Litigation We're Watching

Last Updated 09/18/2020

City and County of San Francisco v. All Persons Interested in the Matter of Proposition C, No. A158645. State Supreme Court rejected petition for review, thus allowing lower court decision to stand holding voters may exercise the initiative power to adopt a special tax by majority vote. The Court of Appeal held the super majority requirements in Art. XIII A, section 4 and Art. XIII C, section 2 apply only to measures placed on the ballot by legislative bodies, not by voters through the initiative petition process.

Wilde v. City of Dunsmuir, SCCVPT16549. California Supreme Court ruled referendum cannot be used to repeal local utility rates, under Article II, Section 9(a) of the California Constitution which exempts statutes providing for tax levies or appropriations for usual current expenses from referendum. Court held such rates may be challenged by other means, including initiative. https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S252915.PDF

Yes on Prop B v. City and County of San Francisco, No. 20-CV-00630-CRB. United States District Court, Northern District of California, ruled San Francisco’s campaign disclaimer requirement created an unconstitutional burden on First Amendment rights by taking up more than 40% of space or run time of an advertisement, but disclaimers which took up less than 40% of space or run time did not create an unconstitutional burden. Court also upheld requirement that committee’s disclaimer include disclosure of individuals and organizations who give money to committees that in turn contribute to a campaign paying for advertising.

DNC v. Hobbs, No. 18-15845. In February, 9th Circuit allowed Arizona ballot harvesting ban to remain in effect while appealed to the US Supreme Court. This follows a ruling in January finding holding the law violates the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution.