News & Analysis as of

Financing Increased Demand On Pre-Existing Services Constitutes “Additional Services”

California Court Decision Rules on Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982 - Community Facilities Districts formed by a landowner vote may be used to finance increased demand on pre-existing services, a California...more

Kentucky High Court Strikes Down Louisville Minimum Wage Law; Lexington Law Also Affected

Local governments in Kentucky lack the authority to establish their own minimum wage rates, the Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled 6-1. Kentucky Restaurant Ass’n, et al. v. Louisville/Jefferson Cty. Metro Gov’t,...more

New Arizona Law Could Affect Homeowner Associations

Governor Ducey signed SB1350 on June 12, 2016, and it becomes effective January 1, 2017. The bill prohibits municipalities from restricting or regulating the ability of homeowners to use their property as vacation rentals...more

Reading the Fine Print: Changes in Legal Framework for the Assessment and Display of Service Charges

Service charges, administrative charges, surcharges, house fees—whatever you call those charges assessed for food and beverage service in restaurants and in hotels—the rules about how they need to be disclosed to guests and...more

Fifth Circuit Affirms False Claims Act’s Anti-Retaliation Provision Cannot Be Used Against Individuals Who Did Not Employ...

On July 1, 2016, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district Court’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s False Claims Act (“FCA”) retaliation claim against all individual defendants in the case. In Howell v. Town of Ball, 827 F.3d 515, 521...more

Quicksands and Cutting Edges of the Law: Do Municipal Utility Customers possess Due Process and Vested Rights to Continued...

Sometimes, I read a court’s opinion and put it aside because it is thought provoking beyond its facts and outcome. The case of United States Cold Storage, Inc. v. Town of Warsaw, __ N.C. App. ___, 784 S.E. 2d 575 (April 5,...more

Mayor's Fight vs Slots Parlor Gets Decided Tomorrow in Revere Special Election

To force the City of Revere to hold a special election solely on the question of building a slots parlor in the community, the wholesomely named Revere Jobs and Education Committee had to collect the signatures of at least...more

SB 1266’s New Filing Requirements Apply Only to JPAs Providing Municipal Services

Failure to file will preclude JPAs from issuing bonds or incurring indebtedness - Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed into law Senate Bill 1266, which will require joint powers agencies and joint powers authorities that...more

An Update on Pennsylvania's Oil and Gas Law - Act 13 - After Supreme Court Decisions

While many key provisions of Act 13 have now been struck down by the Supreme Court’s two Robinson decisions, much of the Act remains. Act 13 of 2012 represented a major overhaul of Pennsylvania’s oil and gas law and...more

Municipal Legal News

On September 21, Governor Snyder signed a package of bills (2016 PA 281-283) that significantly expands the types of medical marijuana facilities permitted under state law, and establishes a licensing scheme similar to the...more

Recently Introduced Legislation Could Lead to Increased Claims for Municipalities

A bill proposed in the Ohio Senate could have a significant impact on Ohio municipalities’ budgets going forward. Ohio Senate Bill 5 would create an exception to Ohio law allowing for police officers, fire fighters and other...more

RLUIPA Case of the Year? Minnesota Municipality Uses RLUIPA’s Safe Harbor Provision to Avoid Liability

In an important decision for municipalities across the country, a federal court in Minnesota has recently ruled that actions taken under RLUIPA’s “safe harbor” provision absolved a local government of possible RLUIPA...more

Jury Finds Miami and Former Budget Director Guilty of Securities Fraud

In the first federal jury trial by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against a municipality or its officers, jurors found that the City of Miami, Florida (Miami or the City) and its former budget director...more

Financial Services Report, Fall 2016

Editor’s Note - So much for summer! The weather is cooling, the kids are back to school, and we better not see you wearing white so long after Labor Day! For those of you having a little trouble getting back in the...more

Texas Supreme Court Affirms Property Owners' Rights Within the Extraterritorial Jurisdiction

On May 27, 2016, in Town of Lakewood Village v. Bizios, the Texas Supreme Court held that general law municipalities do not have the authority to enforce building codes within their extraterritorial jurisdictions (ETJs). This...more

The SEC Wins First Jury Trial in a Muni Case: SEC v. City of Miami and Michael Boudreaux

In what the SEC called “the first federal jury trial by the SEC against a municipality or one of its officers for violations of the federal securities laws,” a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of...more

Contemplating Cross-Appeals – When “Winners” Need to Appeal

One preservation issue that seems to receive less attention than it should is the potential need for a cross-appeal. An appellee/respondent who is not entirely successful in the trial court may challenge an unfavorable...more

SEC Prevails in Securities Law Action Against City of Miami

In the first federal jury trial against a municipality for securities law violations, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on September 14, 2016 successfully obtained a verdict against the City of Miami and a...more

SEC Settles Fraud Cases Against Municipal Issuers Under MCDC Initiative

On August 24, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") announced settlements with 71 state and local government issuers of municipal bonds and private sector borrowers of bond proceeds (collectively, "issuers")...more

I Hate Home Rule

Massachusetts is a Home Rule state (Commonwealth, actually, but that’s a separate issue). Our 351 cities and towns can pretty much legislate as they please, so long as the local action is not preempted. Our state Wetlands...more

SEC Announces Enforcement Actions Against 71 Municipal Issuers

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently announced enforcement actions against 71 municipal issuers of bonds in connection with the Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation (MCDC) Initiative. The...more

SEC Announces 71 Issuer MCDC Settlements

On August 24, 2016, the SEC announced that it had entered into settlement orders with 71 municipal issuers and other obligated persons for violations of federal securities laws in municipal bond offerings. The issuers and...more

Zoning Law Applicable to School Districts Signed into Law

On August 25, 2016, Governor Rauner signed into law Public Act 99-890, which is the result of an effort by the education community to temper the effect of the recent Supreme Court decision in Gurba v. Community High School...more

SEC Charges 71 Issuers under its Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation Initiative

On August 24, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced enforcement actions against 71 municipal issuers and other obligated persons (collectively, the municipal issuers) under the SEC’s Municipalities...more

Municipal Condemnation of Privately Held Utilities Continues to be a Hot Issue, but at what Cost?

In January, I spoke at a conference in Austin about efforts by municipalities to condemn privately-held utility companies. At the time, I figured it would be a one-off presentation on a pretty niche issue, even for eminent...more

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