October 2007

Three New Family Leave Bills Being Considered

Attorney Authors: 

Three new California family leave bills are currently on the Governor's desk. AB 537 would expand the scope of people for whom California workers could use their 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Specifically, workers would be allowed to use their unpaid leave to care for seriously ill siblings, parents in-law, adult non-dependent children, grandparents or grandchildren. SB 727 would allow employees to use their six weeks of paid leave to care for  seriously ill siblings, parents in-law, grandparents or grandchildren. Finally, SB 836 would prohibit discrimination against a family caregiver. To read more about the potential new laws click here.

It's Back: Eminent Domain Reform

The California Legislature failed to pass proposed legislative changes during the 2007 session. However, it appears as if two initiatives will be heading to voters in June 2008. In response to the initiative sponsored by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association which is basically last year's defeated Prop. 90 resurrected; the Homeowners Protection Act is being circulated for signatures. It is sponsored by the California Redevelopment Association and the California State Association of Counties. The HPA prohibits the use of eminent domain to acquire single-family, owner-occupied homes (including condos and townhouses) for private-to-private transfers of property, however, it does not change the ability of agencies to acquire property for traditional public works projects, utilities and other infrastructures. To read the language of each of the proposed measures, see  the California Property Owners and Farmland Protection Act (CPOFPA) at www.yesonpropertyrights.com and the Homeowners and Private Property Protection Act (Homeowners Protection Act) at the website of the League of California Cities (cacities.org), or the California Redevelopment Association  or at www.eminentdomainreform.com.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds County of San Diego Ordinance Regulating the Location of Adult Entertainment Businesses

In Tollis Inc. v. County of San Diego, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a zoning ordinance adopted by the County of San Diego ("County") restricting the location of adult entertainment business to selected industrial zones. The ordinance was adopted to minimize the negative secondary effects associated with adult entertainment businesses.

Appellants challenged the ordinance alleging that the County did not provide sufficient evidence to show how the sexual and pornographic speech associated with the regulations will not be impacted by them. The Court of Appeals rejected this argument and held that the County’s reliance on 68 suitable relocation sites for adult entertainment businesses in industrial zones—on which eight to 10 could operate simultaneously—was adequate for the County to assume that, given the demand for sexual and pornographic speech, the quantity and accessibility of the speech would not be substantially diminished.

Appellants also argued that because the industrial zones identified by the County were not expressly zoned for commercial use they had not been afforded a reasonable opportunity to relocate. Again, the Court of Appeals rejected this argument, holding that the issue is not whether an industrial zone permits commercial uses within its boundaries; rather, the issue is whether the relocation sites identified within the industrial zone are reasonably accessible to the public and have adequate infrastructure.

Court Reverses Ruling Granting an Anti-SLAPP Motion to Strike City's Suit Over Eminent Domain Reform Ballot Initiative

In City of Riverside v. Stansbury, the Fourth Appellate District reversed the trial court's ruling granting defendants' anti-SLAPP motion, thereby allowing the City to proceed with its challenge to a ballot initiative. Defendants had submitted the ballot initiative to amend the City of Riverside's charter, restricting the City's use of eminent domain. The City sued, seeking declaratory relief that the proposed initiative was invalid, as it addressed a matter of statewide concern and was internally inconsistent. Defendants moved to dismiss the City's action under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, which provides for a special motion to strike strategic lawsuits against public participation, or "SLAPP" actions. While the trial court granted defendants' motion, the appellate court determined that the City's suit did not arise from any protected activity--rather, it simply disputed the validity of the proposed initiative. Therefore, the anti-SLAPP statute did not apply. The court also noted that granting an anti-SLAPP motion in these circumstances would mean that an initiative's constitutionality could never be challenged prior to the election, which was contrary to law.