November 2013

AB 44: New Law Requires Contractors to List Subcontractor License Numbers on Bids

November 1, 2013, by Benjamin T. Reyes

Existing law under the Subletting and Subcontracting Fair Practices Act requires prime contractors bidding public construction projects to list the names and locations of each subcontractor performing work for a public works project.  The statute calls for contractors to identify each subcontractor performing more than one-half of one percent of the contractor’s total bid, or $10,000, whichever is greater.  (Public Contract Code Section 4104).

AB 44: New Law Requires Contractors to List Subcontractor License Numbers on Bids

November 1, 2013, by Benjamin T. Reyes

Existing law under the Subletting and Subcontracting Fair Practices Act requires prime contractors bidding public construction projects to list the names and locations of each subcontractor performing work for a public works project.  The statute calls for contractors to identify each subcontractor performing more than one-half of one percent of the contractor’s total bid, or $10,000, whichever is greater.  (Public Contract Code Section 4104).

IRS Revises Rules to Allow for Carryover of FSA Funds

November 1, 2013, by Matthew C. Lewis

The IRS has announced new rules that give employers the option of allowing employees to carry over up to $500 worth of unused contributions remaining in their health flexible spending accounts (FSAs) at the end of each year.  The change is significant because previously, employees were prohibited from carrying over any leftover amounts---with the exception that employers could allow a grace period of up to two and a half months during which employees could use leftover funds. 

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

November 4, 2013, by Sarah Olinger

Two new California laws will become effective on January 1, 2014, which will make it easier for cities, counties, and other government agencies to promote the use of rubber tires in two different ways:

Federal Government Might Be Catching Up to California In Protecting Against LGBT Employment Discrimination

November 5, 2013, by Matthew C. Lewis

In a procedural vote, the U.S. Senate has advanced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to a full floor vote, which is expected to take place in the coming days. The Act would prohibit all employers (including public agencies) from using sexual orientation or gender identity as a basis for employment decisions.  Federal law already prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, religion, national origin, age and disability. The bill is far from certain to become law, as the Republican majority in the House continues to be skeptical about the bill, concerned it will spur unnecessary litigation and result in costs for small businesses.

Governor Brown Signs and Vetoes Important Employment Bills

November 5, 2013, by Matthew C. Lewis

In October, Governor Jerry Brown capped off this year's legislative session by signing or vetoing the remaining bills on his desk.  The following is a brief summary of the most notable labor and employment related bills from the past session relevant to public agencies:

Tomorrow in the U.S. Supreme Court: Prayer and Local Government

November 5, 2013, by Deborah J. Fox, David S. Warner

In a case that local governments are watching closely because of the impact it could have on the practice of opening city council meetings with prayer, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments tomorrow in Town of Greece v. Galloway. The matter involves the town of Greece, New York, where two citizens challenged the town council’s years-long practice of beginning its monthly meetings with prayers that were almost exclusively Christian. The practical effect has been to endorse Christianity as the town’s religion—a violation of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, the citizens argue. The town contends that its practice has been sound; its brief to the Supreme Court leans heavily on the Supreme Court’s decision 30 years ago in Marsh v. Chambers, which found that the state of Nebraska had not violated the Constitution by employing a Presbyterian minister for 16 years to lead the legislature in prayer. Meyers Nave presented on this issue at last month’s annual International Municipal Lawyers Association conference and will be monitoring tomorrow’s arguments and providing analysis when the Court hands down its decision (due by June 2014). On Friday, a complete audio recording of tomorrow’s arguments will be available here.

Pension Reform Litigation & Legislation Roundup

November 14, 2013, by Anya J. Freedman, Arthur A. Hartinger, Linda Ross

New developments include a key ruling in cases challenging California's pension anti-"spiking" law (AB 197); the passage of a San Francisco measure aimed at reforming that jurisdiction's retiree health care trust fund plan; and arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a closely watched matter that will provide important federal precedent regarding how the legal standard for vested rights should be applied in practice. Read our full analysis.

More Municipalities Consider Eminent Domain to Fight Foreclosure

November 18, 2013, by Meyers Nave

Irvington, New Jersey, is moving forward with plans to become the second municipality in the nation to use eminent domain to buy mortgages that are in foreclosure (see November 15 New York Times story).  Irvington will be performing a legal study of the proposal.  Since 2008, nearly 1,800 homes have been foreclosed in the city of 53,000.  It has an unemployment rate of 12.4 percent.  Even the New Jersey chapter of the ACLU backs the Irvington plan. 

Judge Rejects CalPERS’ Second Attempt to Appeal San Bernardino’s Bankruptcy Eligibility To Ninth Circuit

November 25, 2013, by Anya J. Freedman

CalPERS is the City of San Bernardino’s largest creditor, with the City owing the pension fund $17 million, plus growing interest, late fees and penalties. In August, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Jury ruled that San Bernardino is eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.  In November, Judge Jury denied without prejudice CalPERS first attempt to take a direct appeal from Judge Jury’s ruling. On Friday, November 15, 2013, Judge Jury rejected a second CalPERS motion for leave to file a direct appeal to the Ninth Circuit. Under the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, a party must seek leave to appeal an interlocutory eligibility determination to a federal appeals court. See FRBP 8001(b). Judge Jury’s decision isn’t the end of the road for CalPERS; it can still ask a U.S. District Court judge to review the bankruptcy court’s eligibility ruling, which the Sacramento Bee reports it has already done.