Bodie’s ghosts live on

"Bodie ghost town" by Licensed under Public Domain via Commons. People who enjoy ghost towns have been known to visit one of California’s most famous examples: Bodie, in Mono County. High above the treeline and subject to brutal eastern Sierra Nevada winters, Bodie is a well-preserved gem of a town. The site of a gold strike before fires decimated much of it, a small portion of Bodie still stands today. Its interiors are covered in dust and memories and, they claim, left just as they were when the state deemed it a state park in 1962. In fact, California coined a new term to describe its upkeep of the town: “arrested decay.” It’s ... Read More >

California revives old attorney sanctions statute

Late last legislative session, California lawmakers resuscitated a statute that had been dead for about 20 years. While the statute has been dormant, however, the area it dealt with is not: Bad faith and frivolous lawsuits. Last fall, Assembly Bill 2494 reinstated Code of Civil Procedure § 128.5, with some amendments, effective January 1, 2015. If you have an older codebook, you’ll note the former version of the statute is still in there, but as subdivision (b)(1) stated, it pertained “only if the actions or tactics arise from a complaint filed, or a proceeding initiated, on or before December 31, 1994.” Section 128.5 was put to rest ... Read More >

LIS looks at some failed and stalled bills

"Sacramento Capitol" by Sascha Brück - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons With the Legislature on its summer recess, now is a good time to look back at some of the proposals that have died or stalled this legislative session. AB 213 was all about LED bulbs. It would have prohibited the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission from adopting a color rendering index value greater than that set by the federal EPA’s Energy Star Program. As the Lighting Research Center tells us, the color rendering index, or the CRI, is “a measure of a light source’s ability to show object colors ... Read More >

Immunization at heart of three bills

In January, California officials went public with the information that a December visitor to Disneyland may have infected several others with measles. The next month, California lawmakers took aim at the “personal belief” exemption to immunization by proposing a bill – SB 277 – that would eliminate it. While this bill captured headlines even before it was introduced on February 19, it is not the only pending bill addressing immunization. A few days after Senators Pan and Allen and more than a dozen of their colleagues co-authored SB 277, Assembly member Cristina Garcia introduced Assembly Bill 1117.  As introduced on February 27, ... Read More >

California Considers End of Life Bill

CA State Senator Lois Wolk introduced Senate Bill 128 on January 20, 2015, as lead author, to add new statutes to California’s Health and Safety Code relating to end of life.  Senate Bill 128 proposes to add new Part 1.85 of Division 1 of the Health and Safety Code, entitled “End of Life Option Act,” to be comprised of new Health and Safety Code sections 443 through 443.18.  According to Senator Wolk’s press release  [], Senate Bill 128 is modeled after Oregon legislation and other states where aid-in-dying has been proven to ... Read More >

Lawmakers eye University of California fees

Late last month, news that the University of California planned to increase tuition by up to 28 percent over the next five years sparked waves of walkouts and protests throughout the UC system. At the time, the California Legislature was in recess. However, when lawmakers returned on December 1 to start the 2015-2016 session, they wasted no time penning legislation addressing the issue. As of this writing, there are at least four proposals aimed at curbing the fee hikes. All four of them attack the issue from different angles. Senate Bill 15 takes one approach by taking money from the middle class scholarship program and using ... Read More >

Retroactive v. Prospective Application of New Laws

Our California clients ask us about retroactive application of enactments or amendments in bills that affect their statutes of interest and which could adversely affect their claims or litigation strategy.  We understand their concerns and as we review the legislative history materials or the bill itself, we look for any indication that there was legislative intent for retroactive application of the proposals in the bill. When there is no express statement or declaration concerning retroactivity in any bill, this can make it difficult to make any absolute determination as to the retroactivity of the provisions of that bill.  The general ... Read More >

New California Laws Effective July 1, 2014

A number of new laws became effective on July 1st.  For the most part, when a bill is enacted into law in California, its effective date is governed by Government Code § 9600, which sets forth when an enactment takes effect.  Since 1974, the general rule regarding a legislative action’s effective date is that it becomes effective on January 1, of the year following the enactment.  Prior to 1974, from the years 1967 through 1972, the legislature addressed legislation substantively annually.  Prior to 1965, the legislature met every year, but legislation was substantively considered only in odd-numbered year, with even-numbered reserved for ... Read More >

Latest Legislation . . . and its past history: Assembly Bill 1576 of 2014, amending Labor Code §6319.3 and 6401.7 “California Condoms in Porn” Bill

Latest Legislation . . . and its past history: Assembly Bill 1576 of 2014, amending Labor Code §6319.3 and 6401.7 “California Condoms in Porn” Bill Assembly Bill 1576 authored by Assembly member Isadore Hall and known as “California’s condoms in porn” bill is making its way through the Legislature this session.  This bill requires, among other items, that an adult film employer ensures “personal protective equipment” be used during the production of an adult film.  Assembly Bill 1576 has been amended four times as of May 14, 2014 and currently proposes to amend Labor Code sections 6319.3 and 6401.7. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation ... Read More >

California to hold special legislative session for “rainy day fund” amendment

Governor Jerry Brown called a special session of the state Legislature to replace the "Rainy Day Fund" on the November, 2014 ballot with a dedicated reserve to allow the state to pay down its debts and unfunded liabilities.  In Assembly Constitutional Amendment 4 ["ACA 4"], the 2010 Legislature approved the proposal for the November 2014 ballot to go before the general electorate.  In calling for this special session, Governor Brown observed that the proposal did not address the volatility of capital gains revenue, did not provide a reserve for schools to help cushion future downturns, and constrained the state's ability to pay down long-term ... Read More >