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Legal Opinions of the Attorney General -
Yearly Index

Opinions published in 2016

Opinion Question Conclusion Published
14-1203 1. Where applicable, the Ralph M. Brown Act’s regular meeting online agenda-posting provision requires a local agency’s legislative body to post the meeting agenda on the local agency’s website at least 72 hours before the scheduled meeting. Is this provision violated whenever the local agency’s website experiences technical difficulties (for example, due to a power failure, cyber attack, or other third-party interference) that cause the agenda to become inaccessible to the public for a portion of the 72 hours that precede the scheduled meeting?

2. If technical difficulties prevent a local agency’s legislative body from posting the regular meeting agenda on the local agency’s website for a continuous 72-hour period before the scheduled regular meeting, but the legislative body has otherwise substantially complied with the Brown Act’s agenda-posting requirements, may the legislative body lawfully hold its regular meeting as scheduled?
1. The Ralph M. Brown Act’s regular meeting online agenda-posting provision is not necessarily violated whenever the local agency’s website experiences technical difficulties that cause the agenda to become inaccessible to the public for a portion of the 72 hours that precede the scheduled meeting.

2. If technical difficulties prevent a local agency’s legislative body from posting a regular meeting agenda on the local agency’s website for a continuous 72-hour period before the scheduled regular meeting, but the legislative body has otherwise substantially complied with the Brown Act’s agenda-posting requirements, the legislative body may lawfully hold its regular meeting as scheduled. Whether an agency has substantially complied in a given case would require an analysis of the particular circumstances to determine whether the Brown Act’s statutory objectives of ensuring open meetings and public awareness are satisfied.

Official Citation: 99 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 11
01/19/2016
14-901 If a school district’s employment contract with its superintendent provides an annual cash allowance in lieu of medical benefits that the superintendent would otherwise receive, may the district expend an equivalent annual sum for each school board member to purchase an individual whole life insurance policy in lieu of medical benefits that each board member would otherwise receive? Notwithstanding that a school district’s employment contract with its superintendent provides an annual cash allowance in lieu of medical benefits that the superintendent would otherwise receive, the district may not expend an equivalent annual sum for each school board member to purchase an individual whole life insurance policy in lieu of medical benefits that each board member would otherwise receive. 05/06/2016
14-304 1. Under Vehicle Code section 22507, may local authorities limit the issuance of long-term preferential parking permits to residents only?

2. In issuing long-term residential parking permits, may local authorities distinguish among residents based on the type of dwelling in which they live—for example, by only making permits available to those residents who occupy single-family dwellings or small (two-to-four-unit) multifamily dwellings, and excluding those residents who occupy larger multifamily dwelling units such as apartment buildings?
1. Under Vehicle Code section 22507, local authorities may limit the issuance of long-term preferential parking permits to residents only.

2. In issuing long-term residential parking permits, local authorities may not distinguish among residents based on the type of dwelling in which they live.
04/14/2016
13-403 Does Proposition 26 require voter approval before a county board of supervisors may enact an ordinance that would require a cable television franchise holder providing service in the county to pay a “public, educational, and governmental access fee,” equal to one percent of the “holder’s gross revenues,” to the county as authorized under California’s Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act? Proposition 26 does not require voter approval before a county board of supervisors may enact an ordinance that would require a cable television franchise holder providing service in the county to pay a “public, educational, and governmental access fee,” equal to one percent of the “holder’s gross revenues,” to the county as authorized under California’s Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act.

Official Citation: 99 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 1
01/15/2016
13-304 1. Does a school or community college district violate California constitutional and statutory prohibitions against using public funds to advocate passage of a bond measure by contracting with a person or entity for services related to a bond election campaign?

2. Does a school or community college district violate California prohibitions against using public funds to advocate passage of a bond measure if the district enters into an agreement with a municipal finance firm under which the district obtains pre-bond-election services in return for guaranteeing the firm an exclusive contract to provide bond-sale services if the election is successful?

3. In the case of an agreement as described in Question 2, does a school or community college district violate California law concerning the use of bond proceeds if the district reimburses the municipal finance firm for the cost of providing the pre-election services from the proceeds raised from the bond sale?

4. In the scenario described in Question 3, does a school or community college district violate California law concerning the use of bond proceeds, even where the reimbursement is not an itemized component of the fees the district pays to the firm in connection with the bond sale?

5. Does an entity providing campaign services to a bond measure campaign in exchange for an exclusive agreement with the district to sell the bonds incur an obligation to report the cost of such services as a contribution to the bond measure campaign in accordance with state law?
1. A school or community college district violates California constitutional and statutory prohibitions against using public funds to advocate passage of a bond measure by contracting with a person or entity for services related to a bond election campaign if the pre-election services may be fairly characterized as campaign activity.

2. A school or community college district violates prohibitions against using public funds to advocate passage of a bond measure if the district enters into an agreement with a municipal finance firm under which the district obtains pre-election services (of any sort) in return for guaranteeing the firm an exclusive contract to provide bond-sale services if the election is successful, under circumstances where (a) the district enters into the agreement for the purpose (sole or partial) of inducing the firm to support the contemplated bond-election campaign or (b) the firm’s fee for the bond-sale services is inflated to account for the firm’s campaign contributions and the district fails to take reasonable steps to ensure the fee was not inflated.

3. In the case of an agreement as described in Question 2, a school or community college district violates California law concerning the use of bond proceeds if the district reimburses the municipal finance firm for the cost of providing pre-election services from the proceeds raised from the bond sale.

4. In the scenario described in Question 3, a school or community college district violates California law concerning the use of bond proceeds if the district reimburses the municipal finance firm for the cost of providing pre-election services from the fees the district pays to the firm in connection with the bond sale, whether or not the reimbursement is evident as a component of the fees the district pays to the firm in connection with the bond sale made on an itemized service-by-service basis.

5. Where an entity provides campaign services to a bond-measure committee in exchange for an exclusive agreement with the district to sell the bonds, the entity has an obligation to report the value of its services as a contribution to the bond-measure campaign in accordance with state law.

Official Citation: 99 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 18
01/26/2016
12-409 Does Government Code section 1090 prohibit an arrangement under which a contract city attorney’s compensation for providing the city with additional “bond counsel” services is based on a percentage of the city’s bond issuances? Government Code section 1090 prohibits an arrangement under which a contract city attorney’s compensation for providing the city with additional “bond counsel” services is based on a percentage of the city’s bond issuances.

Official Citation: 99 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 35
01/28/2016

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