Executive Order Law and Legal Definition

An executive order is an order issued by the President of the U.S, the head of the executive branch of the federal government. This term also refers to an order issued by a governor of a state. An executive order can also be called a decree or orders-in-council. An executive order issued by the President or the chief executive officer of a state has the force of law, and it is promulgated in accordance with applicable law. [42 USCS § 14616]. The object of executive orders issued by the President is to help officers and agencies of the executive branch to manage the operations within the Federal Government.

Following is an example of a state statute (Idaho) defining “executive order”:

According to Idaho Code § 50-2801 (4) "Executive order" means the executive order or other administrative action of the governor pursuant to section 50-2804, Idaho Code, and any amendments thereto.

In the Revenue and Taxation Code the term executive order is defined as:

"Executive order means any order, plan, requirement, rule or regulation issued:

(a) By the Governor, or

(b) By any officer or official serving at the pleasure of the Governor, or

(c) By any agency, department, board or commission of state government; provided that the term "executive order" shall not include any order, plan, requirement, rule or regulation issued by the State Water Resources Control Board or by any regional water quality control board pursuant to Division 7 (commencing with Section 13000) of the Water Code.” [Cal Rev & Tax Code § 2209].