At its Wednesday conference, the Supreme Court granted review in California School Boards Association v. State of California.  The First District, Division Five, Court of Appeal’s partially published opinion in that case addressed what it called “the vexing problem of how California, particularly its legislative branch, may comply with the [state constitutional] requirement that it fund its education mandates.”  The appellate court concluded that when legislation operates prospectively only, it is “constitutional for the state legislature to designate funding it already provides to school districts as offsetting revenue when reimbursing them for the costs of new state-mandated programs.”

[April 20 update:  as now summarized by court staff, the issues in California School Boards are:  (1) Does the state violate article XIII B, section 6, of the California Constitution when it identifies general education funding it already provides to school districts and county offices of education as “offsetting revenue” for the purpose of reimbursing state mandates?  (2) Does the state violate separation of powers principles when it allows general education funding or special education funding to be identified as offsetting revenues for state-mandated programs?]

Other conference actions of note include:

  • The defendant in Jarman v. HCR ManorCare, Inc. has filed for bankruptcy and the Supreme Court recognized the automatic stay of the case pending before it.  The court granted review last June to resolve a conflict created by the Court of Appeal’s published opinion concerning the extent of statutory damages allowed against a skilled nursing home facility.  [Disclosure:  Horvitz & Levy submitted a letter supporting the petition for review.]
  • Justices Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar and Leondra Kruger recorded dissenting votes from the denial of a petition for review in People v. Arevalo.  In that case, the Fourth District, Division Three, Court of Appeal’s published opinion rejected a constitutional challenge to a probation condition requiring the defendant to maintain a residence approved by her probation officer.
  • A death row inmate died in January while the automatic direct appeal of his capital sentence was pending.  The Supreme Court ended the appeal — in legal lingo, the appeal was permanently abated (see here).