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Published Articles

2017

Environmental Law

  • Challenges Ahead for Clean Power Plan as EPA Eyes RepealNovember 28, 2017Under President Barack Obama's administration, the Environmental Protection Agency promulgated the Clean Power Plan on October 23, 2015. The Clean Power Plan requires states to regulate existing coal-fired power plants in a manner that effectively shuts some down in favor of lower-emission fuel sources such as natural gas, wind, and solar. On October 16, 2017, EPA published a proposal to announce ... read more
  • Is “Repeal and Replace” on the Horizon for the Clean Water Act?November 7, 2017"Repeal and replace" is not limited to the congressional debate on healthcare. While it has not received the wall-to-wall press coverage that the healthcare debate has received, the Trump Administration's proposal to rescind the Clean Water Act "waters of the United States" Rule that was finalized during the Obama Administration has similarly inflamed passions on all sides of the issue. The ... read more
  • Tools and Strategies for Streamlining CEQA ComplianceOctober 12, 2017The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) has been a part of the California legislative landscape for 47 years, requiring local and state agencies to analyze and identify environmental impacts before approving projects. CEQA compliance is often the biggest source of time delays and litigation risk for project development. Shaye ... read more
  • The Business of Cannabis: Don’t Ignore Environmental LawsAugust 4, 2017California state agencies (including the Department of Public Health's Office of Manufactured Cannabis Safety, the Bureau of Cannabis Control, and the Department of Food and Agriculture) are busy developing a broad range of regulations to implement the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA or Proposition 64) and the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA). Specifically in the environmental ... read more
  • California Supreme Court to Hear Marijuana Related Zoning/CEQA CaseMay 11, 2017The California Supreme Court has granted review in Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, Inc. v. City of San Diego, a case that will impact how all developers and owners of all types of projects should approach projects that involve new or changed zoning ordinances, particularly those that concentrate or shift property uses within a jurisdiction. The decision is expected to provide ... read more
  • SB 258: Regulating Cleaning Products in CaliforniaMay 8, 2017California has traditionally taken the lead on the regulation and disclosure of chemicals in consumer products, and SB 258 is set to extend that lead to everyday cleaning products. The proposed bill has already passed both the Senate Environmental Quality and Labor and Industrial Relations Committees. Known as the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017, SB 258 would require that "chemicals of ... read more
  • California Senate Bills Respond to Trump Administration’s Rollback of Environmental LawsMarch 20, 2017The Trump Administration has begun taking significant action to deliver its promised repeal or replacement of various federal laws affecting air, water, climate, endangered species, and public land. To both hedge against and work around an expected ongoing rollback of environmental, natural resources and public health protections, California Senators recently unveiled three bills: SB 49 ... read more

Municipal and Special District Law

Climate Change and Green Initiatives

  • Extension of California’s Cap-and-Trade Program: Three-Bill Package Extension Leaves Unanswered QuestionsAugust 10, 2017Last year, under SB 32, California increased its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.  One-third of that reduction goal is anticipated to be achieved through the State's pioneering cap-and-trade program.  However, the existing cap-and-trade program has been controversial, subject to several legal challenges, and was set to expire in 2020.  In response, recent ... read more
  • What’s Next for California’s Cap-and-Trade Program?June 13, 2017These are not times for the timid when it comes to climate change regulation. The Trump administration announced that it is pulling out of the Paris Accords and China and the European Union are stepping into the void and taking the lead for the global community; the California Clean Energy Act of 2017, introduced by California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, would establish a target ... read more
  • California vs. Trump Administration: A Battle Over Vehicle Fuel Efficiency StandardsMay 17, 2017California is gearing up for a battle over the Trump administration's proposed repeal of existing regulations that significantly increase vehicle fuel efficiency standards by 2025. Greenhouse gas reduction and lower vehicle emissions to combat climate change are cornerstones of California's current environmental policy. California will assert its rights to continue to regulate vehicle emissions ... read more

Labor and Employment

  • Legislature Considers AB 1565 to Raise the Bar on Overtime Salary TestJuly 19, 2017The California Senate Appropriations Committee is considering AB 1565, a new bill that would require employers to meet a higher salary threshold for employees it seeks to categorize as exempt from overtime requirements. Current law requires employers to pay employees overtime for all hours worked beyond eight in a day or 40 in a work week, and provide those employees with meal and rest breaks, ... read more
  • AB 168: Is California Moving Toward Completely ‘Blind’ Hiring?May 10, 2017AB 168, introduced in January by Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), would prohibit California employers, including public sector employers, from requesting information about a job applicant's salary history or benefits. The bill also would require private sector employers to provide salary information about the job to candidates upon request. Although this requirement does not ... read more
  • AB 1289: New Law Creates Exception to the Trend of Limiting Pre-Employment ScreeningJanuary 18, 2017The overall trend in California has been, and continues to be, toward restricting the use of pre-employment screening. AB 1289, which took effect on January 1, 2017, added a narrowly defined type of employer -- transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber, Lyft and Wingz -- to the exceptions of employers that must conduct more, not less, pre-employment screening. In contrast, AB 1843, ... read more

California Public Records Act

  • California Public Records Act: Next Steps for Public AgenciesJune 14, 2017The California Supreme Court recently decided a landmark case concerning the California Public Records Act ("CPRA"), which is expected to have wide ranging administrative, operational and financial impacts on public agencies.  The case concerned whether e-mails and text messages sent or received on personal accounts or devices of public officials and employees were subject to production under ... read more

Public Finance

  • Government Revenues: A How-To Guide for Implementing Propositions 26 and 218June 14, 2017Establishing sufficient and sustainable revenue streams is vital for the hundreds of municipalities and special districts throughout California. The key question is how to develop and implement traditional and non-traditional revenue measures within the parameters set by the California Constitution and state law. The League of California Cities recently completed a new "Implementation Guide for ... read more

Trial and Litigation

  • California Supreme Court Closes an Anti-SLAPP LoopholeJanuary 17, 2017The California Supreme Court began 2017 with a significant anti-SLAPP decision that confirmed the broad reach of the state's statute designed to protect freedom of expression. In Barry v. State Bar of California, 2017 DJDAR 83 (Jan. 5, 2017), the high court ruled that a lack of subject matter jurisdiction over a claim does not preclude a court from granting a special motion to strike under ... read more
  • California’s Anti-SLAPP Statute: New Case Law in 2016January 4, 2017In 2016, California state and federal appellate courts grappled with First Amendment protected freedom of speech issues in numerous critical rulings addressing the reach of the state's anti-SLAPP statute - a powerful litigation tool intended to protect free speech. Codified in Code of Civil Procedure Section 425.16, the anti-SLAPP statute authorizes a special motion to strike claims that are ... read more