The 2001 California Voting Rights Act (“CVRA”) made it easier for minority groups to prove that local electoral systems undermine their voting power. Appellate courts have adopted different interpretations of what constitutes minority vote dilution. In Pico Neighborhood Ass’n v. City of Santa Monica (Aug. 24, 2023), the California Supreme Court found that vote dilution under the CVRA requires more than racially polarized voting.
On August 8, 2023, in Lacy v. City and County of San Francisco (Aug. 8, 2023, A165899) Cal.App.5th, the California Court of Appeal for the First District upheld San Francisco’s Charter provision permitting noncitizen parents or guardians of children to vote in San Francisco school board elections.
On July 21, 2023, the California Court of Appeal for the First District, in Coalition on Homelessness v. City and County of San Francisco, 93 Cal.App.5th 928 (2023), held that San Francisco cannot tow safely and lawfully parked vehicles, without a warrant, solely because of unpaid parking tickets.
On August 2, 2023, Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit organization focusing on consumer advocacy, submitted a proposed November 2024 ballot measure to the California Attorney General that would, among other amendments, make numerous changes to the California Public Records Act (CPRA). According to news reports, Consumer Watchdog has budgeted $5 million to support the qualification of the measure for the fall 2024 ballot.
Ninth Circuit Strikes Down California Law Restricting Campaign Fundraising by Local Government Employees
On July 19, 2023, in Progressive Democrats for Social Justice vs. Bonta, the Ninth Circuit ruled that California Government Code Section 3205—which prohibits local government employees from soliciting campaign contributions from their co-workers—violates the First Amendment.
In San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors v. Monell (2023) 91 Cal.App.5th 1248, the Court of Appeal upheld a voter initiative setting an unprecedented one-term limit and significant salary reduction for the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. While courts have generally upheld term limits, this case tests the outer bounds of such laws.
Voter initiatives permit voters to adopt a change in the law at the ballot box. In a recent decision in City of Oxnard v. Starr (2d Civ. No. B314601), the Court of Appeal set forth some limits on the initiative power.
At its November meeting, the Fair Political Practices Commission (“FPPC”) voted not to apply SB 1439 to campaign contributions received in 2022, prior to SB 1439’s effective date. Recently enacted by the Legislature, SB 1439 sets new limits on campaign contributions solicited or received by local elected officials.
The Fair Political Practices Commission (“FPPC”) has approved an increase in the annual gift limit for Form 700 filers from $520 to $590, effective January 1, 2023.