By: Katie Young

The 2017 California wildfires were some of the largest and most destructive on record. The Tubbs fire in Sonoma burned 5,643 structures and was responsible for twenty–two deaths. The Thomas fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties burned 281,893 acres and was the largest in California’s history until this summer’s Mendocino Complex fires overtook it at 459,102 acres. This destruction is occurring despite California’s investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in fire suppression over the last five years.

Assembly Members Jim Wood (D – Healdsberg) and Jim Patterson (R – Fresno) proposed AB 2551 as a response to these fires. The bill addresses one of underlying problems leading to California’s wildfire epidemic – forest health. Scientists and policy makers are realizing that the policy of the total suppression of fire in California has contributed to the conditions necessary for the recent trend of huge catastrophic wildfires. California forests burn regularly as part of the ecosystem’s natural function. The suppression of natural wildfire and other poor forest management decisions has led to densely packed forests with unhealthy trees that are less resilient to drought, climate change, pests, and fire.

In its original form, the bill served the dual purpose of promoting more “prescribed fire” through cooperative agreements between CalFire and private landowners and by creating a new Forest and Wildland Health Improvement and Fire Prevention Program. The latter program was intended to promote forest and wildland health, restoration, and resilience as well as improve fire outcomes, prevention, and preparedness throughout the state.  The latest amended version of the bill eliminated the program focused on forest health, likely due to budget concerns, and AB 2551 now focuses solely on making it slightly easier for landowners to work with CalFire to bring low intensity fire back on to their land, and hopefully reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires in the future.

AB 2551 is supported by a variety of groups including: environmental organizations such as the Nature Conservancy and Defenders of Wildlife, land trusts and conservation districts, state parks, local business interests, and insurance organizations. There are no groups opposing this bill.

AB 2551 has been enrolled and was presented to the Governor on September 10th, 2018.

To learn more about SB 822, listen to my interview on “In Session,” a podcast from the University of the Pacific Law Review.

Katie Young is a staff writer for the University of the Pacific Law Review and law student student at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

By: Molly Alcorn

Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old African American man, was in his grandparent’s backyard late one night when Sacramento police officers shot and killed him. National news screamed about police brutality. Protests against police flooded the streets and the internet.

AB 931 was an attempt to combat the rise of deadly police shootings in California. Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) introduced AB 931 in order to raise the standard for deadly force when used by peace officers. However, as it moved through the California Legislature, more and more pieces of the bill were left behind.

AB 931 was notable in a few ways.

First, AB 931 would have changed California law so that “Homicide is justifiable when committed by public officers and those acting by their command in their aid and assistance . . . when necessary given the totality of the circumstances . . . unless committed by a public officer whose gross negligence substantially contributed to making it necessary.”

AB 931 would have additionally amended the California Penal Code to, “Notwithstanding any other law, a peace officer may use deadly force only when such force is necessary to prevent imminent and serious bodily injury or death to the officer or to a third party.”

The legislation defined “Necessary” as “given the totality of the circumstances, a reasonable peace officer would conclude that there was no reasonable alternative to the use of deadly force that would prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury to the peace officer or to a third party.”

This is where the opposition began. AB 931 prohibited officers from using deadly force if the officers were at fault for creating the need to use force. Basically, if an officer provoked someone and then had to use deadly force to stop them, the officer would be liable. This provision was similar to the “provocation rule” from City of Los Angeles, California v. Mendez, a previous California court decision. However, this provision conflicted with the Supreme Court’s finding that liability could not be placed on officers involved in deadly shootings if they were reckless or provoked the need to use deadly force. The provision was removed.

Additionally, AB 931 stated that officers could still be liable for using deadly force if they failed to meet the reasonable standard under the Penal Code § 196. This meant that if an officer acted in a way that was incompatible with proper regard to human life or where a reasonable officer would have foreseen that their conduct would create a likelihood for death or serious bodily harm, they could be held liable. Officers and interested parties protested this, citing that the Supreme Court held in Graham v. Connor that hindsight could not be used to establish liability. The provision was removed.

Additional amendments were made due to arguments over the impact of AB 931. Proponents, such as Professor Seth Stoughton, civil rights groups, and members within the legislature, argued that the bill would not harm officers following the law and would benefit the public. Opponents, such as police interest groups, argued that AB 931 would adversely affect peace officers and their training and liability.

Amendments aside, AB 931 was held in committee in the Senate effectively killing the legislation. Thus, the standard of care for police officers remains unchanged since enacted in 1872.

To learn more about SB 822, listen to my interview on “In Session,” a podcast from the University of the Pacific Law Review.

Molly Alcorn is a staff writer for the University of the Pacific Law Review and law student student at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

By: Camille Reid

Should the internet be open? This question is on the minds of many internet users, startups, and internet service providers (ISPs), like Verizon or AT&T. Those individuals who believe the internet is meant to be open are termed net neutrality supporters. Net neutrality refers to the concept that the internet should be equal to all who access it, and not controlled by ISPs who can slow down, speed up, or otherwise disturb user access.

Consumers and small startups demand net neutrality because of the potential for an ISPs potential to favor its own applications over others it does not own. This and other concerns over the open internet mounted after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” in 2017. The order created a much less regulated Internet by classifying it as an information service. The FCC reasoned that classifying the internet in this way will result in better investment and competition that benefits the consumer. The order rolls back Obama-era net neutrality regulations that many internet users and small companies came to rely on. In response to the FCC’s annihilation of those net neutrality protections, many states responded with lawsuits and legislation. California’s response to the FCC’s order comes in the form of Senate Bill 822 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). Senator Wiener introduced the bill to ensure that all customers have access to the open internet.

SB 822 attempts to restore the regulations contained in the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order. In keeping with that ideal, this legislation prohibits ISPs from blocking, speeding up or slowing down websites and applications. The bill also requires ISPs to engage in disclosure of its performance and management practices. One part of SB 822 that goes further than the FCC’s 2015 order are the provisions prohibiting zero-rating.

“Zero-rating” is a provider activity where the ISP excludes a majority of websites from a consumer’s usage allowances, while allowing other applications to squeak by without affecting a user’s data caps. For example, T-Mobile allows its user to stream unlimited video and audio from select services like Netflix, and AT&T gives its users the opportunity to access DirectTV for free. T-Mobile and AT&T could then slow down the stream from Netflix or another competing streaming service, thereby giving preferential treatment to its networks. This legislation would disallow ISPs from such obvious favoritism. Most importantly, SB 822 authorizes sanctions and penalties against an ISP for violations, and it also provides the California Public Utilities Commission authority to oversee the quality of internet service that ISPs offer consumers.

Supporters for SB 822 include more than 200 organizations ranging from websites – like Reddit – to business groups – like the California Association of Realtors – to public safety organizations – like CalFire. These organizations argue that SB 822, and protecting net neutrality, is extremely necessary based on the egregious network discrimination done by ISPs. Recently, Verizon slowed internet connections while firefighters battled the Mendocino Complex Fires. Firefighters said that because they were unable to access items like weather forecasts, lives were jeopardized. Supporters of SB 822 focus on its goal to ensure that each Californian is able to connect, invent, and participate online no matter the amount of money they have or where they live.

Opposition to SB 822 hinges on the notion that Senator Wiener’s net neutrality legislation would throttle investment in parts of California and that it is preempted by the FCC’s 2017 order. Those in the camp opposing SB 822 – which includes members of California’s business community, cell phone companies, ISPs, and organizations like the California State Conference of the NAACP and California League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) – argue that ISPs have a specific budget, and any additional regulations brought on by this bill would stop advancement by stifling investment. Opponents also reference preemption as a blockade to SB 822 and rest their rationale on the preemption clause found in the FCC’s 2017 order, which stops states from regulating the internet if it conflicts with the FCC’s objectives.

Despite strenuous opposition and legal issues, SB 822 continues to move forward, having passed both houses of the California Legislature last week. The bill is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature. Senator Wiener’s enthusiasm and belief in the bill is unwavering: “[w]e are moving closer and closer to enacting the strongest net neutrality protections in the nation. Much work remains… but we have momentum.”

To learn more about SB 822, listen to my interview on “In Session,” a podcast from the University of the Pacific Law Review.

Camille Reid is a staff writer for the University of the Pacific Law Review and law student student at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

On today’s podcast, McGeorge Capital Lawyering adjunct professor Chris Micheli breaks down the different vote requirements different types of legislation have to clear, and there’s more than just the majority and 2/3 requirements most folks know about. Chris also goes over the different kinds of legislative publications. And to wrap up today’s show, we talk with Kim Barnes – the Chief Legislation Editor for University of the Pacific Law Review’s Greensheets Edition and host of the podcast In Session – to talk about what to expect from the second season of In Session.

If you aren’t subscribing to In Session already, you can find it on Apple Podcasts and you will start seeing new episodes every week starting on Tuesday, September 4. You can also follow University of the Pacific Law Review on Facebook and Twitter.

As always, if you enjoyed today’s episode, please take the time to leave us a five-star rating on iTunes or Apple Podcasts and subscribe to our show wherever you listen to podcasts. All of that helps other people find the show.

You can stay in touch with us and let us know what you think about the show on Facebook and Twitter. Just like CAP impact on Facebook or follow @CAPimpactCA on Twitter.

And last but not least, you can learn more about the Capital Center for Law and Policy at McGeorge School of Law here.

By: Tyler Wood

The Greensheets issue of The University of the Pacific Law Review (UPLR) is a time honored tradition at McGeorge School of Law. It traces its history back to 1969, when Volume 1 critiqued legislation signed into law by Governor Ronald Reagan. We’re now on Volume 48. Greensheets is more than just the most popular Law Review issue of the year, but it’s also one the most widely read issues of any law review in the country by state legislators, judges, and lobbyists.

So what is Greensheets, exactly? Authoring the Introduction to UPLR’s first volume (then known as the Pacific Law Journal), Earl Warren, then Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court and former Governor of California captured the enduring vision that still guides our work today, saying in part:

“Without detailed information on the legislative history of a given bill, the courts, of necessity, are left to their own resources to determine the rationale underlying a particular statute. It is such information, together with a critical analysis of newly enacted legislation, which the Pacific Law Journal intends to provide. For that reason, I believe it to be a welcome addition to the field of jurisprudence, and I extend to the staff of the Journal my best wishes for a successful endeavor.”

Today on the podcast, I recap the bills In Session covered this year and provide updates on whether each bill ultimately became law. Thank you so much for following these blog posts and listening to our podcast this season. Stay tuned next fall to hear a new host talk about a new group of bills with a new group of staff-writers. And make sure to check out all of our episodes from Season 1. The bills we looked at this year were:

Episode 1: SB 258 – Cleaning Product Labeling

Episode 2: AB 954 – Food Labeling

Episodes 3 & 4: SB 10 – Bail

Episode 5: AB 1008 – Employment Discrimination

Episode 6: Nevada AB 391 – Bestiality

Episode 7: AB 1528 – Cannabis

Episode 8: AB 1227 – Human Trafficking

Episode 9: SB 33 – Arbitration Clauses

Episode 10: SB 54 – Sanctuary State

Tyler Wood is the Chief Legislation Editor for the University of the Pacific Law Review and law student student at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

By: Dylan de Wit

California currently faces a major public education crisis. Similar to the housing crisis, California’s teacher supply has failed to meet demand, resulting in severe teacher shortages throughout the state. Seventy-five percent of school districts are understaffed, particularly with regard to fully-credentialed teachers. Compounding this problem is California’s affordable housing crisis. Housing supply has stagnated, rental prices have skyrocketed, and many Californians have been priced out of their homes and cities. These two crises seemed to intersect in late 2016, when the San Francisco Chronicle reported Etoria Cheeks, a local math teacher, fell into homelessness after being priced out of affordable housing in the city. Many viewed Ms. Cheeks’ story as a part of a larger problem, and began calling for action to better secure affordable housing for the state’s teachers.

Accordingly, Assembly Member Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) authored AB 45, which sought to create a development grant program for school districts to offer district-owned affordable rental housing to teachers. The program was framed not as an affordable housing project, however, but a recruitment and retention tool for school districts struggling to staff highly-qualified teachers. Under the program, school districts partnering with developers could secure pre-development funding and development loans to build on-site housing. The goal was to establish affordable rental options, incentivizing new highly-qualified teachers to work in districts they would otherwise avoid due to high rental costs.

AB 45 laid out specific criteria for school districts vying for development funding. Namely, prospective districts had to be in high-rent, hard-to-staff regions. Further, districts needed to have high rates of teachers employed under “emergency credentials,” teachers instructing courses outside their competency, and students on free and reduced lunch program. The bill also sets out development criteria for developers partnering with school districts. For instance, projects must be near public transportation, and must be subject to a project labor agreement (PLA).

Although AB 45 represented a creative approach by the state to staff school districts with high-quality teachers, several provisions suggest its effect may have been minimal. First, the program would have started at $25 million, which was likely enough for only a few projects. Further, AB 45’s PLA provision seemed misplaced given their tendency of PLA’s raise costs on development. Additionally, the program’s criteria suggested it would predominantly benefit urban areas over rural, even though California’s teacher shortage affects both urban and rural school districts equally.

AB 45 passed in September. Governor Brown vetoed the bill, however, citing existing legislation that served a similar purpose.  It should also be noted that because AB 45 did not make building housing easier for California developers, Governor Brown was  not likely to support the bill from the start.

Nonetheless, similar developments and programs showed significant success in attracting teachers, with most developments being either completely full or waitlisted. This suggests that AB 45 may have been effective for at least a few districts that met the restrictive criteria, and could afford the projects given the program’s limited funds. With some adjustment and perhaps additional funding, a program similar to AB 45 may eventually prove a valuable tool for school districts looking to recruit and retain highly-qualified teachers.

Dylan de Wit is a staff writer for the University of the Pacific Law Review and law student student at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

By: Megan McCauley

SB 54, which has been referred to as the “highest-profile act of defiance to Trump’s nascent presidency,” is indicative of the many ways in which opposition parties have declared war against President Trump’s immigration policies. It is a targeted response to the overlap between federal immigration enforcement and state and local law enforcement. SB 54, also known as the California Values Act, was introduced by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León in an attempt to build a “wall of justice” that would “protect the safety, well-being, and constitutional rights of the people of California, and … direct the state’s limited resources to matters of greatest concern to state and local governments.”

SB 54 prohibits California law enforcement agencies (LEAs) from using agency resources, including money and personnel, to “investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes.” State and local LEAs may not, for example, inquire into a person’s immigration status, detain an individual based on an ICE hold request, arrest individuals based on civil immigration warrants, or perform the functions of an immigration officer. Furthermore, SB 54 creates “safe zones” by requiring all public schools, public libraries, state-operated health facilities, courthouses, and shelters to adopt policies that limit collaboration with immigration enforcement “to the fullest extent possible.” By creating these “safe zones,” SB 54 guarantees immigrants the ability to access these vital services without having to fear deportation.

Several important considerations surround the adoption of SB 54, including: whether the bill will be enough to strengthen the relationship between immigrant communities and local law enforcement, and how it will shift local and state resources away from immigration enforcement and towards protecting communities. SB 54 also invites preemption issues along with state sovereignty and Tenth Amendment concerns. Finally, SB 54 may have a significant fiscal impact in light of federal threats to withhold funding from sanctuary jurisdictions because California expects to receive $105 billion from the federal government next year.

Proponents of SB 54 emphasize that the new law will help protect the safety of all Californians by building trust in the community. They emphasize that sanctuary cities usually correlate with lower crime rates. In support of that position, the Center for American Progress reported that there are 33.5 fewer crimes committed per 10,000 people in sanctuary counties compared to non-sanctuary counties. In response to concerns over preemption, supporters emphasize that SB 54 is merely an exercise of state sovereignty and falls squarely within the state’s police power.

On the other hand, opponents argue that the law might actually make the situation more dangerous because it will force ICE onto the streets. While the likelihood of this consequence was mitigated by last-minute amendments that eliminated serious restrictions on ICE’s ability to access prisons and jails, SB 54 will likely result in an uptick of ICE raids because of the new hurdles to collaborating with state and local law enforcement.

SB 54 was signed into law by the Governor on October 5, 2017.

To learn more about SB 54, listen to my interview on “In Session,” a podcast from the University of the Pacific Law Review.

Megan McCauley is a staff writer for the University of the Pacific Law Review and law student student at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

By: Kim Barnes

After managing to keep its scam under wraps for at least a decade, it came to light that Wells Fargo was ripping off its customers by opening fake accounts in their name and charging them for the fees associated with those accounts. It was all part of a culture of overworking bank employees and pressuring them to meet unrealistic sales goals in an effort to increase Wells Fargo’s stock value. Making matters worse, when defrauded customers tried suing the bank, Wells Fargo would block their access to the courts by enforcing the arbitration clause that many of the customers had agreed to when first opening a bank account. By enforcing these clauses, Wells Fargo could funnel all complaints regarding its deceptive practices into private arbitration, where it would never have to answer to either a judge or a jury.

Arbitration clauses are increasingly universal—nestled in every kind of consumer contract you could imagine—ranging from nursing home contracts to student loan agreements. These clauses, which don’t need to say too much more than “I agree to arbitrate any dispute that arises between me and the corporation,” have quickly become ubiquitous as the corporate “get out of jail free card.”

This is not because arbitration is a slam dunk, per se, for a company like Wells Fargo when up against an individual customer. Arguably, however, the disparity in bargaining power between parties to a dispute has a more material effect on the outcome in arbitration than in traditional litigation. This is understandable. Traditional litigation can be far lengthier and costlier than arbitrating the same dispute; corporations that settle their claims in arbitration likely benefit from a repeat player advantage—that is, the benefit of being familiar with not only the process of arbitrating disputes, but also with individual arbitrators themselves. Statistically, this has made the arbitration process highly pro-corporate and has deterred many customers with small claims from bringing them in the first place.

Unfortunately, even when the dispute involves a corporation defrauding customers and stealing their identity, judges are almost always left with little choice but to enforce an arbitration clause if there is one. This is because over the past three decades, the federal law on arbitration—the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA)—has been interpreted so broadly by the Supreme Court that not only does the FAA now have broad preemptive authority over conflicting state laws, but judges are now instructed to “rigorously” enforce arbitration clauses, even if the underlying contract itself is potentially void. This interpretation allowed Wells Fargo to easily circumvent public courtroom scrutiny and opt for a more favorable, private arbitration tribunal.

SB 33 added one exception to the court’s general obligation to compel arbitration where there is one that covers the dispute. With the passage of the bill, a court can refuse to compel arbitration where the petitioner is a financial institution and the claim being brought involves fraud and identity theft by that financial institution.

This extremely narrow law was unsurprisingly attacked by the usual barrage of banks and chambers of commerce, which, to be fair, raised a valid criticism. SB 33, when viewed in light of the broad and highly criticized jurisprudence pertaining to arbitration, is susceptible to a preemption challenge. Indeed, the Supreme Court has found that the FAA preempts practically any state law that goes against the goals of arbitration, limits the validity of arbitration clauses, or treats arbitration clauses differently than any other provision in a contract. This is precisely what SB 33 does.

However, what is clear is that it will be difficult to argue that preventing defrauded Americans from going to court is good public policy. Whether the banks and public interest groups seek to challenge this law to the furthest extent is unclear; but if they do, with any hope the outcome will be a shift towards narrowing the FAA back to the law Congress intended almost 100 years ago. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend anyone hold their breath on that.

To learn more about SB 33, listen to my interview on “In Session,” a podcast from the University of the Pacific Law Review.

Kim Barnes is a staff writer for the University of the Pacific Law Review and law student student at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

By: Shelby Lundahl

Human trafficking is a $32 billion global industry that transverses national boundaries. It is a problem that exists in every state in the U.S., and California is one of the largest sites of human trafficking in the nation. That may be due to a number of factors, including California’s vast size, large population, and international border. In 2016 alone, there were 1,322 reported cases of human trafficking, which is a fraction of the true number of cases. Most cases go unreported due to fear of the trafficker, fear of law enforcement, or a sense of hopelessness. Even so, the number of reported cases of human trafficking has swung up and down over the past five years. Human trafficking is a widespread problem and difficult to recognize, prompting California lawmakers to introduce Assembly Bill 1227 earlier this year to attack the problem head-on.

AB 1227 seeks to spread awareness of human trafficking and implement prevention measures in local communities. It directly targets the segment of the population most vulnerable to being trafficked – children ages nine to eighteen. Assembly Members Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) and Evan Low (D-Campbell) introduced the legislation, which quickly gained full bipartisan support. AB 1227 makes human trafficking education and training mandatory in public middle schools and high schools in California.

The training has a three-fold approach. First, the education program aims to deliver comprehensive prevention education and training procedures on human trafficking. The information will allow teachers, administrators, and students to become aware and begin to develop an understanding of human trafficking. Second, it helps students recognize signs of human trafficking, which include force, fraud, and coercion. And finally, the education will help students avoid becoming victims themselves. Human traffickers use subtle and clever tactics to lure children in – such as using other young people to befriend these children, offering jobs that seem too good to be true, or pretending to be romantically interested in these children – making it critically important that students can recognize these tactics and extract themselves from the situation.

AB 1227 had widespread support from school districts, faith-based organizations, teachers, labor unions, and district attorneys’ offices across the state. Although there are no exact numbers, AB 1227 is expected to cost approximately $20,000 to develop the training curriculum and approximately $5 million to provide the training to the teachers and school district personnel across the state. Teachers will receive continuation training, as necessary, which ensures the information being presented to the students is up-to-date. Further, the different agencies and offices who encounter young children – such as: child welfare agencies, public health departments, sheriff’s departments, and juvenile courts – are encouraged to work together to develop intervention programs. Once the curriculum is developed and implemented, the number of potential reporters and people on the lookout for human trafficking will increase and hopefully lead to an end to this horrific form of modern-day slavery.

To learn more about AB 1227, listen to my interview on “In Session,” a podcast from the University of the Pacific Law Review.

Shelby Lundahl is a staff writer for the University of the Pacific Law Review and law student student at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

By: Trevor Wong

In 1996, Californians passed Prop 215 allowing qualified medical patients the right to cultivate and possess marijuana. In 2016, Californians passed Prop 64 allowing adults over the age of 21 to use marijuana recreationally. In the twenty intervening years, the Obama Administration gave California and other states assurances that if they developed a robust regulatory and enforcement system for medical or recreational adult use of marijuana, residents who complied with state laws and regulations would have a reasonable expectation that they would not be subject to harassment, arrest or incarceration by the federal government. Under those assurances, California’s marijuana industry flourished, growing into a multibillion-dollar industry. Security and continued growth, however, depends on whether the Trump Administration continues Obama era policies.

While campaigning, President Trump never made his stance on marijuana clear. At times, he said that marijuana legalization should be left to the states, while at other times, he claimed that Colorado’s legal marijuana industry was a “real problem.” When Trump appointed Jeff Sessions (a staunch anti-drug crusader) as Attorney General many saw it as a signal that the administration might eventually reverse the Obama-era policies and begin greater enforcement of federal marijuana laws in California and nationwide.

To mitigate the risk of such a policy reversal, Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) proposed AB 1578. The bill would have prohibited state and local law enforcement agencies from taking certain actions unless federal authorities first obtained a court order. Some of the actions prohibited without a court order include: using agency money, facilities, property, equipment, or personnel to assist a federal agency to investigate, detain, detect, report, obtain information, or arrest a person for cannabis activity that is authorized or allowed under California law.

The bill drew opposition from law enforcement organizations and a major local government group. Both were concerned that the bill, by needlessly preventing cooperation between federal and state officials, would place California in violation of federal law and would lead to inefficiencies not present under the current law. But those concerns may be overstated because AB 1578 would not have prevented all cooperation. On the contrary, cooperation would still be lawful whenever federal authorities obtained a court order. Moreover, under AB 1578, federal authorities would still be able to enforce federal drug laws related to marijuana in California themselves. They simply would not be able to use California resources to enforce those laws.

Another major concern was that federal law would preempt AB 1578. But because the federal government cannot force state and local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal law in the first place, it is likely that AB 1578 would have withstood a preemption challenge because it would merely have codified the already-existing right of state and local law enforcement agencies to not affirmatively assist the federal government in enforcing federal law.

Ultimately, AB 1578 did not pass. But that does not necessarily spell disaster for California’s marijuana economy. Because the federal government cannot force state and local law enforcement authorities to enforce federal law, even without this bill, local law enforcement is not obligated to assist federal authorities in enforcing federal marijuana law. So to the extent state and local law enforcement simply refuse to help federal authorities, the goal of this bill can be achieved, despite the fact the legislature did not pass the bill. In addition, although the Trump administration’s position on the issue is still unclear, for the time being, marijuana users in California do not have to worry about federal prosecution because the Obama-era policies are still in effect. Nonetheless, the risk that the Trump administration will reverse Obama-era policies remains, and California residents will remain in limbo until the Trump administration makes its intentions clear one way or the other.

To learn more about AB 1528, check out my interview on “In Session,” a podcast from the University of the Pacific Law Review.

Trevor Wong is a staff writer for the University of the Pacific Law Review and law student student at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.