  The Commissioner of Financial Protection and Innovation and other gubernatorial appointments, however, will not be subject to re-confirmation by the Senate.  

At a more substantive level, the bill would enact the California Consumer Financial Protection Law with a purpose to promote consumer welfare, fair competition and wealth creation in the state.  The Governor's signature on this bill is expected as it is consistent with his earlier budget proposal.