Posts Tagged: courts

Micheli Files

Retroactivity of California statutes

California law, image by Vitalii Vodolazskyi

In California, as in most states, a statute is presumed to operate prospectively. Quarry v. Doe I (2012) 53 Cal.4th 945, 955. In construing statutes, there is a presumption against retroactive application unless the Legislature plainly has directed otherwise by means of express language of retroactivity or other sources that provide a clear and unavoidable implication that the Legislature intended retroactive application of the statute.

Micheli Files

The use of bill signing messages by California governors

Image by Ritu Manoj Jethani

MICHELI FILES: Despite no constitutional provision allowing them (or prohibiting them), many California Governors have used “signing messages” to accompany a Governor’s signature on a bill. U.S. Presidents also have long used signing messages.


The reenactment rule in California

California's lady justice, image by BreizhAtao

ANALYSIS – According to the courts, the purpose of the constitutional reenactment rule, which prohibits amending a section of statute unless the section is reenacted as amended, is “to avoid enactment of statutes in terms so blind that legislators themselves are deceived in regard to their effect.”


Determining intent: update of Assembly and Senate letters

One method to help ascertain the legislative intent behind a specified measure is a letter that is published in the Assembly Daily Journal or the Senate Daily Journal by the bill’s author. These letters, for which there are many each year, may be used by the bill’s author to explain an ambiguity in the bill or explain the purpose of particular changes in the law as done by the bill.


From prison to wildfires: Inmate program gathers momentum

Inmate firefighters head to the Colleen Fire in the Santa Teresa Foothills near San Jose. (Photo: Jaden Schaul, via Shutterstock)

The law that offers wildfire-fighting inmates a chance to clean up their records in hopes of civilian careers got off to a slow start last year as administrators crafted rules for the procedure, but now, with those rules in place, the prison-to-profession pipeline is starting to take shape.


Smart land use planning, not courts, key to wildfire safety

The 2018 Woolsey Fire, which ultimately burned nearly 95,000 acres, seen from the Hollywood Hills. (Photo: Jeff Pinette, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: Record-setting wildfires, fueled by the climate crisis and uncontrolled sprawl, are burning at all times of the year. Yet local officials continue to greenlight hillside projects as if these land-use decisions aren’t linked to the never-ending fire season.


Letters of intent: A bill’s author gets short shrift from the courts

The state Capitol in Sacramento. (Photo: Kit Leong, via Shutterstock)

ANALYSIS: One of the long-running points of contention when California courts examine what’s known as  “legislative intent” is the judiciary’s general disdain for statements made by the authors of legislation. Those clear-language statements accompanying bills, common in the Capitol, seek to offer guidance and state the purpose and intention of an author’s legislation.

Support for Capitol Weekly is Provided by: