News & Information

Municipal Law Updates


June 25, 2021

Local Government Relief Under the American Rescue Plan Act

On March 10, 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the “Act”), which created a fund to assist state and local governments that have suffered financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Act places certain restrictions on the uses to which eligible agencies can put their relief funds.  This article provides a…

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June 10, 2021

Permissible Expenditures of American Rescue Plan Act Funds

Summary On March 10, 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the “Act”). The Act provides relief funding for states and local governments to alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Act requires disbursement to local agencies by the US Department of the Treasury (the “US DOT”) to cities with populations…

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February 19, 2021

Voter initiative ballot measures to impose special taxes do not need 2/3 voter approval

Summary In City and County of San Francisco v. All Persons Interested in Matter of Proposition C, 51 Cal. App. 5th 703 (2020), the California Court of Appeal held that San Francisco’s (“City”) Proposition C (“Prop C”) was validly passed by the electorate with a simple majority. Prop C was a voter-sponsored initiative that imposed…

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February 18, 2021

Cities can be reimbursed by the State for certain costs associated with compliance with stormwater discharge permit requirements.

Summary In Department of Finance v. Commission on State Mandates (2021) 59 Cal.App.5th 546, the Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District held that city costs associated with installing and maintaining trash receptacles at transit stops in compliance with stormwater drain permits are reimbursable by the State of California, but costs associated with inspection…

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December 3, 2020

Oakland’s suit against Wells Fargo for predatory lending practices based on race can seek lost property-tax revenue

Summary In City of Oakland v. Wells Fargo & Co., 972 F.3d 1112 (9th Cir. Cal. 2020), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that cities can seek injunctive relief and recovery of lost property-tax revenue from banks that violate the Fair Housing Act by using predatory lending practices against minorities. The Ninth Circuit held…

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November 18, 2020

State law addresses Brown Act implications of social media use by members of a legislative body

AB 992 In a world that communicates with posting, reposting, texting, screenshotting, tweeting, liking, disliking, happy or sad emojis and commenting on posts, it was inevitable that public officials would enter onto that internet “platform” and communicate their thoughts and ideas to anyone who had access to a computer. Instead of stepping into the local…

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November 18, 2020

Court of Appeal clarifies procedures and deadlines under Eminent Domain Law

Summary The Court of Appeal in Rutgard v. City of Los Angeles, 52 Cal. App. 5th 815 (2020) held that a public agency desiring to retain condemned property that has not yet been put to public use must adopt a reauthorization resolution within ten years of the initial resolution declaring the public need. The Court…

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October 26, 2020

Exception to mobile billboard ordinance for “authorized vehicles” is likely an invalid content-based restriction on free speech.

Summary A city ordinance that prohibited mobile billboards except for “authorized vehicles” including emergency vehicles and construction/maintenance vehicles is a content-based restriction on free speech and presumptively invalid. Discussion In 2016, the City of Simi Valley (“City”) adopted an ordinance that prohibits the parking or standing of mobile billboard advertising displays on city streets. The…

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