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Legal Opinions of the Attorney General - Monthly Opinion Report

The Attorney General’s Opinion Unit is responsible for researching and drafting the formal opinions of the Attorney General. This Monthly Opinion Report lists all of the questions that are currently under consideration for formal opinions.

If you would like to give us your input on any of these questions, the Opinion Unit would be delighted to hear from you. Please follow the instructions under How to Submit Views on Assigned Opinion Requests in the right side bar menu.

By law, the Attorney General is authorized to issue formal opinions only to certain public officials. Please see our FAQs page for more information about who may request an opinion, and how to request an opinion.

An embedded link is provided for viewing the published opinions. Please use Search for Opinions to look for more opinions.

Opinion Requests Assigned in October 2014

Opinion No. Question Requested by Assigned To

Must licensed subcontractors "pre-qualify" for school district projects under Public Contracts Code section 20111.6?

Assemblymember Allan R. Mansoor Medeiros

Assigned Opinion Requests Pending

Opinion No. Question Assigned To

May a county collect unpaid property taxes where, due to an error in the tax collection software, property owners who owe such taxes have not been notified of a delinquency, and, if so, how?


Is a California charter school and its board or directors subject to the Ralph M. Brown Act; the California Public Records Act; the Political Reform Act of 1974; Government Code section 1090; or the review and inspection of books and records, by a Grand Jury formed pursuant to Penal Code section 888?


Can the authority of the court impose a probation condition on DUI defendants to make a specified payment to the DUIRR Program?


Under the Emergency Medical Services Act, when are cities and counties required to enter into written agreements regarding local provision of emergency medical services? Does entering into such an agreement necessarily extinguish any pre-existing rights of obligations of a city? (Health and Safety Code section 1797.201.)


To facilitate compliance with Brady v. Maryland, may the California Highway Patrol lawfully release to the district attorney’s office the names of officers who have sustained complaints of dishonesty or moral turpitude conduct, with no information other than the officer’s name and date of earliest conduct, so that the district attorney may bring a Pitchess/Brady motion for in camera review of the officers’ personnel files? Does Penal Code section 832.7, subdivision (a), authorize the district attorney to routinely review the personnel files of peace officers who will be prosecution witnesses?


May a contract city attorney also act as "bond counsel" for the same city for which he or she is paid, based on a percentage of the bond issues, without violating Government Code section 1090?


May a former local agency employee serve on that same public agency's elected Board of Directors while still being carried on that agency's employee payroll solely for purposes of utilizing unused vacation leave remaining from his/her time as an active employee?


Are the uniform standards developed by the Substance Abuse Coordination Committee for use by healing arts boards in dealing with their substance-abusing licensees valid, enforceable, and mandatory?


In connection with a school or community college bond measure, does a district violate state law by contracting with a bond underwriter for both pre-election campaign services and post-election underwriting services?


Does Proposition 26 require that prior to a County Board of Supervisors enacting an ordinance requiring a cable television company to pay to the County a PEG (public, educational, and governmental access) fee equal to one percent (1%) of the gross revenues under the Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act ("DIVCA"), the voters must first approve the imposition of such a fee?


Are reverse cellular phone kiosks "secondhand dealers" within the meaning of Business and Professions Code section 21626?


Does Government Code section 1090 prohibit a city agency from utilizing the services of a public relations firm that occasionally retains the services of a city council member for its non-city clients?


Does state law preempt a local ordinance that would require dentists in that jurisdiction to provide their patients with a Dental Materials Fact Sheet and Statement of Rights before performing specified procedures?


May a county clerk charge the district attorney's office for certified court records?


Are medical assistants legally permitted to perform basic pulmonary function testing, such as spirometry?


May health care professionals offer online discounts for their services through a third-party internet marketer?


May non-attorneys represent parties before the Office of Administrative Hearings?


May the "premium" generated from a school district bond sale be used to pay for expenses of issuance and other transaction costs?


May an attorney who sits on a city council represent clients with interests adverse to that city?


Under the Brown Act open meetings law, may a community college board of trustees meet in closed session to discuss and negotiate the terms of a project labor agreement?


Under state law, may local authorities restrict parking on public streets to those persons issued residential parking permits?


May an automated photographic enforcement system (AES) be used to detect and enforce violations of the anti-gridlock law (Veh. Code section 22526) at intersections where an AES is otherwise authorized?


What is the scope of intergovernmental immunity (Gov. Code sections 53090-53091) where a city owns and leases real property in an unincorporated area of a county?


May the same person serve as Inyo County Assessor and Bishop City Council member?


Are the City of Fortuna's dog licensing ordinances authorized under state law?


If a school superintendent's employment contract allows the superintendent to receive cash in lieu of medical benefits, may the school board members receive an equivalent sum in a whole life insurance policy in lieu of medical benefits?


Must licensed subcontractors "pre-qualify" for school district projects under Public Contracts Code section 20111.6?


Conclusions of Opinions Issued in October 2014

Opinion No. Conclusion Published

1. After a criminal defendant has completed probation, the court must first allocate any funds that it receives from the defendant for the payment of statutory fines and fees imposed in the underlying criminal case toward the payment of any unsatisfied victim restitution order in the same case.

2. While crime victims have various remedies for collecting on unpaid restitution orders after a criminal defendant has completed probation, courts currently lack the authority—post-probation—to directly collect unpaid restitution amounts from the defendant on the victim’s behalf.


Whether the offices of director of the Hornbrook Fire Protection District and director of the Hornbrook Community Services District are incompatible, such that Kimberly R. Olson and Roger J. Gifford are precluded from simultaneously holding both offices, presents substantial questions of fact and law warranting judicial resolution. Accordingly, the application for leave to sue is GRANTED.


Health and Safety Code section 34179, subdivision (c), prohibits an appointing authority from compensating or reimbursing expenses of a person whom it appoints to an oversight board for his or her service on that board.


1. A trustee of a community college district board may participate in collective bargaining between the district and the bargaining unit that represents his professor-spouse, provided that the spouse attained that position more than a year before the board member took office, and that the collective bargaining agreement does not result in new or different employment for the spouse.

2. A trustee of a community college district board who receives retirement health benefits equal to benefits the district provides to current employees may not participate in the process of renegotiating health benefits provided to current employees.


Except in instances of actual necessity—which are not apparent here—Government Code section 1090 prohibits a city from purchasing products or ordering services from a glass business in which a city council member has a 50 percent ownership interest, even if the council member disqualifies herself from any influence or participation in the purchasing or ordering decision.


1. After the passage of Assembly Bill No. 1X 26, the conflict-of-interest provisions set forth in Health and Safety Code sections 33130 and 33130.5 are still in effect and applicable to members of the governing bodies of successor agencies.

2. In accord with Health and Safety Code sections 33130 and 33130.5:

(a) Unless a statutory exception applies, Health and Safety Code section 33130 prohibits a member of a city council and the governing body of the city’s successor agency from acquiring real property in the redevelopment project area, even if he or she discloses the interest and disqualifies himself or herself from participating in decisions concerning the project area.

(b) The council member described above may acquire real property in the project area pursuant to the exceptions set forth in Health and Safety Code sections 33130 and 33130.5, subject to any restrictions and limitations construed to be included in those statutes.

(c) The council member described above may resign from the successor agency without resigning from the city council, but such a resignation would not cure any past violations of Health and Safety Code section 33130.



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How to Submit Views on Assigned Opinion Requests

The Attorney General welcomes and solicits the views of all interested persons concerning the legal issues raised in any question submitted for an opinion. Views should be in writing and directed to the deputy assigned to prepare the opinion. All views submitted before publication will be considered, but early submissions are greatly preferred. All submissions will be treated as public records subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act.

To submit your written comment, contact the deputy attorney general whose name appears next to the item of interest in the list of pending opinion requests appearing on this web page:

Deputy Attorney General
455 Golden Gate Avenue, Suite 11000
San Francisco, CA 94102

Deputy Attorney General
300 S. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Deputy Attorney General
455 Golden Gate Avenue, Suite 11000
San Francisco, CA 94102-7004

Supervising Deputy Attorney General
455 Golden Gate Avenue, Suite 11000
San Francisco, CA 94102

Deputy Attorney General (Ret. Annt.)
1300 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Deputy Attorney General
300 S. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Deputy Attorney General (Ret. Annt.)
1300 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Deputy Attorney General
455 Golden Gate Avenue, Suite 11000
San Francisco, CA 94102

How to Submit a Question of Law for AG Consideration

The Attorney General is authorized to give opinions on questions of law to state legislators, heads of state departments, district attorneys, county counsels, sheriffs, and to city attorneys in their prosecutorial capacities. For more information about requesting an opinion, please see our FAQs and the Guidelines for AG Opinions.pdf a downloadable resource provided for users' reference.

To submit a request, or to ask questions about how to submit a request, please contact:

  • Susan Duncan Lee
  • Supervising Deputy Attorney General
  • Office of the Attorney General
  • Opinion Unit, Dept. of Justice
  • 455 Golden Gate Ave., Suite 11000
  • San Francisco, CA 94102

  • Susan.Lee@doj.ca.gov

How to Request a Copy of an Existing Opinion

A copy of a published opinion may be obtained by contacting the Opinion Unit:

  • Office of the Attorney General
  • Opinion Unit, Dept. of Justice
  • Attn. Stephanie Grimes
  • P. O. Box 944255
  • Sacramento, CA 94244-2550

  • Stephanie.Grimes@doj.ca.gov

  • Printed hardbound volumes of Opinions of the Attorney General of California are published by Lexis Publishing and may be read in public libraries. Opinions are also available online through Lexis dating back to 1960.

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