FAQ: Understanding SLAPP and Anti-SLAPP Laws

If you've ever been in a courtroom, or if you are just addicted to legal television shows and courtroom dramas, you may have heard the term anti-SLAPP. SLAPP laws, or strategic lawsuits against public participation, are exactly what they sound like -- lawsuits designed not to right a wrong, but to intimidate or suppress public action, usually speech. Because corporations usually have the financial resources to fund lawsuits and pay endless legal fees, simply filing a lawsuit against an ordinary citizen is enough to silence them. Looking for more information on SLAPP lawsuits and anti-SLAPP laws? Legal research websites such as Legislative ... Read More >

FAQ: Do All Functions of Government Stop During a Shutdown?

The United States government officially shut down at midnight on Friday, January 19. It's not the first time the federal government has shutdown in the 21st century, and unless there are some radical changes in Washington, D.C., it won't be the last time either. As is traditional during government shutdowns, both parties believe the opposing party is 100% responsible for the shutdown. Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a short-term continuing resolution (CR) that would fund the government for four weeks, but the Senate failed to agree on a spending bill. The disagreement resulted in a government shutdown. In any ... Read More >

Digging back to the 1920s in our Archives: The Bank Taxation crisis and California’s swift response

Often we may characterize our government as being slow to react to various needs. Well, we have an example in 1928 of this not being the case. On August 16, 1928, California Governor C.C. Young convened a special session of the Legislature due to “a most serious fiscal problem which involves [the state’s] financial stability…” The issue came about through the Tax Commission’s discovery that California’s method of bank taxation from 1910 had become a “dead letter” due to its conflict with recent United States Supreme Court decisions. Governor Young concluded that the only way to remedy this situation quickly was through a constitutional ... Read More >

12 States Asking the Supreme Court to Disband California’s Egg Law

Twelve California states are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to disband one of their federal laws that currently requires any eggs sold there to come from hens who have space to stretch out within their cages. Missouri Atty. Gen. Josh Hawley plans to file a lawsuit on behalf of the states. Allegedly, since the law took effect in 2015, it has cost consumers $350 million nationwide due to higher egg prices. The lawsuit will argue that California's requirements violate the U.S. Constitution's interstate commerce clause and are prevented by federal law. California produced about 5 billion eggs in 2012 and imported an additional 4 billion from ... Read More >

Legislative Update: California and the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968

Rumor has it that a California legislator is considering introducing legislation in 2018 to investigate the idea of the state having its own flood insurance program.  This appears to be in response to research from late last year out of the University of California, Davis, concluding that California should consider leaving the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federal program established by the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. According to the Report of the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency, which accompanied Senate Bill No. 3497 of 1968, the Flood Insurance Act sought to provide a national program: . . . to ... Read More >

California: First State to Offer Third Gender Option On Official Documents

California has become the first state to allow state residents to choose a gender option other than male or female on official documents. This California legislative action has been a top priority among civil rights groups. Thanks to the functions of government, it will now be easier for transgender citizens to change their gender on birth certificates of driver's licenses. This change also deletes a state law requirement that an applicant must undergo treatment and submit a sworn statement from their physician before changing their gender identity. The new California legislature was signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown. The new bill, ... Read More >

How to Easily Spot Fake News in the Press

The Internet is a powerful tool in today's digital world. With the click of a button, anyone can gain access to the Internet, and with the majority of the world having smartphones they can access the World Wide Web in just seconds. Gone are the days where we have to turn on the news or read a newspaper to gain perspective of what is going on in the world. Now, it seems that breaking news hits our phones before it even hits the press, and while this can be a good thing, the effects of our rapidly spreading news aren't always that great. Recently, the world has become accustomed to the idea of "fake news" -- fake stories published by ... Read More >

Legislative Update: California Bail Reform Will Be Revisited Next Year

Bail reform has been the subject of debate in California in 2017 with the introduction of twin bills in both houses of the Legislature, Senate Bill 10 and Assembly Bill 42.  SB 10, introduced by Senator Bob Hertzberg, relating to bail and pretrial release, would “declare the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would safely reduce the number of people detained pretrial, while addressing racial and economic disparities in the pretrial system, and to ensure that people are not held in pretrial detention simply because of their inability to afford money bail.”  This measure passed the Senate in May, however its companion version, ... Read More >

Right to Publicity and the California Court of Appeals: What to Know

Recently, the California Court of Appeals has overturned a ruling by the lower court on the controversial issue of the right of publicity that many had deemed to be dangerous for many digital giants like Facebook and Linked-In. The right of publicity, also known as personality rights, is best understood as the right of an individual to prevent their image, name, or likeness from being used in a commercial capacity. The concept has been a part of California state legislative history since the Civil Code Section 3344 was enacted in 1971, but the digital age has introduced new challenges to what is and is not considered commercial ... Read More >

5 Weird and Wacky U.S. Marijuana Laws You Might Not Believe

Federal regulations can be incredibly complex, but the law can become even more complicated on the state level. Legislation can vary wildly depending on where you are in the nation. For more than 100 years, state courts have used the idea of legislative intent to interpret state law. Sometimes, these state rules can be confounding and downright strange. This is especially true when it comes to cannabis legislation. Many new state rules have been passed in recent years pertaining to marijuana use, businesses, and marketing. Here are five of the weirdest and wackiest marijuana laws in state legislative history. Nevada: Watch Your ... Read More >