CHW California Public Law Report

Insight and Commentary on Public Law

INTRODUCTION. The Brown Act applies to meetings of local government elected and appointed bodies and is a complex statute governing how government officials behave.  Government Code section 54957.5 requires local governments to make materials distributed to members of a Brown Act body in the 72 hours before a meeting (i.e., after the agenda is typically posted) available to the public

Introduction. Governor Newsom signed AB 602 (Grayson, D-Concord) on September 28, 2021 to change how cities and counties impose impact development impact fees on housing. It is effective January 1, 2022, with some provisions deferred to July 1, 2022.
The new statute. Cities and counties may levy impact fees on new housing to pay for the services needed to support

Cities and counties in California have some to-dos arising from the settlement announced on July 22, 2021 in litigation against manufacturers and distributors of opioid painkillers. Counties and cities with populations over 10,000 should soon receive notice by letter of the opportunity to participate in the settlement and receive funding to mitigate the impact of opioid addiction in their communities.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 361 (Rivas, D-San Benito County) September 16, 2021 to establish exceptions to teleconference requirements of the Brown Act during states of emergency. AB 361 took effect immediately on the Governor’s signature. It provides a means to continue to respect public health advice during the pandemic as to the conduct of local government meetings even on

CHW’s quarterly newsletter on public law topics is out. You can see it here.
This issue has articles on:

  • A new, short statute of limitations for challenges to retail water and sewer rates;
  • Further appellate developments constrain local government’s authority to regulate homeless people’s use of public spaces; and
  • A recent Court of Appeal decision allowing early dismissal of

On August 19, 2021, the Second District Court of Appeal decided Save Our Access-San Gabriel Mountains v. Watershed Conservation Authority (Aug. 19, 2021, No. B303494), upholding an EIR’s finding of no significant impact under CEQA, where a project’s reduction in parking protected the environment, rather than adversely affected it.
The case involved a project in the Angeles National Forest to “provide

The D.C. Circuit recently held public employees’ browsing history is not an “agency record” subject to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). (Cause of Action Institute v. Office of Management and Budget (D.C. Cir. Aug. 20, 2021, No. 20-5006) ___ F.4th ____ [2021 WL 3699794] (Cause of Action Institute).) Cause of Action Institute sued the Office of Management and Budget

Although cannabis is legal in California, it remains illegal under federal law. This controversy hamstrings cannabis businesses, as they are unable to use the services of federally regulated banking institutions and must do business in cash, creating risks for them and everyone they do business with — including local governments. Most banks avoid doing business with the cannabis industry to

On June 11, 2021, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-08-21[1] to clarify the continued applicability of his previous Executive Orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most notably, Executive Order N-08-21 extends application of Executive Order N-29-20, which allows public agencies to hold teleconference meetings until September 30, 2021.[2] This provides some assurance of the timeline to transition back

As California battles wildfires that seem fiercer, larger, and longer each year, cities around the state are tackling fire prevention and recovery. The main injuries from fires are obvious: loss of life and property, poor air quality, and damaged environments. Yet there are less obvious, more insidious consequences of wildfires that can be just as serious. One such example is