Best Best & Krieger News Feed Best and Krieger is a Full Service Law Firmen-us23 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0800firmwise on the California Water Commission Best and Krieger LLP Of Counsel Joseph Byrne will provide an update on the California Water Commission during the Three Valleys Municipal Water District Leadership Breakfast. As chair of the California Water Commission, Joe will touch on issues related to California&nbsp;water and how they impact both public and private entities.<br /> <br /> When:<br /> Thursday, Oct. 29<br /> 7:30 - 9 a.m.<br /> <br /> Where:<br /> Sheraton Fairplex Suites<br /> 601 W. McKinley Ave.<br /> Pomona, CA 91768<br /> <br /> For more information call 909-621-5568 or email <a href=""><span style="color: #0000ff"> </span></a>Conferences & Speaking Engagements29 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Water Law: The Drought, the Delta and the Future<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP Of Counsel Roderick Walston will co-chair CLE International's &quot;California Water Law: The Drought, the Delta and the Future<font size="2">&quot; and Partner Shawn Hagerty will serve on a panel discussion during the event.<br /> <br /> <u>BB&amp;K Speakers:<br /> <br /> </u>Roderick Walston, Program Co-Chair, Welcome and Introduction<br /> Thursday, Oct. 8, 8:15 a.m.<br /> Friday, Oct. 9, 8:15 a.m.<br /> <br /> Shawn Hagerty, panelist, &quot;The EPA and the Corps' Definition of 'Waters of the United States' Under the Clean Water Act&quot;<br /> Friday, Oct. 9<br /> 9:05 - 10:15 a.m.<br /> <br /> <strong>Where:</strong><br /> BASF Conference Center<br /> <font size="2">301 Battery Street</font><br /> <font size="2">San Francisco, CA 94111</font></font></p> <p><br /> &nbsp;</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements08 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Say First Water Case Aided by Detailed Records<p>As the State Water Resources Control Board begins seeking out illegal water diverters in California, many questions arise &mdash; including how to accurately calculate water supply and use. The Associated Press interviewed Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP Managing Partner Eric Garner on the issue. &quot;The data is not great,&quot; he said. &quot;It's not like you have an app that tells you how fast every car on the freeway is going. There's nothing similar for water.&quot;</p> <p><i>The <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">full article</span></a> can be seen in the July 22, 2015 edition of the Long Beach Press-Telegram.</i></p>BB&K In The News23 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Department of Water Resources Adopts Update to the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance;An updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance that establishes increases in water efficiency standards for new and retrofitted landscapes was approved by the California Water Commission. <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">The updated Model Ordinance</span></a>, approved last week, calls for more efficient irrigation systems, greywater usage and onsite storm water capture, as well as limits on the portion of landscapes that may be covered in turf. <p>The landscape restrictions in the updated Model Ordinance apply to any new construction project with an aggregate landscape area equal to or greater than 500 square feet and rehabilitated landscape projects with an aggregate landscape area equal to or greater than 2,500 square feet requiring a building or landscape permit, plan check or design review. In addition, all cities and counties are required to either adopt the updated the Model Ordinance or adopt a customized local water efficient landscape ordinance that is at least as effective in conserving water as the updated Model Ordinance by Dec. 1. If agencies do not take either of these actions, the Model Ordinance will automatically go into effect and apply.</p> <p>As an alternative, the Model Ordinance encourages the adoption of regional water efficient landscape ordinances by two or more local agencies to implement a consistent set of landscape provisions throughout a geographical region. Local agencies that plan to adopt regional ordinances have until Feb. 1 to do so, or the Model Ordinance will automatically go into effect.</p> <p>Cities and counties will also be required to report to the Department by Dec. 31 on the adoption of their updated ordinances. Agencies adopting a regional ordinance, however, are not required to report on the adoption of their new ordinances until March 1. All agencies would thereafter be required to comply with annual reporting requirements on the implementation and enforcement of their updated local water-efficient landscape ordinances.</p> <p>In California, about half the urban water used is for landscape irrigation. Water waste is common in landscapes that are poorly designed or not well maintained. Water waste from runoff, overspray, low head drainage, leaks and excessive amounts of applied irrigation water in landscapes is prohibited by Section 2, Article X of the California Constitution. The State Legislature adopted the Water Conservation in Landscaping Act (California Government Code section 65591 <i>et seq</i>.) in 1990 to improve state water conservation efforts by reducing the waste associated with outdoor landscaping irrigation. The Act required the Department to develop a model ordinance to govern local landscape irrigation. The Act was amended in 2008 to require an update to the original Model Ordinance.</p> <p>The current revisions to the Model Ordinance were made in response to Gov. Jerry Brown&rsquo;s April 1 Executive Order declaring a statewide water shortage emergency. In addition to directing the State Water Resources Control Board to develop restrictions to achieve a 25 percent reduction in urban potable water use throughout California, the Executive Order called for the Department to update the Model Ordinance through expedited regulation.</p> <p>If you have any questions about the proposed update to the Model Ordinance or how it may impact your agency, please contact the attorney author of this legal alert listed to the right in the firm&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href=";LPA=489&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Municipal Law</span></a> practice group, or your <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">BB&amp;K attorney</span></a>.</p> <p><i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i></p>Legal Alerts22 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Basin Boundary Regulations Released<p>The California Department of Water Resources has released <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">draft emergency regulations</span></a> governing how groundwater basin boundaries may be modified or redrawn under the state&rsquo;s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Public comments on the draft regulations will be accepted until Sept. 4.</p> <p>The historic SGMA legislation, adopted last year, marked the first time California has attempted to comprehensively regulate groundwater and bring groundwater basins into a sustainable pattern of pumping and recharge.</p> <p>Existing groundwater basin boundaries are defined in <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff"><i>California&rsquo;s Groundwater</i>, Bulletin 118</span></a>. The proposed regulations lay out the process that local agencies must follow when seeking to modify established groundwater basin boundaries. Under the proposed regulations, DWR will consider granting two types of modifications:</p> <ul> <li>Those based on scientific considerations (aka Scientific Modifications), supported by geologic and /or hydrologic evidence of basin conditions.</li> <li>Those based on jurisdictional considerations (aka Jurisdictional Modifications), aimed at enabling more effective basin management by local agencies.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>The draft regulations require that a requesting agency meet a number of notification, consultation, public hearing and technical information requirements when submitting a basin boundary modification request. A critical element will be broad local support for each request because of the likelihood that such support will lead to more effective basin management.</p> <p>DWR will consider two types of scientific modification requests:</p> <ul> <li>External Boundary Modification, which modifies the boundary between the subject groundwater basin and the area outside the basin</li> <li>Hydrogeologic Barrier Modification</li> </ul> <p>Three types of jurisdictional boundary modification requests will be considered:</p> <ul> <li>Internal Boundary Revisions, which would adjust the location of a boundary between subbasins, within a basin or the shared boundary between adjacent basins.</li> <li>Basin Consolidations, which would reduce the number of subbasins within a basin, or merge two or more adjacent basins, but would change only shared boundaries. Included within the basin consolidation process is also a &ldquo;county basin consolidation&rdquo; process that would consolidate all contiguous basins or subbasins within a county into a single basin or subbasin with boundaries not extending beyond those of the subject county.</li> <li>Basin Subdivisions, which would increase the number of subbasins within a basin or subbasin.</li> </ul> <p>At a briefing before the California Water Commission on July 15, DWR staff explained that basin subdivisions are generally not desired and will have to meet a high bar for approval because of concerns about potential fragmentation of basins. Approved boundary changes will be published in <i>California&rsquo;s Groundwater</i>, Bulletin 118, 2017 Update.</p> <p>DWR will hold three public meetings to solicit input on the proposed regulations: Aug. 31 in Sacramento, Sept. 2 in Bakersfield and Sept. 3 in Santa Ana. The public comment period ends Sept. 4, with adoption by the California Water Commission slated for October or November.</p> <p>Under SGMA, all groundwater basins deemed high priority or medium priority must be governed by one or more &ldquo;groundwater sustainability agencies&quot; by June 30, 2017. These groundwater sustainability agencies must adopt a groundwater sustainability plan for the basin or basins they govern by Jan. 31, 2022. For basins subject to critical overdraft conditions, the plan must be adopted by Jan. 31, 2020. Sustainability plans must include long-term planning, objectives and goals to achieve basin sustainability within 20 years of implementation. The Act allows for state intervention when local agencies are unwilling or unable to manage the state&rsquo;s groundwater basins.</p> <p>More information about SGMA and the draft emergency basin boundary regulations can be found <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">here</span></a>.</p> <p>If you have any questions about the draft regulations or how they may impact your agency, please contact the attorney authors of this legal alert listed to the right in the <a target="_blank" href=";LPA=492&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Environmental Law &amp; Natural Resources</span></a> practice group, or your <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">BB&amp;K attorney</span></a>.</p> <i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i>Legal Alerts21 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Welcomes Director of Governmental Affairs Syrus Devers<p><b>SACRAMENTO, Calif.</b> - Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP is pleased to announce that Director of Governmental Affairs Syrus Devers has joined the firm &mdash; augmenting the firm&rsquo;s unique advocacy support service. Working from the firm&rsquo;s Sacramento office, Devers brings more than 20 years of experience in state government affairs as both legislative staff and a lobbyist.</p> <p>Prior to joining BB&amp;K, Syrus served as executive director of government affairs for Verizon and lobbied on behalf of the California Medical Association. He began his water and environmental government affairs work while he was a student at McGeorge School of Law and working for then state Sen. Sheila Kuehl. His academic and professional focus shifted then, as he worked on a broad range of issues including groundwater contamination, drinking water standards, stormwater runoff and endangered species legislation. A major achievement of his was the multiyear effort to pass what became SB 221 in 2001, which required a verifiable water supply for residential developments of 500 or more units.</p> <p>With the addition of Devers, the firm can provide both federal and state advocacy services.&nbsp; Along with Senior Director of Governmental Affairs John Freshman and Partner Gerard Lederer in Washington, D.C. and the attorneys in the firm&rsquo;s Municipal Law, Special Districts and Environmental Law and Natural Resources practice groups, Devers will work to ensure that BB&amp;K&rsquo;s clients&rsquo; voices are heard by lawmakers. Whether it be before state or federal legislative bodies or regulatory agencies, the firm&rsquo;s public agency and private company clients will be fully supported by a team of BB&amp;K attorneys and advocates.</p> <p>Syrus was raised on a Central Valley almond farm, which is still in his family, and now resides in Sacramento with his wife.</p> <p style="text-align: center">###</p> <p><b><i>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP</i></b><i> is a national law firm that focuses on environmental, business, education, municipal and telecommunications law for public agency and private clients. With 200 attorneys, the law firm has nine offices nationwide, including Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff"></span></a> or follow <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">@BBKlaw</span></a> on Twitter.</i></p>Press Releases20 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0800 With the Drought: State Water Resources Control Board (WRCB) Mandatory Water Consumption Reduction Measures<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP Partner Kelly Salt will present &ldquo;Dealing With the Drought: State Water Resources Control Board (WRCB) Mandatory Water Consumption Reduction Measures&rdquo; at Law Seminars International&rsquo;s program, &ldquo;Municipal Water Utility Ratemaking in California.&rdquo; Kelly will give an update on Gov. Jerry Brown&rsquo;s Executive Order requiring 25 percent reductions and the Water Resources Control Board&rsquo;s implementation efforts and how the rate structuring/pricing/penalty provisions for encouraging conservation mesh with Proposition 218.</p> <p>The day-long seminar will be in Sacramento, and webcast live.</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Monday, July 20, 2015<br /> 2:45 p.m.</p> <p>For more information or to register, <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements20 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Costs for San Diego Public Schools Under Investigation<p>As electricity costs rise for public schools in San Diego County, a coalition of districts are fighting an application by San Diego Gas &amp; Electric to the California Public Utilities Commission to hike the rates even more. Best Best &amp; Krieger attorney Josh Nelson, representing the districts, was interviewed recently by The San Diego <i>Union-Tribune</i>:</p> <p>&ldquo;The school districts have hired Best Best &amp; Krieger, a high-powered law firm specializing in energy issues, to help make their case to the CPUC.</p> <p>&ldquo;They are urging the commission to reject or modify SDG&amp;E&rsquo;s application to further raise rates by a combined 25.93 percent over a three-year period from 2016 to 2018, according to Josh Nelson, an attorney with the firm.</p> <p>&ldquo;&rsquo;That&rsquo;s a significant rate increase,&rsquo; Nelson said. &lsquo;We want to make sure that schools are protected from rate increases and that they don&rsquo;t share a disproportionate share.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p><i>To read the entire article, originally published July 11, 2015 in the Union-Tribune, <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</i></p>BB&K In The News16 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Manager Leadership Summit<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP partner's&nbsp;Fernando Avila and Nancy Park&nbsp;are among the speakers at the California Special District Association's event, &ldquo;General Manager Leadership Summit.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> <u>BB&amp;K Speakers:</u><br /> <br /> <strong>Fernando Avila</strong>, &quot;CEQA: What Special Districts Need to Know in 2015 and Beyond&quot;<br /> This panel will address the recent changes to CEQA from legislation and cases decided in 2015. Panelists will discuss how endangered species laws integrate with CEQA requirements for biological resources, effectively use CEQA exemptions following recent California Supreme Court rulings and analyzing the impacts of climate and greenhouse gases as part of public projects.<br /> 2:00 - 3:15 P.M.<br /> <br /> <strong>Nancy Park</strong>, &ldquo;Behind the Scenes Negotiating Secrets&rdquo;&nbsp;<br /> An overview of the changes in legislation related to public sector labor relations in the past year and a look at decisions from the Public Employment Relations Board that deal with how agencies interact with employee organizations.<br /> 3:30 - 4:30 P.M.<br /> <br /> <strong>When</strong><br /> Monday, July 13, 2015<br /> <br /> <strong>Where</strong><br /> Hyatt Regency Newport Beach<br /> 1107 Jamboree Road<br /> Newport Beach, CA 92660<br /> <br /> For more information or to register, <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements13 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0800 CEQA Requirements Take Effect July 1<p>Assembly Bill 52 went into effect July 1, adding new requirements under the California Environmental Quality Act regarding tribal cultural resources and consultation with California Native American tribes. Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP attorney Sarah Owsowitz wrote for the California Special Districts Association Blog that the law has two distinct parts: it adds a new topic for environmental review and adds a new noticing/consultation requirement.</p> <p>To read the blog posted July 1, 2015 by the CSDA, <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</p>BB&K In The News08 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Supreme Court Grants Review in San Buenaventura Groundwater Pumping Fees Case<p>Two California Appellate Court decisions handed down in March addressed whether or not a local water agency&rsquo;s groundwater pumping charges are property-related fees. One of these cases concluded that they are not property-related fees. That court decision will now be reviewed by the California Supreme Court. The distinction is important because of the restrictions imposed for property-related fees under Proposition 218 &mdash; as well as the exemptions for fees that are considered taxes under Proposition 26.</p> <p>In <i>City of San Buenaventura v. United Water Conservation District</i>, issued March 17, the Second District Court of Appeal held that a water conservation district&rsquo;s groundwater pumping fees, established at a rate for non-agricultural users that is three times higher than that for agricultural users, are not property-related fees subject to the restrictions imposed under Proposition 218 (California Constitution article XIII D, section 6). The court also rejected the argument that the challenged fees are taxes under Proposition 26 (California Constitution, article XIII C, section 1(e)). Rather, the court found that the fees are valid fees imposed under two exceptions to the definition of &ldquo;tax&rdquo; established under Proposition 26. The California Supreme Court has granted review of this decision.</p> <p>In the other case, <i>Great Oaks Water Company v. Santa Clara Valley Water District</i>, issued March 26,the Sixth District Court of Appeal came to a contrary conclusion regarding the classification of the district&rsquo;s groundwater pumping fees. Here, the court found that the District&rsquo;s groundwater pumping fees are property-related fees subject to Proposition 218. This case is not under review by the California Supreme Court.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href=";an=38550&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Read more about both of these cases in a Legal Alert published on March 31.</span></a></p> <p>If you have any questions about these cases or how they may impact your agency, please contact the attorney authors of this legal alert listed to the right in the firm&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href=";LPA=489&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Municipal</span></a>,&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href=";LPA=487&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Special District</span></a> and&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href=";LPA=497&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Public Finance</span></a> practice groups, or <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">your BB&amp;K attorney</span></a>.</p> <i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i>Legal Alerts25 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Webinar: AB 52: CEQA's New Requirement<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger attorney Sarah Owsowitz will present &quot;AB 52: CEQA's New Requirement.&quot; Starting on July 1, every public agency in California will have significant new California Environmental Quality Act duties. In addition to considering a project&rsquo;s potential impact on historic and archaeological resources, agencies will now have to consider a project&rsquo;s potential to impact tribal cultural resources - essentially any object of cultural value to a California Native American tribe -&nbsp;&nbsp;when preparing an Environmental Imapct Report or a negative declaration.</p> <p>Also, agencies must consult on a project&rsquo;s potential to impact a tribal cultural resource with any California Native American tribe who requests a consultation.&nbsp;Consultation may include:</p> <ul> <li>The level of environmental review necessary;</li> <li>The significance of a tribal cultural resource and of a project's impact on that resource; and</li> <li>Project alternatives and/or mitigation, including those recommended by the tribe.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>These are big and complex changes, and understanding and keeping track of them will be essential to an agency&rsquo;s ongoing CEQA compliance.</p> <p><strong>When:</strong><br /> Thursday, June 25, 2015<br /> 11 a.m. &ndash; Noon</p> <p>To register for this free webinar, please <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</p>Seminars and Webinars25 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Bill To Combat Water Shortages Passes In California Legislature<p>The California Legislature approved a budget bill that would grant the state authority to force water systems to consolidate to serve disadvantaged communities where a steady supply of clean drinking water is not available. Senate Bill 88 also would give public water suppliers the power to impose civil fines of up to $10,000 for violations of water conservation programs, impose new measuring and reporting requirements for water diversions, and suspend environmental review for certain drought-related projects.</p> <p>The bill approved Friday, which can be read <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">here</span></a>, passed on divided votes of 24-14 in the Senate and 52-28 in the Assembly. It now awaits Gov. Jerry Brown&rsquo;s signature. &nbsp;</p> <p>The legislation comes on the heels of unprecedented action last month by the State Water Resources Control Board to address an <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">emergency order</span></a> by Brown. On May 5 the Board approved <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">emergency regulations</span></a> designed to achieve an overall 25 percent reduction in potable urban water use across California. Some areas must achieve water use reductions as high as 36 percent. The regulations have left cities, special districts and other water suppliers scrambling to adopt urgency ordinances and other measures to comply with the regulations.</p> <p><u>Forced Consolidations of Water Suppliers</u></p> <p>One of the bill&rsquo;s more controversial elements involves granting the State Water Resources Control Board authority to force local water systems in disadvantaged communities located in an unincorporated area, or served by a mutual water company, to consolidate to deliver safe drinking water to disadvantaged communities. This provision would apply where a water system within a disadvantaged community consistently fails to provide a supply of safe drinking water. In such cases, the Board may order consolidation with a public water system (the &ldquo;receiving water system&rdquo;). The consolidation may be physical or operational. The Board could also order the extension of service to such a community, so long as the extension is an interim extension in preparation for consolidation. The provision grants authority to the Board to set timelines and performance measures to complete such consolidations.</p> <p>The provision drew harsh criticism among legislators and communities throughout California as an unnecessary and inappropriate abuse of power by the state&rsquo;s executive arm. Concerns were raised that the new measures would enable the state to bypass the normal consolidation procedures overseen by Local Agency Formation Commissions operating in counties throughout California. The consolidation provision was developed and passed by the Legislature within a matter of days, with minimal public policy discussion and debate. Concerns were also raised about forced consolidations involving private water suppliers, which have complicated governance structures and land and property rights, and about potential debts and liabilities from absorbed water systems.</p> <p>Under the legislation, forced consolidation or service-extension measures would be undertaken only after the Board has taken other steps, including encouraging voluntary consolidation or extension of service and meeting various requirements for consultations, efforts to improve water service, and public hearings. If consolidation ultimately is ordered, the Board must make funds available, &ldquo;as necessary and appropriate&rdquo; and &ldquo;upon appropriation by the Legislature,&rdquo; to the receiving water system for costs related to consolidation or extension of service. The legislation requires the Board to coordinate with the appropriate local agency formation commission and other local agencies to facilitate the change of organization or reorganization, and adequately compensate owners of a privately owned subsumed water system for the fair market value of the system as prescribed in the bill.</p> <p>Disadvantaged communities are defined as communities with an annual median household income of less than 80 percent of the statewide annual median household income.</p> <p><u>Conservation Fines and Penalties</u></p> <p>One of the more difficult aspects of the Board&rsquo;s emergency regulations is how to persuade customers to comply with locally designed water restrictions aimed at achieving the mandatory water use reductions. SB 88 provides new tools.</p> <p>The bill amends section 377 of the California Water Code, which contains provisions for criminal convictions, to permit a court or public water supplier to hold a person civilly liable for violations of water conservation programs and regulations. The fines are not to exceed $10,000 for violating a local water conservation program adopted under Water Code section 376 or for violating an emergency regulation adopted by the Water Board pursuant to Water Code section 1058.5. This provision would be codified as subdivision (b) of Water Code section 377. For residential water users, the civil liability for the first violation may not exceed $1,000 unless the court or public entity finds the following extraordinary situations: the residential water user had actual notice of the requirement that was violated; the conduct was intentional; and the amount of water at issue was substantial. On the 31st day after a person has been notified of a violation under subdivision (b), the water user &ldquo;may additionally be civilly liable&rdquo; in an amount not to exceed $10,000, plus $500 for each additional day the violation continues. Civil liability imposed pursuant to Water Code section 377 shall be collected by the public entity and expended solely for purposes of water conservation. In addition to these remedies, this bill authorizes a public entity to enforce water use limitations by a volumetric penalty in an amount established by the public entity.</p> <p>SB 88 allows the top executive officer of public entities to identify &ldquo;designees&rdquo; to issue citations and complaints where violations of local water conservation programs or emergency Water Board regulations have occurred.</p> <p><u>Additional Provisions</u></p> <p>SB 88 includes exemptions from the California Environmental Quality Act if a project: mitigates drought conditions; is for construction or expansion of a recycled water pipeline, and any directly related infrastructure, or certain projects related to groundwater replenishment.&nbsp;The exemption expires January 1, 2017. &nbsp;It also includes new requirements that people who divert 10 acre feet of water or more per year measure their diversions, maintain records and report the information to the Board. &nbsp;</p> <p>If you have any questions about this proposed law or how it may impact your agency, please contact the attorney authors of this legal alert listed to the right in the <a target="_blank" href=";LPA=487&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Special Districts</span></a>, <a target="_blank" href=";LPA=497&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Public Finance</span></a>, <a target="_blank" href=";LPA=489&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Municipal Law</span></a> or <a target="_blank" href=";LPA=492&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Environmental Law &amp; Natural Resources</span></a> practice groups, or your <a target="_blank" href=""><font color="#0000ff">BB&amp;K attorney</font></a>.</p> <p><i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i></p>Legal Alerts23 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Water Law & Policy<p>It's official. The drought continues.</p> <p>But 2015 is very different from 2014: Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered sweeping new requirements for urban and agricultural water conservation; the State Water Resources Control Board has reduced water diversions via water right curtailment orders and rulemakings; the Water Bond has passed and in this new era of intense, &quot;mega-drought,&quot; everyone is looking at water reuse, recycling, and desalination to help bridge the gap between frighteningly low water availability and ever-increasing water demand.</p> <p>With these and other topics in mind, Argent Communications is presenting a two-day conference California Water Law &amp; Policy, co-chaired by BB&amp;K Partner Steven Anderson. BB&amp;K attorneys Andre Monette, Kelly Salt and Roderick Walston are also speaking at the conference, which is co-sponsored by the firm.</p> <p>This informative, practice-oriented two-day event is a must-attend for anyone who needs to understand California's complex water issues. Whether you're an attorney, water district staff or board member, federal or state government practitioner, consulting engineer, city or county counsel or planner, environmental organization representative, developer or agricultural business owner, you'll get the latest detailed updates on these and other crucial and complex issues.<br /> <b><i><br /> Mention BB&amp;K when registering and receive $100 off the tuition price.</i></b></p> <p><u>BB&amp;K Speakers</u></p> <p><b>Steve Anderson</b>, Conference Overview<br /> Monday, June 15, 8:30 a.m.<br /> Tuesday, June 16, 8:30 a.m.</p> <p><b>Andre Monette</b>, &ldquo;Water Quality Control and Drought: The Legal Aspects of Stormwater Capture and Use&rdquo;<br /> Monday, June 15, 1:30 p.m.</p> <p><b>Kelly Salt</b>, &ldquo;Prop. 218: The Future of Tiered Conservation Rates (San Juan Capistrano Case):<br /> Monday, June 15, 3:45 p.m.</p> <p><b>Roderick Walston</b>, &ldquo;Developing Groundwater Disputes: A Closer Look &mdash; Does the Reserved Rights Doctrine Apply to Groundwater? The Agua Caliente Case&rdquo;<br /> Tuesday, June 16, 10:15 a.m.</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Monday, June 15 &ndash; Tuesday, June 16, 2015</p> <p><strong>Where</strong><br /> Hotel Nikko San Francisco<br /> <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">Click here</span></a> for more information</p> <p>To register, <a target="_blank" href=";mmurlid=72082185"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a></p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements15 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Administrative & Public Environmental Law Conference<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger Managing Partner Eric Garner and Of Counsel Sara Owsowitz will be speaking at The Administrative &amp; Public Environmental Law Conference, co-presented by The State Bar of California Public and Environmental law sections. BB&amp;K is a sponsor if of the one-day conference.</p> <p><u>BB&amp;K Speakers</u></p> <p><b>Sarah Owsowitz</b>, &ldquo;Preparing the CEQA Administrative Record&rdquo;<br /> 11:10 a.m. &ndash; 12:25 p.m.<br /> What goes into (and what stays out of) the administrative record prepared in California Environmental Quality Act litigation is one of the most difficult and controversial topics facing practitioners. What is required? What may be excluded? What is privileged? What about emails? What if a Public Records Act request is filed concurrently? Who pays for it all? Panelists will also provide advice on the use of joint defense agreements to maintain privileges between agency and applicant counsel communications involving scoping potential mitigation measures and responding to comments. This session will address recent case law answering these questions and provide practical tips for compliance.</p> <p><b>Eric Garner</b>, &ldquo;The Effects of California's Drought on Public Entities&rdquo;<br /> 3:15 &ndash; 4:45 p.m.<br /> This session will focus on legislative and regulatory developments resulting from California's long-standing drought, including from the state and local water boards and local entities. Panelists will provide advice and discuss the enforcement of programs to limit watering, diversions and code enforcement. The session will also address current water law rights and usage priorities, including the State's recent assumption of jurisdiction over groundwater rights and any anticipated changes to these laws.</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Friday, June 12, 2015</p> <p><strong>Where</strong><br /> UC Hastings College of the Law<br /> San Francisco</p> <p>For more information or to register, <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements12 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0800 BB&K Attorneys Named to 2015 Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Stars List<p><b>Riverside, Calif.</b>&nbsp;- BB&amp;K is pleased to announce that four of the firm&rsquo;s attorneys were included in the 2015 Southern California <i>Super Lawyers Rising Stars </i>list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers for this honor. To&nbsp;be selected&nbsp;as a Rising Star, the attorney must be under age 40 or in practice for less than 10 years, and must have demonstrated significant achievements in their pracitce area.</p> <p>The BB&amp;K lawyers named as Rising Stars are:</p> <ul> <li>Scott Ditfurth, Business Litigation, Riverside</li> <li>Matthew &ldquo;Mal&rdquo; Richardson, Government, Irvine</li> <li>Isabel Safie, Employee Benefits, Riverside</li> <li>Alisha Winterswyk, Environmental, Irvine</li> </ul> <p>Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. For more information, visit <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff"></span></a>.</p>Press Releases12 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0800's Revenue Transfer From its Wastewater Utility to its General Fund Is Justified<p>In a challenge to the transfer of revenues from a city&rsquo;s wastewater utility to its general fund, a California Appellate Court held Tuesday that the transfer did not violate California Constitution article XIII D, section 6(b) (commonly known as Proposition 218). The court found the city&rsquo;s method of determining how much revenue should be transferred was reasonable and justified by its cost of service study. The court further found that, based on the evidence at trial, the city&rsquo;s use of the revenues was proper under Proposition 218.</p> <p>In <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff"><i>Moore v. City of Lemon Grove</i></span></a>, a wastewater customer challenged Lemon Grove&rsquo;s annual transfer of revenues from its wastewater utility to its general fund. The City&rsquo;s utility has three employees who exclusively perform work for the utility. All other functions to operate the utility (accounting and finance, receptionists, analysts, engineers, inspectors, plan checkers, etc.) are performed by city employees. The plaintiff alleged that the utility transfers were not tied to actual costs incurred for the utility&rsquo;s benefit, and that the City failed to properly identify, earmark or quantify these costs. The plaintiff asserted that the transferred funds were used for general governmental purposes of the City in violation of Proposition 218. The court disagreed.</p> <p>The City presented evidence at trial showing that most of the functions required to operate the utility are provided by City employees who divide their time among various activities. In return, the utility reimburses the City for these services and expenses related to these services. The apportionment of time related to services provided to the utility were done in accordance with the City&rsquo;s best estimate of the actual time spent on sanitation matters by City employees. Overhead-related expenses were determined by examining the budgeted expenditures for each fund or activity. The City also provided evidence showing that, after the wastewater rates are established, the City monitors expenditures to make certain that City employees stay within budgetary parameters; resultant adjustments to personnel allocations are made where necessary.</p> <p>The City explained that the utility&rsquo;s revenues are specifically tied to expenditures through its five-year wastewater rate study. The rate study averages out costs over a five-year period and then determines the revenue required to cover these charges from year to year. The Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court that the evidence showed that apportioning costs based on revenues was reasonable under the circumstances and met the City&rsquo;s burden of demonstrating compliance with the requirements of Proposition 218.</p> <p>If you have any questions about this case or how it may impact your agency, please contact the attorney authors of this legal alert listed to the right in the firm&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href=";LPA=497&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Public Finance</span></a>&nbsp;and <a target="_blank" href=";LPA=489&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Municipal Law</span></a> practice groups, or your <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">BB&amp;K attorney</span></a>.</p> <p><i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i></p>Legal Alerts04 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Regulations for Small Systems<p><br /> Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP Partner Kelly Salt is a speaker during the Association of California Water Agencies' webinar, titled: &quot;Regulations for Small Systems.&quot;<br /> <br /> The webinar, one in a series of special events on urban water conservation in the California drought, will provide an overview by the State Water Resources Control Board of the emergency regulations adopted May 5 and identify tools and resources available to water agencies as they work to meet conservation targets ranging from 4 percent to 36 percent.<br /> <strong><br /> When:</strong><br /> Tuesday, May 26, 2015<br /> 1 - 2:30 p.m.<br /> <br /> For more information or to register, <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements26 May 2015 00:00:00 -0800 AB 52's New CEQA Requirement<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger attorneys Sarah Owsowitz and Christopher Diaz will present a webinar for the State Bar of California Public Law Section, titled: &ldquo;AB 52&rsquo;s New CEQA Requirement.&rdquo; Starting in July 2015, AB 52 will require all public agencies acting as lead agencies under CEQA to enter into consultation with requesting tribes prior to the release of a negative declaration or an EIR. Consultation may concern the level of environmental review necessary, the significance of a tribal cultural resource and of a project's impact on that resource, and project alternatives and/or mitigation, including those recommended by the tribe. A &quot;tribal cultural resource&quot; &ndash; a new term for CEQA &ndash; is any site, feature, place, cultural landscape, sacred place, or object with cultural value to a California Native American tribe. Significantly, AB 52 applies not just to federally recognized tribes (as is the case with Section 106 review under the National Historic Preservation Act), but to all tribes on the California Native American Heritage Commission's &quot;contact list.&quot;</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Thursday, May 21, 2015<br /> Noon &ndash; 1 p.m.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">For more information or to register, click here.</span></a></p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements21 May 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Where's the Line?: Ethical Tensions Between Public Disclosure, Our Ethical Duties as Lawyers, and Constitutional Rights<p><br /> Best Best &amp; Krieger Partner&nbsp;Charity Schiller&nbsp;is a speaker&nbsp;the State Bar of California&nbsp;Environmental Law&nbsp;Section webinar, titled: &quot;Where's the Line?: Ethical Tensions Between Public Disclosure, Our Ethical Duties as Lawyers, and Constitutional Rights.&quot;<br /> <br /> Unique ethical issues confront lawyers practicing administrative law in the land use entitlement and environmental enforcement contexts. Whether representing a public agency, a property owner or another interested party, such as an environmental group, union, neighbor or neighborhood group, lawyers have ethical duties to clients. Public agencies also must comply with open records and meetings laws, as well as other laws designed to further transparency. Real parties and interested parties have constitutional rights to petition government, yet concerns about ex parte communications and undue influence sometimes restrict such outreach. This panel will outline the framework of these potentially competing rights and responsibilities, discuss how recent appellate cases highlight the tension between these various duties, and consider strategies to balance these issues without running afoul of our ethical responsibilities as attorneys.</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Tuesday, May 19, 2015<br /> Noon &ndash; 1:30 p.m.</p> <p><a href=";sortBy=&amp;q=EL_5-19-15&amp;searchType=1&amp;groupId=453de0a1-6f0a-4531-a950-5949e4a17d95" target="_blank"><span style="color: #0000ff">For more information or to register, click here.</span></a></p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements19 May 2015 00:00:00 -0800