Today’s post is on AB 1804, which creates a new CEQA exemption for housing projects.

The new law provides a statutory exception from California’s Environmental Quality Act – CEQA – for infill development, residential and mixed‑use housing projects that occur within an unincorporated area of a county.

Essentially, CEQA requires a lead agency to prepare or cause to be prepared and certify a completion of an environment impact report on a project that it proposes to carry out or approve that may have a significant effect on the environment, or to adopt a negative declaration if it finds that the project will not have that effect.

Assembly Bill 1804 exempts from CEQA, only until January 1, 2025, residential or mixed‑use housing projects that are located in unincorporated areas of a county meeting certain requirements. The lead agency must file a Notice of Exemption with the Office of Planning and Research and the county clerk in the county in which that project is located.

Now, there are a number of different requirements for that residential or mixed‑use housing project to meet. The new CEQA exception only applies if all of these conditions that are described in this new code section are met. Once all those provisions are met, then the CEQA exemption applies.

You’ll have to take a look at Section 21159.25 of California’s Public Resources Code to read all of the different conditions that must be met.

You can find a transcript of today’s podcast here.

 

 

 

Today’s post is on AB 1531, which provides for new rules for the payment of court fees.

This bill establishes specified rules regarding the payment of court fees when using an electronic filing service provider.

Essentially, the bill requires, if a duplicate payment is made to a court by a party or an electronic service provided by either credit card or other electronic means for things like court filing fees, then the court must issue any appropriate refund to the entity that made the most recent payment.

In addition, the new law allows an electronic filing service provider to notify the court clerk that fees remain unpaid, despite notice to the attorney of record, which would thereby allow the clerk to notify the attorney of record that he or she may be sanctioned by the court for nonpayment of those fees.

AB 1531 essentially adopts a last‑in, first‑out refund approach, which many courts around the state already utilize to address duplicate payment issues. In addition, AB 1531 is intended to make it easier for service providers to collect money owed to them that was not paid by attorneys of record who filed court documents through them by allowing the courts to sanction those attorneys of record.

You can find a transcript of today’s podcast here.

AB 1565 (transcript)

Today’s post is on AB 1565 from the 2018 legislative session, which concerns a new labor‑related liability rule for direct contractors.

Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1565 by (then) state Assemblyman Tony Thurmond on September 19th as Chapter 528. As an urgency‑clause measure, the bill took effect on chaptering, which was September the 19th. It amends Labor Code Section 218.7 and creates a new labor‑related liability rule for direct contractors.

AB 1565 provides that for any contract entered into on or after 01/01/19, in order to withhold dispute payments, the direct contractor must specify in its contract with the subcontractor the specific documents and information that the direct contractor will require that the subcontractor must provide upon request.

Also, AB 1565 says that subcontractors may include the same requirements in their contracts with lower‑tiered subcontractors, and they, too, may withhold, as disputed, all sums owed.

The new law also declares that it must go into effect immediately due to the need to resolve the confusion created by existing language at the earliest possible time.

AB 1565 repeals the provisions that state that obligations and remedies are in addition to existing obligations and remedies provided by a law except that the provisions are not to be construed to impose liability on a direct contractor for anything other than unpaid wages and fringe or other benefit payments or contributions, including interest owed.

This repeal is of Subdivision H, contained in Section 218.7 of the Labor Code.

SB 826 (transcript)

Today’s post is on Senate Bill 826 from the 2018 legislative session concerning California’s new mandate on women on publicly traded corporate boards.

Governor Brown signed SB 826 by State Senator Hannah Beth Jackson on September 30th. It was Chapter 954. It adds two new sections to California’s Corporations Code.

Essentially the new law requires every publicly held corporation whose principal executive offices are located in the state of California to have a specified minimum number of women on its board of directors.

It also requires the California Secretary of State to review and issue reports regarding corporate compliance with the bill’s provisions and authorizes the Secretary of State to impose fines for any violations of that bill.

The Legislature did make some modifications to the bill before they sent it down to the Governor for final action, including the addition of a fine for failure to timely file board member information with the Secretary of State. They modified the dollar amounts of the fines imposed for both the first and subsequent violations of the law.

What the bill essentially states is that no later than March 1, 2020 and annually thereafter, the Secretary of State will publish a report on its website that contains specified information. Again, it authorizes the Secretary of State to impose fines for violations of the bill.

These fines are quite substantial. For failure to timely file board member information the first violation is $100,000. For a second or subsequent violation, the amount goes up to $300,000 per violation.

Section One of the bill, which represents most of the bill’s contents, sets forth numerous legislative findings and decorations. In Section Two of the bill, it adds Section 301.3 to the Corporations Code, which we’ll cover in a moment.

Then it also adds Section 211.5.5 to the Corporations Code that essentially sets forth the requirements that will cover apply to a foreign corporation ‑‑ that is a publicly held corporation ‑‑ to the exclusion of the law, the jurisdiction in which that foreign corporation is incorporated.

What this new section of the Corporations Code says is that no later than the close of the 2019 calendar year, every domestic general corporation or foreign corporation that is publicly held, and whose principle executive office according to the corporation’s SEC 10K form is located in California, must have a minimum of one female on its board of directors.

Thereafter, the bill specifies that no later than the end of the 2021 calendar year, the required minimum number must be two female directors if the corporation has five directors or three female directors if the corporation has six or more directors.

This bill has gotten a lot of press attention and numerous legal scholars have questioned its constitutionality. We’ll have to wait and see once it’s implemented at the end of 2019 whether or not a publicly traded corporation undoubtedly incorporated out of state challenges this new statute.