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First Amendment Violated When Boston Rejected a Christian Flag Based Upon its Flag Policy

In Shurtleff et al. v. City of Boston (May 2, 2022), the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that the City of Boston’s refusal to let an organization fly their flag on city-owned flag poles based on their religious viewpoint violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. In Shurtleff, an organization brought action against Boston alleging the city violated, among other things, the First Amendment's Free Speech Clause by refusing to allow the organization to raise its self-described “Christian flag” under the city's program of allowing private groups to use one of the three flag poles on the plaza in front of city hall to fly the flag of their choosing for the duration of events sponsored by the groups. The First Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and ruled in favor of Boston.

California Revives COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

Client Alert

On February 9, 2022, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 114 (“SB 114”).  SB 114 reenacts the requirement for employers, including municipalities and all political subdivisions of the State with more than 25 employees, to provide supplemental paid sick leave for specified COVID-19-related reasons.  This requirement to provide COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave takes effect on February 19, 2022, but applies retroactively to January 1, 2022.  The provisions of the bill expire September 30, 2022. 

U.S. Supreme Court Blocks OSHA’s Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard

Client Alert

Summary

On January 13, 2022, the United States Supreme Court issued a 6-3 decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor ((2022) 595 U.S. ____) blocking the nationwide vaccination and testing mandate issued by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In the highly anticipated decision, the Court held OSHA exceeded its authority in issuing the rule, reasoning OSHA is empowered “to set workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures.” In contrast, at the same time, the justices issued a 5-4 decision in Biden v. Missouri ((2022) 595 U.S. ____) granting the Biden administration’s request to be allowed to temporarily enforce a vaccine mandate for health care workers at facilities that receive federal funding.

Local Agencies Have Authority to Levy Fees on Businesses to Cover Inspection Costs for New Environmental Programs Imposed by the State

Client Alert

         On January 4, 2021, the California Court of Appeal issued a published decision in Department of Finance v. Commission on State Mandates, 21 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 234, finding that local governments have the authority to levy a fee on businesses to cover the local governments’ environmental regulation compliance inspection costs imposed by a state agency.  

U.S. Supreme Court Establishes New Test Further Defining the Scope of Water Discharges Which Require a Permit Under the Clean Water Act

Client Alert

Summary

The United States Supreme Court recently issued a 6-3 decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund holding that the Clean Water Act (“CWA” or “Act”) requires a permit for a point source that emits pollutants into navigable waters through groundwater if the emission is the “functional equivalent” of a direct discharge from the point source into navigable waters. The decision establishes a new test further defining the scope of water discharges which require a  permit under the CWA.  The Court declined to elaborate a precise test for “functional equivalent,” but left the standard for elaboration “through decisions in individual cases.”  Accordingly, agencies will need to be mindful that in many cases they will need a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the discharge of effluent through groundwater and for groundwater recharge projects.  Failure to obtain a NPDES permit when required can result in fines, injunctive relief and exposure to attorney fee awards.  

COVID-19 - Conducting Remote Meetings and Agenda Titles

Client Alert

Aleshire & Wynder, LLP, has been providing a series of updates to assist you with the COVID-19 emergency and the rapidly changing legal landscape.  This latest update addresses i) methods for conducting remote meetings with sample notice language to use in conjunction with the Agenda; and ii) sample Agenda titles to address COVID-19 related issues.  Please contact us if you have any questions.

Three Bills Aim to Provide Bond Funding for Water Projects

Client Alert

On September 5, 2019, the Governor signed Assembly Bill 305 (“AB-305”), which amends the Government Code for the purpose of issuing rate reduction bonds for specified water projects. Assembly Bill 1298 (“AB-1298”) and Senate Bill 45 (“SB-45”) are both still pending before the California legislature but, if adopted, would enact bond acts to be voted on in the upcoming 2020 statewide primary or general elections. Individually and collectively, all three bills aim to provide additional funding through the issuance of bonds for water and conservation projects.

AB 756: California’s Regulatory Response to PFAS

Client Alert

On July 31, 2019, the Governor signed Assembly Bill 756 (“AB 756” or “the Bill”), authorizing the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Board”) to order public water systems to monitor perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as “PFAS.” The Bill requires a public water system to report the detection of PFAS in a number of ways further outlined below.  

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