On Monday, May 14th, the Supreme Court published their decision to legalize sports betting from a case arising in New Jersey. However, that does not mean Americans can start placing their bets.

In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court decision states that “[p]rovisions of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act that prohibit state authorization and licensing of sports gambling schemes violate the Constitution’s anticommandeering rule.” This means that it is unconstitutional to prohibit states from legalizing sports betting, not that sports betting is now legalized across the country.

“The decision by the Supreme Court affirms that the choice to legalize sports wagering is one for the states to make for themselves,” State Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced stated. Gray proposed a state constitutional amendment that would authorize sports wagering. But that amendment must make its way through the Legislature and California voters would then have to approve it. And as CALmatters’ Dan Morain points out, “that amendment faces many hurdles in the Legislature and voters would have to approve it. The soonest that could happen is 2020.”

With a major industry being legalized, parties are jumping to get a piece of the revenue. Several interest groups have begun to weigh in from tribal communities to online gambling websites (video link) – all showing support for the legalization.

Major sports leagues such as the MLB and NBA have been lobbying for legalization heavily across the states after the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case last June. Their lobbying also includes an addition called an ‘integrity fee’ for bets placed as well as a mandate that requires casinos buy real-time data from the leagues themselves.

As sports betting is legalized major parties are constructing ways to profit from the industry, including the government. The American Gaming Association estimates wagering at about $150 billion per year. By regulating the industry, the state of California and local governments could then tax sports gambling, producing more taxpayer money to fund programs.

So what does this mean for Californians? Sports betting is not legalized, so don’t place your bets… yet.




Helping Your Client’s Case by Changing the Law

Today’s  podcast  is  on  helping  your  client’s  legal  problem  by changing  the  law.

Any  lawyer  can  apply  the  facts  of  his  or  her  case  to  the  law  as  it  exists  today,  but  a  really  good  lawyer  is  one  who  would  look  closely  at  changing  the  law  to  benefit  his  or  her  client’s  legal  position.

What should you do as a lawyer for your client?  I  think  a  lawyer  should  complete  a  policy  analysis  of  any  issue  facing  his  or  her  client  and  potential  changes  to  the  law  that  could  be  made,  either  statutory  or  regulatory,  that  would  benefit  his  or  her  client.

Lawyers  need  to  have  a  firm  understanding  of  the  area  of  the  law  and  what  has  led  to  the  current  statutory  or  regulatory  issue,  and  what  are  the  pros  and  the  cons  of  a  particular  approach  to  changing  that  statute  or  regulation?  Look  at  using  a  lobbyist  to  help  change  the  law,  or  the  lawyer  himself  or  herself  could  make  that  similar  attempt.

An  effective  lobbyist  will  understand  the  politics  and  policy  regarding  a  particular  subject  matter  and  has  the  ability  to  make  statutory  or  regulatory  changes.  Then,  just  like  a  lawyer,  a  lobbyist  advocates  for  his  or  her  client’s  position  with  those  responsive  decision-makers.

Basically,  a  well-rounded  lawyer  will  appreciate  that  solving  his  or  her  client’s  legal  problem  can  sometimes  be  accomplished  by  actually  changing  the  law  in  those  cases  where  the  law  may  not  be  favorable  to  a  potential  client  outcome  or  position.

I hope you enjoy today’s podcast!




Advocacy in Practice with Erin Evans-Fudem

For today’s podcast, I sat down McGeorge alum Erin Evans-Fudem (’13), who is a Legislative Representative for the League of California Cities (also known as the League). Full disclosure, we did record this interview a while back. But while one part of the conversation will sound dated, the rest is evergreen. Our conversation definitely differs from the previous Advocacy in Practice interviews that I had with Chris Micheli and Ray LeBov.

Erin focuses on environmental quality and community services for the League. That means she gets to work on all the really fun issues, like water, energy, air quality, utilities, etc. There were a couple of things that really stood out to me in my interview with her.

The first is that with Erin being closer to her time in law school than Chris or Ray, she was quick to point out where law students and job seekers interested in the Capitol can look to find jobs. She also stressed the importance of being visible, of putting yourself out there. She brought up an anecdote of running into the right person at the right time, and while the encounter was unplanned it proved fruitful and led to a problem being solved quickly.

We discuss many more aspects of the lobbying profession in our interview. I hope you enjoy it.




Other Types of Lobbying

Today’s podcast is a follow up on last week’s post about the different types of lobbying clients and services. Today we’ll be looking at other types of lobbying.

Although most lobbying occurs in the legislative and regulatory arenas generally, there are several other types of lobbying – such as grassroots lobbying as well as advocacy before specific agencies that often have unique rules and procedures for lobbying those agencies. Today’s podcast will discuss grassroots lobbying as well as a few of those specialized state bodies that lobbyists should be aware of.

Grassroots lobbying, which is sometimes referred to as indirect lobbying, involves members of the general public as opposed to those directly impacted by a bill or issue. In essence, grassroots lobbying is an effort to cajole members of the general public into contacting their elected officials so that the members of the public are lobbying the decision makers.

This type of lobbying requires educating large groups of individuals and then mobilizing them into some sort of call to action. It usually involves efforts to get specific organizations or community groups to become involved in the efforts to pass or defeat pending legislation or regulations.

Educating the public can take multiple forms: such as direct mailers, social media, paid or earned media, press conferences, etc. Outreach efforts are key to successful grassroots lobbying and the media often play a critical role in these outreach efforts.

Now let’s turn to lobbying some of those specialized agencies. Some of the state agencies that have specialized lobbying rules and procedures include the Public Utilities Commission, PUC, the California Coastal Commission – the Coastal Commission – and the California Air Resources Board – CARB.

In general, a lobbyist is one who is paid to communicate with officials for the purpose of influencing legislative of administrative action. This is the definition of lobbying in the Political Reform Act in the Government Code. In the brief podcast, I go into more depth about some of the specific rules for lobbyists lobbying the PUC.

It’s important for lobbyists to be aware of rules regulating conduct when lobbying different state agencies and departments. These rules need to be reviewed prior to undertaking any activity, and then of course, you have to follow them to ensure proper compliance. Otherwise, both the lobbyists and his or her client could be adversely impacted.

Advocacy in Practice Interview with Ray LeBov

For today’s podcast, I sat down with veteran lobbyist and familiar voice, Ray LeBov. As I’m sure you remember from Ray’s many posts, he’s a 40+ year veteran of the California Legislature, working both in the Building as committee staff and in the third house.

He graciously took the time to share the wealth of wisdom that he has when it comes to navigating California’s legislative process that he gained from his depth of experience.

We talk at length about his time at the Judicial Council of California and the nuances of client management, the most difficult part of job.




Advocacy In Practice with Chris Micheli

Today’s podcast should feel a little familiar and a little different at the same time. On CAP·impact we explore two types of advocacy – advocacy in the courts and advocacy in the legislative/regulatory arena. McGeorge’s Associate Dean for Experiential Learning, Mary-Beth Moylan, has an excellent series of interviews with judges and justices on advocacy in the courts.

Today’s podcast is a spin on those interviews, but talking with legislative and regulatory advocates instead of judges, about their advice to new lobbyists and provide their insights into the lobbying profession. I think back to Ray LeBov’s first rule for effective lobbying and see these interviews that I’ll be doing with lobbyists as an extension of that. If Rule #1 is to be a sponge, these interviews are intended to be a good starting point for soaking up some do’s and don’ts of the lobbying profession.

We are starting out by talking to McGeorge Capital Center adjunct professor, McGeorge School of Law alum, and respected lobbyist, Chris Micheli. Our conversation explores what he thinks makes him as effective as he is at his job. We also go into some general discussion about the lobbying profession a little more broadly, and briefly discuss one of my favorite movies – Thank You For Smoking.

It’s a fun and interesting conversation about the lobbying profession. Enjoy!

By: John Sims

Previous posts have described the decades-long efforts by California to deal with the challenge of air pollution.  Automobile-generated air pollution in the Los Angeles area forced California to start developing responses before Congress was ready to take action, and therefore when the Clean Air Act was passed by Congress in 1970 the legislation contemplated that California would continue to set a higher standard for itself than that mandated for the rest of the country.

Although the more demanding standards adopted for vehicles sold in California require sign-off by the Environmental Protection Agency, that has generally not prevented California from taking the lead in fighting air pollution.  Even when a given administration was not willing to take aggressive action itself to protect the air, it did not stop California from doing so.  A California vs. US dispute did arise over greenhouse gases during the administration of George W. Bush, but was quickly resolved once President Obama took office.

A highly informative recent article by Dale Kasler in The Sacramento Bee  gives a detailed history of the Clean Air Act as implemented in California, and calls attention to current tensions that may soon explode into open warfare.  EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is enthusiastically giving effect to President Trump’s hostility toward regulatory efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.  Therefore, as described in detail in the article, there is now a serious risk that the EPA will deny California the certification it needs to fight Global Warming aggressively.

Kasler reports that Pruitt’s decision is expected by April 1.  Any action by the “Environmental Protection Agency” to prevent California from protecting the state’s environment would certainly fit well within the spirit of April Fool’s Day.

In a related development, on March 7 the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected a creative effort by the U.S. Department of Justice to obtain “mandamus” (essentially an emergency court order) to prevent the federal district court in Oregon from moving ahead with its planned trial in the Juliana case.  Young plaintiffs are challenging various federal policies that contribute to Global Warming and threaten their future.  The district judge concluded that the plaintiffs’ case is substantial enough to go to trial, and it is expected that the proceeding will involve extensive expert scientific testimony.

The federal government is desperate to prevent the trial because it will inevitably attract further attention to the issues surrounding Global Warming, but at least so far it has been unable to find a procedural mechanism to derail the lawsuit.  The mandamus request was denied.






Ethics Rules for California Lobbyists

Today’s podcast is on lobbying ethics rules. There are only a few specific laws that address ethical rules for lobbyists.

Beyond those, lobbyists are encouraged to abide by a code of ethics in conducting their professional activities. These include the code of ethics adopted and maintained by the Institute of Governmental Advocates, IGA, an organization to which many Sacramento lobbyists belong, and a code of ethics adopted by the California Legislature.

So what are some of the state’s lobbying laws? For starters, there is the Political Reform Act, the PRA, which was adopted by the voters in a statewide election as Proposition 9 in 1974. The PRA contains the main statutes concerning the ethical rules for the lobbying profession in the state of California. The details of the statute concerning ethical rules are covered in the podcast.

In addition to what is covered in the PRA and Government Code, there are other state laws that impose certain ex parte communication restrictions on the participants in administrative adjudicatory proceedings and before certain state agencies, such as the Public Utilities Commission. There are also revolving door prohibitions that affect public officials who go into the lobbying profession that essentially preclude them from communicating with or appearing before any state agency for which they worked during the 12 months before leaving state employment.

Lobbyists are also subject to criminal laws, including bribery and extortion laws as well as mail fraud, wire fraud, and the infamous RICO statute.

As I said before, in addition to the laws by which lobbyists must abide, there is also a legislative code of ethics that the Legislature adopted for lobbyists. In addition to the legislative code of ethics, the IGA has a code of ethics that lobbyists must abide by.

The details of those codes of ethics can be found in the podcast. Thanks for listening.

Lobbying the Budget

There are some who are intimidated by the process of lobbying the budget. One theory as to why they’re intimidated is, put simply, that it contains numbers and people are intimidated by numbers. That’s just one theory. However, there are quite a few subtle and not so subtle differences between lobbying the budget and lobbying any other piece of legislation that can make the budget process seem more intimidating. Today’s podcast with veteran lobbyists Ray LeBov and Chris Micheli seeks to demystify that process.

There are two very important things to understand about the budget. First, remember that in some ways, the budget bill is a bill just like any other bill – but in some ways unlike any other bill. The other thing to keep in mind is why the budget is so important because it can do things to you and your client(s) or for you and your client(s).

We’ll go over the calendar for the budget here and leave the other topics Ray and Chris discuss for you to listen to. The first difference between lobbying the budget and lobbying legislation is the calendar. The budget does not run on the normal legislative calendar. The budget process starts right after beginning of the new fiscal year on July 1. There is a lot of behind the scenes work over the next six months culminating in the Governor’s budget proposal on January 10, which kicks off the legislative portion of budget lobbying.

After the Governor announces the budget proposal, it becomes two identical bills – one in the Assembly and one in the Senate – that begin to work their way through the California Legislature. The bills start in their respective house’s Budget Committee, and then the work on the budget gets divided up between the budget subcommittees which work on different issue area jurisdictions within the budget.

After the subcommittee process is completed, the budget bill goes back to the full Budget Committee, which essentially amends the recommended changes from the subcommittees into the budget bill. The next step in the legislative process is conference committee to reconcile differences between the Assembly and Senate versions of the budget. That said, they can make changes to the budget bill that were identical in the versions the two houses sent over in addition to reconciling differences between the two versions of the budget bill.

After conference committee come negotiations between the Big Three – the two Democratic leaders in the Legislature and the Governor – to negotiate any final changes to the budget. Then, by June 15, the budget is passed by the Legislature and sent to the Governor to be signed. The Governor has the final say on the budget and can either reduce, or completely line item veto, appropriations in the budget.




Advocacy in Practice with Judge Consuelo Callahan

Associate Dean for Experiential Learning Mary-Beth Moylan recently sat down with Judge Consuelo Callahan from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

They discussed Callahan’s path to the bench starting from her career right out of law school; her judicial life on the Court of Appeals; and advice, insights, and observations for attorneys appearing before her in the Ninth Circuit.

One thing in particular that stands out is Judge Callahan’s advice to attorneys – especially those working with Court of Appeals justices. She said “The point [of oral argument in the Appellate Court] is addressing the court’s concern and being really targeted and approaching the case thinking what would a judge want to hear? What opinion is the judge going to write in this and how can I assist the court?”

She emphasized the importance of answering the exact question a judge asks in order to help direct the conversation in a way that you want to argue. This way, you can address what the court finds important in their decision-making process.

Another important point that Callahan made was about preparing for court, setting high standards early on, and establishing good work habits. She put it a little more bluntly than that, saying:

we will do our jobs regardless of whether you do your job.”

Callahan also pointed out some resources to help attorneys make the best arguments and be prepared for their time in the Court of Appeals. The Appellate Reps for the Ninth Circuit host a mentorship program, where attorneys are assigned someone that is a specialist in the area of law.

Judge Callahan gave some amazing insight in her interview that would intrigue anyone in the legal field – attorneys and judges alike. You’ll have to listen to the rest of the podcast for all of her advice.

We hope you enjoy listening to the conversation with Judge Consuelo Callahan. Be sure to tune in next time!