Laws vs. Regulations... what's the difference?

  • Laws are created by statutes that originate from legislative bills originally introduced by either the Senate or the Assembly. For example, in 1953 the Physical Therapy Practice Act (Act) was created by Chapter 1823 because of AB 1001. The Physical Therapy Practice Act begins with §2600 in the Business and Professions Code (B&P Code) and governs the practice of physical therapy. The Act, statutes, laws and B&P Code could be considered synonymous.
  • Regulations are standards (see the Rulemaking Process below) adopted as rules by the Physical Therapy Board of California to implement, interpret, or make specific the law enforced or administered by the Physical Therapy Practice Act. Regulations must be approved by the Office of Administrative Law, and filed with the Secretary of State

Regulations have the same effect as law. Failure to comply with either the laws or regulations could result in a citation and/or fine or discipline.

Official copies of the laws and regulations governing the practice of physical therapy are located on the Official California Legislative Information website at and at the Office of Administrative Law's website at Copies of both the laws and regulations are also on the PTBC's website.

The Rulemaking Process
The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) sets forth the procedures that as a state agency, the PTBC must follow when adopting regulations. See Government Code section 11340-11359. Among other requirements, it requires the PTBC to give public notice, to receive and consider public comments, to submit regulations and rulemaking files to the Office of Administrative Law for review to ensure compliance with the requirements of the APA, and to have the regulations published in the California Code of Regulations.

The laws and regulations language in the reference guide is accurate as of March 1, 2006. The reference guide has been created for the California Law Examination and the questions that will appear on the examination are based on the text of the sections as they appear in this brochure. The reference guide is only available on the PTBC's website and is not available through our office.

Governmental Links to access Laws and Regulations in California
Official California Legislative Information (California Legislative Information on Laws)
Office of Administrative Law (Information on California Regulations)