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FCC Proposes New Rules Limiting Local Control Over Cable Franchises

Client Alert


The federal Communications Act of 1934 (“Act”) empowers state and local government entities (each a “Local Franchising Authority”) to award franchises to cable operators to authorize the construction or operation of cable systems in the public right-of-way, provided that a Local Franchising Authority may not grant an exclusive franchise and may not unreasonably refuse to award an additional competitive franchise.

SB 946 Safe Sidewalk Vending Act

Client Alert

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed Senate Bill 946, also known as the Safe Sidewalk Vending Act. Under the law, which goes into effect January 1, sidewalk vendors may not be prohibited, although local authorities will be able to establish regulations on sidewalk vendors to protect valid health, safety and welfare concerns. The statute defines “sidewalk vendors” as “persons who sells food or merchandise from a pushcart, stand, display, pedal-driven cart, wagon, showcase, rack, or other non-motorized conveyance, or from one’s person, upon a public sidewalk or other pedestrian path.” A sidewalk vendor can be roaming or stationary. “Local authority” is expressly defined as both chartered and general law cities and counties.


U.S. Supreme Court Rules In Janus V. AFSCME That Agency Fees Violate The First Amendment and SB 866 Is Signed Into Law In Response

Client Alert


On Wednesday, June 27, 2018, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Janus v. AFSCME ((2018) 585 U.S. __) declaring that union “agency fees” violate the First Amendment and, consequently, are unconstitutional. The Court’s decision will significantly impact labor law precedent and recognized employee organizations because non-union workers/members can no longer be forced to pay fees to public sector employee organizations/unions.


CA Governor Signs Long-Term Water Conservation Bills, SB 606 And AB 1668

Client Alert

SB 606 and AB 1668 (“Bills”), signed by the Governor of California on May 31, 2018, amend the Water Code to impose a number of new or expanded requirements on state and local water suppliers. SB 606 and AB 1668 set out new water use targets and implement the Governor’s Executive Order to create a permanent framework for water conservation.

Propositions 68, 69, 71, and 72 Pass in Statewide Election, and a New Water Bond Measure is Planned for November Ballot

Client Alert


On June 5, 2018, California voters approved four ballot initiatives impacting public agencies, water and infrastructure, Propositions 68, 69, 71 and 72.  California voters approved bonds for water infrastructure (68) and limited the use of certain funds for transportation infrastructure (69).  Voters also approved measures addressing the effective date of election results (71), and providing tax incentives for rainwater capture (72).  

New Standards for MS4 Permit Requirements May Entitle Local Governments to Reimbursement

Client Alert

On December 19, 2017, the Court of Appeal issued a published opinion in Department of Finance v. Commission on State Mandates (2017) 18 Cal.App.5th 661 (petition for review filed Jan. 26, 2018, request for depublication filed Feb. 15, 2018) (“San Diego DOF Decision”).  The County of San Diego and the cities located in that county were seeking a determination that certain municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permit requirements imposed by the Regional Water Quality Control Board (“San Diego Regional Board”) are unfunded state mandates. The Court, applying a 2016 California Supreme Court decision, concluded that six permit requirements are unfunded mandates under the California Constitution and therefore local governments are entitled to reimbursement by the State. The six requirements are listed in the more detailed discussion of the case below.

Groundwater Charges Not Subject to Prop 218

Client Alert

On December 4, 2017, the California Supreme Court published its decision in City of San Buenaventura v. United Water Conservation District, holding that the statutorily authorized groundwater pumping charges imposed on the City of Buenaventura by a local water conservation district, the United Water Conservation District, to fund conservation activities such as replenishing groundwater stores and preventing degradation of water supply, are not subject to Proposition 218.  The Court also held that Proposition 26 is the proper framework for evaluating the constitutionality of the groundwater pumping charge.  The Court also remanded the matter to the Court of Appeal to determine whether the groundwater pumping charges bear a fair or reasonable relationship to the City’s burden on or benefit from the District’s conservation activities, as required by Proposition 26.

SB 231: A Watershed Moment?

Client Alert

On October 6, 2017, the Governor signed SB 231, which clarifies that the definition of “sewer” includes both sanitary sewers and storm sewers. Senator Hertzberg, the bill’s author, and the California Coastkeeper Alliance have called SB 231’s passage a “watershed moment” because SB 231 can make it easier for local agencies to finance projects which collect storm water and treat it for recycling or recharge.

However, at this time, agencies should not rely on SB 231 to pass separate fees or charges solely for storm sewer system operation, maintenance and capital costs.  This client alert explains why and provides context for SB 231.


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