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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 December 2016

No opinion requests were assigned for this period.

Assigned Opinion Requests Pending

Opinion No. Question Assigned To

Is a California charter school and its board of directors subject to: a) the Ralph M. Brown Act; or b) the California Public Records Act; or c) the Political Reform Act of 1974; or d) Government Code section 1090; or e) the review and inspection of books and records, by a Grand Jury formed pursuant to Penal Code section 888? (Most notably, the Grand Jury whose function it is to investigate and inquire into county functions of civil concern, see also, Penal Code section 933.6)


May a court impose a probation condition on a DUI defendant to make a specified payment to the DUIRR Program?


May a former local agency employee serve on that 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?


May non-attorneys represent parties in (1) administrative proceedings conducted before the Office of Administrative Hearings, or (2) "due process hearings" conducted under the Education Code?


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?


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 Prison Industry Authority deposit funds in a commercial bank account not subject to immediate access or control by other state agencies?


Is the time for filing the report required under Business and Professions Code section 805 tolled when a healing arts "licentiate" requests a hearing on the action that triggered the filing requirement?


Request for advice on the jurisdictional authority of a local housing authority and an out-of-state housing authority under state law.


May a local jurisdiction require a subdivision applicant to eliminate the designation of a remainder parcel on a tentative parcel map, or require an applicant to provide additional analysis of a remainder parcel that has already been approved for development?


May a water district provide retirement contributions to members of its governing board without violating statutory compensation limits?


Under Proposition 26, may a "new fee" fund an "old service" of reporting pawn and secondhand dealer licensee information?


Must specified prior offenders receive a formal pardon from the Governor in order to obtain a "Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon" and qualify for a classified employment position at a school or community college district?


Does Voter Participation Rights Act apply to charter cities and school districts?


Quo warranto matter: Does Elections Code section 10515(a) require a county Board of Supervisors to appoint water district directors under circumstances where incompatible office holding would result?


May a fire protection district chief enforce regulations of the State Fire Marshal?


Is there a public right of access to the levees along the Sacramento River?


Conclusions of Opinions Issued in December 2016

Opinion No. Conclusion Published

The California Department of Transportation (1) must pay fees to cover Mono County’s costs for inspecting, and preparing a report on, the Department’s surface mining operations as required by the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act, but (2) is exempt from paying fees for the other duties Mono County is required to perform under the Act.


1. When the office of county sheriff becomes vacant because of the sheriff’s death, the next election to fill the office of sheriff must coincide with the next state gubernatorial election. The board of supervisors may not call a special election to fill the office before that time.

2. When the office of county sheriff becomes vacant because of the sheriff’s death, the county board of supervisors must, within a reasonable time, appoint a person to fill out the remainder of the incumbent sheriff’s term. The board may not, through inaction, allow the person temporarily performing the sheriff’s duties under Government Code section 24105 to continue performing those duties for a protracted period.

3. When a county board of supervisors appoints someone to fill a vacancy in the office of county sheriff, the appointee must meet all the qualifications of the elected position, including county residency. The board does not have the authority to waive those requirements.



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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:

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

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

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

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

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

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
  • Senior Assistant 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 (1943 to present) are available for purchase by contacting Lexis Publishing online store at www.lexisnexis.com/store/us/. Electronic based opinions dating back to 1960 are also available in the Lexis online database. Additionally, hardbound volumes are also an available reference in public law libraries.

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