CHW California Public Law Report

Insight and Commentary on Public Law

The California Department of Finance has now posted a weblink to the form cities can use to request American Rescue Plan Act funds here. Both City’s designated contact person for State-issued Coronavirus Relief Funds and the City Manager should receive a unique username and password to log into the Department of Finance’s webform application. The application must include the information some basis information about the city, including: City name, Taxpayer ID Number, DUNS Number, and Address; Authorized representative name, title, and email; Contact person name, title, phone and email; Financial institution information. In addition, the City must sign and…
After a marathon 10-hour meeting on June 3, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board has approved revisions to its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards. (8 C.C.R., §§ 3205 et seq.) Most notably, all employees must still wear face coverings when indoors or when outdoors and less than six feet from another person, regardless of vaccination status. There are only limited circumstances when employees are not required to wear face coverings, including new exceptions for vaccinated employees either: (1) when all persons in a room are fully vaccinated and not displaying…
The Legislature continues its efforts to increase the state’s housing supply, regardless of local land use policies and priorities. Senate Bill 9, introduced by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, will require cities to approve by right through ministerial action up to four units on existing single-family parcels.  Senate Bill 9 has passed the State Senate and is now pending in the Assembly. The bill is opposed by many cities and Cal Cities. Senate Bill 9 would require up to four residential units to be allowed per existing lot in most single-family residential zones statewide, without any discretionary…
In 2017, the Court decided California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland, a dispute over an initiative to allow marijuana dispensaries in that city. It concluded that an initiative is not subject to some of Proposition 218’s limits on taxes proposed by city councils and county boards of supervisors. Its broad language opened the door to the possibility that a special tax proposed by initiative could be immune from the requirement for two-thirds voter approval. Three Court of Appeal decisions have now walked through that door, concluding that initiative special taxes can be approved by simple majorities of votes…
CHW’s quarterly newsletter on public law topics is out. You can see it here. This issue has articles on: A landmark Court of Appeal decision reducing the number of votes required to adopt an initiative special tax; A new statute governing redistricting after 2020 Census data are available next March; and, A recent win for a public agency in a dispute with a utility about the cost to relocate utility lines to facilitate a public works project. We also touch on the firm’s current webinar offerings. You can see that listing here. Check it out!…
Civil service commissions handle employee discharge appeals in most California counties and many cities. A recent case from the Second Appellate District, Deiro v.  Los Angeles County Civil Service Commission, clarified the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County Civil Service Commission when an employee is both discharged and takes disability retirement. The plaintiff in Diero was a deputy sheriff injured on duty in 2012. In 2015, he applied to LACERA for service-connected disability retirement. Shortly after his application was granted, but before his retirement began, the Sheriff’s Department discharged the deputy for bad conduct.  The deputy appealed to the…
The First District Court of Appeal recently ordered published its decision in Denny v. Arntz in which it ruled that statutory challenges to the sufficiency of ballot materials cannot be made post-election.  The ruling helpfully construes Elections Code section 16100 to exclude post-election challenges based on alleged flaws in the ballot question and voter information pamphlet. Here, Denny filed a post-election challenge to Proposition A, which proposed a 30-year bond issuance of $425,000,000 to protect San Francisco’s waterfront, including the Embarcadero and associated seawall.  Voters approved the bond issuance by a resounding 82.5 percent.  Denny sought to overturn the…
The Second Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal held that arbitration clauses are unenforceable in continuing care retirement community tenancy agreements. Harris and four other residents (“Harris”) live in the University Village Thousand Oaks (UVTO) continuing care and retirement community. Residents of UVTO must sign a contract before moving in. Pursuant to the contract, residents pay various monthly fees for a residence, care, and services. The contracts include the right to live in a specified living unit. The monthly fee is based upon the type of unit. Additionally, UVTO contracts require tenants to agree to binding arbitration to…
Damage claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 – and really any personal injury claims — are broken down into two categories: economic and noneconomic damages. Pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium are commonly sought in large numbers as noneconomic damages to enhance a plaintiff’s out-of-pocket damages. Prior to 1986, a plaintiff could recover all of her economic and noneconomic damages from one party, even if she pursued multiple defendants. Proposition 51 — the California Fair Responsibility Act — changed that. Codified at Civil Code 1431.2, it imposes several liability for noneconomic damages, while still allowing joint liability…
The First Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal held that local rent control laws can apply to individual rooms rented in a single-family home. Jonathan Owens owns a single-family home in Oakland. He rents out three of the bedrooms in this home to separate tenants on a month-to-month basis, terminable upon 60 days’ notice. Each tenant has their own private room, and the common areas of the house are shared between the tenants and Owens. One of the tenants filed a petition with the Oakland Residential Rent and Relocation Board alleging that her housing became uninhabitable due to…