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February 10, 2017

The Deadline for Establishing Groundwater Sustainability Agencies Is June 30, 2017

As California experienced its worst-ever drought, at its disposal were outdated water laws, many of which were enacted over a century ago when California had only 3 million residents. In 2014, the state legislature, recognizing the immense value of water as a public resource and the huge detriments of water scarcity, revolutionized California’s water laws. The new, extensive legislation authorizes local control of water basins and requires long-range planning to battle drought conditions.

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February 8, 2017

Appellate Court Rules that MMBA Permits Modified Agency Shop Arrangement Applying Only to New Employees

In a February 1, 2017 decision, the California Court of Appeal held that Section 3502.5 of the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act ("MMBA") permits employees to vote on a modified agency shop provision. Specifically, it affirmed the ruling of the Public Employment Relations Board ("PERB" or "Board") that the Orange County Water District ("District") should have permitted an election regarding the adoption of a modified agency shop provision applicable only to future employees. (Orange County Water District v. Public Employment Relations Board (Feb. 1, 2017, G052725) _ Cal.App.5th _, 2017 WL 432862.)

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February 6, 2017

Ninth Circuit Holds Liability Waiver Combined with Disclosure Notice Form Violates Fair Credit Reporting Act

On January 20, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that an employer violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") where its FCRA disclosure form also includes language serving as a liability wavier. Syed v. M-I, LLC , __ F. 3d. ____ (9th Cir. 2017). The Ninth Circuit, which has jurisdiction over California, is the first court to address the issue of whether employers may satisfy the FCRA by combining a background check disclosure form with a liability waiver.

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January 31, 2017

California Court Refuses to Enforce Arbitration Agreement it Found Confusing and Unclear

Arbitration is typically more cost-effective and less time-consuming than litigating in court. Employers can avail themselves of the arbitration process and avoid the onerous rules associated with civil litigation by entering into pre-dispute arbitration agreements with their employees at the time of hire. But a recent California court decision demonstrates the importance of ensuring these agreements are drafted with clarity and in accordance with the stringent requirements imposed by California case law. In December 2016 the Court of Appeal held an arbitration agreement allegedly signed by an employee was unenforceable because the agreement was ambiguous as to both its scope and the governing rules for any such arbitration. Flores v. Nature’s Best Distribution, LLC, 7 Cal. App. 5th 1 (2016).

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January 27, 2017

President Trump Signs Executive Order Seeking to Restrict Federal Funding to “Sanctuary” Cities

On Wednesday, January 25th, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that seeks, in part, to deny federal funding to "sanctuary jurisdictions" that "willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. § 1373." Section 1373 prohibits state and local governmental entities from restricting communication with federal immigration enforcement authorities regarding the citizenship or immigration status of individuals. The executive order further provides that "appropriate enforcement action" will be taken by the U.S. Attorney General against any entity that violates Section 1373 or has a "statute, policy, or practice that prevents or hinders the enforcement of federal law."

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January 24, 2017

Court of Appeal Affirms That a County Office of Education Cannot Seek an Exemption From Local Zoning Ordinances Under Government Code Section 53094

The Sixth District Court of Appeal recently held in San Jose Unified School District v. Santa Clara County Office of Education (Court of Appeal Case No. H041088, Jan. 24, 2017), that a County Office of Education cannot seek an exemption from local zoning ordinances under Government Code section 53094 because a county board of education is not a "governing board of a school district."

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January 19, 2017

UPDATE: Geographic Restrictions Apply to Nonclassroom-Based Charters

On January 18, 2017, the California Supreme Court denied a petition for review in the Anderson Union High School District v. Shasta Secondary Home School matter (Supreme Court Case: S238632; Court of Appeal Case: C078491). The Court also denied a request for depublication. Therefore, the Court of Appeal’s decision governs the case and further appeal in a California state court is precluded.

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January 11, 2017

Appellate Court Rules That Employer Has Duty To Meet And Consult About Binding Interest Arbitration

The California Court of Appeal has held that unions have a right to meet and confer about binding interest arbitration. Specifically, it affirmed the ruling of the Public Employment Relations Board ("PERB" or "Board") that the City of Palo Alto ("City") was required to consult in good faith over a ballot measure repealing binding interest arbitration. (City of Palo Alto v. Public Employment Relations Board (2016) 5 Cal.App.5th 1271.)

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