March 2008

California Supreme Court Holds that Supervisors are not Personally Liable for Retaliation

March 4, 2008, by Jesse Lad

In Reno v. Baird, 18 Cal.4th. 640 (1998), the California Supreme Court held that while an employer may be held personally liable for discrimination under the California Fair Employment & Housing Act ("FEHA"), nonemployer individuals are not personally liable for that discrimination. The Supreme Court has now echoed that statement with respect to retaliation claims under the FEHA, holding that nonemployer individuals also can not be held personally liable for FEHA-based retaliation. To read the Supreme Court's decision in Jones v. The Lodge at Torrey Pines Partnership regarding personal liability for retaliation claims click here.

California Air Resources Board Developing Protocols for Local Government Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

March 14, 2008, by Meyers Nave

The California Air Resources Board, (ARB) is partnering with the California Climate Action Registry (CCAR), The Climate Registry (TCR), and Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) to develop local government protocols for Greenhouse Gas (GHG) assessment. Though reporting of emissions under these protocols is voluntary, the protocols may serve as the basis for future mandatory emissions reporting under AB 32.

LAO's Budget Proposal Would Shift Tax Revenue From Special Districts to Counties

March 18, 2008, by Meyers Nave

The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) has proposed an alternative budget package that includes shifting responsibility for supervision of approximately 71,000 low-level parolees from the State to the counties. This parole realignment would be financed in part by reallocating property tax revenue from water and wastewater districts into a newly created county Public Safety Realignment Account (PSRA). Under the LAO’s proposal, each county would shift 70% of countywide water and wastewater property tax revenue into its PSRA, unless a lower percentage of property taxes would be sufficient to support the realignment program. While the actual amount of tax revenue shifted from each district would ultimately be determined by the county boards of supervisors, the LAO estimates that, statewide, its proposal would shift approximately $188 million, or 50%, of water and wastewater district property tax revenue to county PSRAs.

Additional sources of financing for the proposed parole realignment include approximately $178 million from city Proposition 172 sales taxes and approximately $130 million from vehicle license fees currently retained by the Department of Motor Vehicles for administrative purposes.

To read more about the LAO's parole realignment proposal, click here.

Ninth Circuit Holds Pre-employment Drug-Test Requirement for Part-time Library Employee Invalid

March 19, 2008, by Jesse Lad

In Lanier v. City of Woodburn, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was faced with the issue of whether the City of Woodburn could require an applicant for a part-time library page to pass a pre-employment drug test as a condition of an offer of employment. While the Court did not hold the City's policy that required applicants to submit to such a drug test to be unconstitutional per se, the Ninth Circuit did hold that the policy was unconstitutional as applied to the applicant because the City failed to show a special need to screen the applicant for drugs. To read the Court's decision click here.

A Bill to Save Trees and Energy

March 28, 2008, by Meyers Nave

Senate Bill 1399 was recently introduced in the California State Senate to strike a balance between the installation of solar collectors on a building and the preservation of existing trees and shrubs. Current state law prohibits a person owning or in control of property from allowing a tree or shrub to be placed or to grow on the property subsequent to the installation of a solar collector on the property of another if the tree or shrub casts a shadow of a specified size on the solar collection absorption area during specified times. Cities and counties may adopt an ordinance exempting its jurisdiction from the state law prohibition. Among other things, SB 1399 would exempt trees and shrubs planted prior to the time of the installation of a solar collector and trees and shrubs that are subject to a local ordinance. A hearing on SB 1399 is scheduled before the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee on April 1.