Elections, Public Safety, Surplus Funds and More
From a measure aimed to encourage public participation in the redistricting process (Assembly Bill 849) and one that extends the duration of a gun-violence restraining order (AB 12) to another addressing the gender equality of commissions and boards (AB 931), California lawmakers passed a number of laws last year that have an effect on how public agencies do business and serve constituents.
This two-part series takes a look at the most critical legislation that public agencies need to know about in order to be compliant. Below is a recap of these new laws, most of which went into effect on Jan. 1.
New Election Legislation Brings Changes to Redistricting & Referendums
Local agencies will see a number of changes to election laws designed to increase transparency and participation in the public decision-making process.
Default Contribution Limits for City, County Candidates Take Effect in 2021
California counties and cities maintain the local authority to independently impose local campaign contributions, yet a vast majority of municipalities (two thirds across the State) fail to do so.
To combat corruption at all levels of government and reduce the frequency in which a candidate raises considerable campaign funds from a single donor, AB 571 establishes campaign contribution limits for county and city offices that are already imposed on candidates for elected offices at the state level.
The limits set by AB 571 take effect on Jan. 1, 2021. (Read more about the measure’s implications in the BB&K Legal Alert AB 571 Sets Default Candidate Contribution Limits for City and County Offices.)
Gun Control Bills Strengthen State’s Red-Flag Law
Last year, the Legislature passed 15 new gun bills, a third of which significantly expand and strengthen California’s red-flag law that was enacted after the 2014 mass shooting in Isla Vista that claimed the lives of six people near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus.
State law currently allows immediate family members and law enforcement officers to petition the court to issue a gun violence restraining order, or GVRO, that prohibits a person posing a significant danger to themselves or others from possessing a firearm.
The law is rarely used, but this could change after Sept. 1, 2020 when the following laws take effect:
Additionally, AB 339 will require law enforcement agencies to develop and adopt written policies and standards relating to GVROs by Jan. 1, 2021. (These laws are further explored in a BB&K Legal Alert.)
Local Agencies See Changes to Financing Districts, Surplus Funds and More
The following five laws bring changes for local agencies that are aimed to facilitate the increased use of Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts (AB 116) and enable more local government funds to be invested with community banks and credit unions, among other legislative goals (AB 945).
Part Two of this series will focus on the recent legislation that brings changes to housing and land use, telecommunications and environmental law.
This article first appeared in PublicCEO.com on Feb. 11, 2020. Republished with permission.