News & Information

Municipal Law Updates


October 21, 2019

California Supreme Court clarifies that to be liable in inverse condemnation, damage to private property must be substantially caused by inherent risks associated with the design, construction, or maintenance of a public improvement.

I. SUMMARY The California Supreme Court recently held1 that the City of Oroville (“City”) was not liable in inverse condemnation when untreated sewage backed up into a dental office because the property owner failed to demonstrate the resulting damage was substantially caused by inherent risks in the design, construction, or maintenance of the sewer system….

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April 8, 2019

City council meeting agendas must be posted prominently on a city’s internet homepage and must be searchable by commonly used internet search applications

SUMMARY In 2016, the Legislature adopted Assembly Bill 2257 (“AB 2257”) which amended Government Code Section 54954.2 by adding new requirements for posting city council agendas. Effective January 1, 2019, Gov. Code Section 54954.2(a)(2) requires that meeting agendas for all “legislative bodies” be posted on a city’s internet homepage, be retrievable, downloadable, indexable, electronically searchable,…

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April 4, 2019

Cities cannot limit public comments at special meetings based on comments at prior, distinct meetings.

SUMMARY On February 22, 2019, the California Second District Court of Appeal, in Preven v. City of L.A.,1 held that while the Brown Act allows for restricting public comment under certain conditions at regular meetings, the Act does not permit limiting comment at special city council meetings based on public comments at prior, distinct committee…

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December 6, 2018

New Law Treats Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations like Retail Food Establishments for Health and Sanitation Standards Enforcement

I. SUMMARY Effective January 1, 2019, Assembly Bill 626 (“AB 626”) expands the scope of retail food sanitation standards to include “microenterprise home kitchen operations.” Similarly, Assembly Bill 2178 (“AB 2178”) applies food sanitation standards to “limited service charitable feeding operations.” While cities have discretion to authorize or prohibit the permitting of microenterprise home kitchen…

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December 6, 2018

New Law Authorizes Affordable Housing Authorities to Construct Emergency Shelters, Supportive Housing & Transitional Housing

I. SUMMARY The passage of Assembly Bill (“AB 1598”) in 2017 authorized cities to create Affordable Housing Authorities. Funded by tax-increment financing, these Affordable Housing Authorities were given power to provide affordable housing and affordable workforce housing and are distinct from other housing authorities with broader purposes. Recently, the Governor signed into law Assembly Bill…

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October 18, 2018

New State Law Imposes Procedural Protections Against Water Utility Shutoffs

I. SUMMARY Intended to minimize the number of Californians who lose access to water service due to their inability to pay, Senate Bill 998 (“SB 998”) provides additional procedural protections before residential water service can be discontinued. These protections apply to water service provided by an “urban and community water system,” a “public water system,”…

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September 26, 2018

9th Circuit Determines Ceremonial Prayer During School Board Meeting Violates Establishment Clause

I. SUMMARY In a recent decision,1 the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit held that a school district’s policy of opening board meetings with prayer violates the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. The 9th Circuit held that unlike ceremonial prayers before legislative bodies that are generally constitutional, such prayers in…

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September 26, 2018

California Supreme Court Upholds City’s Transfer of Funds from its Utility Enterprise Fund to its General Fund

I. SUMMARY Recently, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of the City of Redding in upholding the city’s annual transfer of funds from its electric utility enterprise fund to its general fund to compensate the city for its costs in providing services to the utility.1 This transfer, called a “payment in lieu of taxes”…

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