Capitol Weekly’s Top 100: Kurt Oneto

71. Kurt Oneto

Kurt Oneto leads Nielsen Merksamer’s government law section, where he specializes in statewide ballot measures and is a recognized expert in initiative and referenda law. He’s served as counsel and legal strategist to more than 60 ballot measures in California and more than a half a dozen other states. He works primarily – but not always – on measures backed by business interests: For example, in 2018 he wrote Proposition 12 on behalf of the Humane Society, and in 2022 wrote Proposition 30, which was endorsed by the California Democratic Party and supported by several prominent environmental groups. Last year he led the successful referendum qualification efforts against both AB 257 and SB 1137, and then successfully sued the state to prevent it from temporarily enforcing AB 257 while the signatures were being counted. He was part of the litigation team that successfully defended Proposition 22 in the First District Court of Appeal earlier this year; and just last month, on behalf of CalChamber, successfully sued the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA) over its implementation of the Prop. 24 (2020) privacy regulations.

Updated Aug. 15, 2023

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