GENERAL LEGAL PRINCIPLES; STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION – General Principles
Single Topic for Decision 1957C
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1407.01000 – General Principles
When the Board is interpreting a statute section within its jurisdiction for the first time it will look to cases decided under the other statutes administered. Where “the similarity of language and purpose” is found, the Board will generally follow earlier decisions with similar issues. (State of California (California Department of Corrections) (1980) PERB Decision No. 127-S.) The Board uses its decisional authority to harmonize the various statutes where appropriate. (City of San Rafael (2004) PERB Decision No. 1698-M.) However, “in the face of strong evidence of a contrary intent,” the Board is “not free to rewrite the statute.” (Regents of University of California v. Public Employment Relations Bd. (1985) 168 Cal.App.3d 937.) As one court has stated, “The Legislature would be rendered nearly powerless to make changes in law if we were to permit the Board to interpret this obvious change as a attempt to continue the same legal relationships” in the other statutes under its jurisdiction. (Ibid.) MMBA section 3507.5 contains a provision similar to Trial Court Employment Protection and Governance Act (TCEPGA) section 71637.1. This section of the MMBA has been interpreted to “merely [preclude] management from representing nonmanagement (sic) employees; the language does not preclude management from being represented by the [same] bargaining organization.” (Reinbold v. City of Santa Monica (1976) 63 Cal.App.3d 433 (Reinbold).) Legislative intent consistent with the ALJ’s interpretation of Section 71637.1 is shown by the Legislature’s inclusion of a prohibition on employee organizations representing both management and non-management employees in EERA, HEERA and the Dills Act and the failure to include that prohibition in the TCEPGA. (See Regents of University of California v. Public Employment Relations Bd. (1985) 168 Cal.App.3d 937, 945.) Additionally, when provisions in a statute have been judicially construed, a subsequent statute on the same subject, using the same language, is generally given a similar interpretation. (County Sanitation Dist. No. 2 v. Los Angeles County Employees’ Assn. (1985) 38 Cal.3d 564, 592; Moreland v. Department of Corporations (1987) 194 Cal.App.3d 506, 512.) Such is the case regarding TCEPGA section 71637.1 which became effective January 1, 2001. (Added Stats. 2000, ch. 1010, sec. 14 (SB 2140). Section 71637.1 contains the same language as the MMBA section 3507.5, which has existed as presently written since being amended in 1969. (Added by Stats. 1968, ch. 1277, sec. 1.) In Reinbold, MMBA section 3507.5 was interpreted as follows: “Section 3507.5 merely precludes management from representing nonmanagement [sic] employees; the language does not preclude management from being represented by the bargaining organization. Any concern that there may be a conflict of interest between management and the other employees, is obviated by the fact that it is not management representing the employees.” The above-referenced interpretation of the identical language at issue in this case existed more than 30 years before the Legislature enacted TCEPGA section 71637.1. This suggests a legislative intent that Section 71637.1 should be similarly interpreted and we so hold.