California, like many other states, occasionally establishes pilot projects via legislation. For comparison, pilot projects are rarely used by Congress but are more regularly used by state legislatures.

So what is a pilot project? It is, essentially, a temporary program established by statute which is often combined with a study and a sunset date. The idea is to give a new or experimental policy or program a try before fully committing to it. As part of this effort, there’s usually some sort of effort to collect data, determine whether the temporarily adopted program is meeting expectations.

In some instances, these pilot programs actually include a formal study, perhaps even with an independent third party conducting the data collection evaluation and even the reporting. There may be oversight to ensure that the program is being used or implemented as intended, and as a result, these pilot projects or our short term statutory programs, and they could be used to evaluate an entirely new or innovative program or operation that the state proposes. And usually at the conclusion of these pilot programs, there’s a report that’s generally required to be presented to the legislature in order for our elected legislators to determine whether the pilot project met expectations.

What might this evaluation look like as part of the pilot program? Its best when the pilot project is established with a stated goal or goals that it’s intended to achieve or reach, and the reasons for the project, perhaps even why this particular approach or project was chosen to proceed. And certainly, the costs associated with administering and complying with the program are also reviewed.

Now let’s turn to sunset dates, which are sometimes also called sunset clauses, sunset provisions, or even sunset laws. They are essentially, a provision that puts an end date on a particular provision of the law. Unless the Legislature enacts a law extending the program, a program with a sunset clause will expire after the amount of time in the provision. In California, these clauses tend to run two to five years, and sometimes for a decade.

You can find the transcript of today’s audio here.

The “McGeorge Legacies” blog series allows our current students and their alumni family to share their experiences, passions, and lessons with our community. While many legacy students find their passion for the law through a family member’s experience, they often forge their own path once they begin their personal journey through law school. We are proud of everything our alumni have accomplished, and we can’t wait to see where our current students will go.

This week we heard from Skye Dawson (class of 2022) and her father, Norman “Norm” Dawson (class of 1993), as they shared their legal journeys. Short excerpts are below, and you can read Skye and Norm’s full stories here.

Skye Dawson: “Having a lawyer father, I understood what a legal career could do – not just for me, but for those I care about and those I have not even met. There have been countless times where someone has come to my father on their worst day and after only a short period of time talking to them, he made them feel better about their situation.”

Norm Dawson: “As time went on my law school friends moved on to other positions. I have remained in the Public Defender’s Office. My career has been very eventful and most enjoyable. I love litigating and there is no better place to be a trial attorney.”

We are excited to announce the launch of a brand new blog series, McGeorge Legacies!

Keep an eye here as we share stories from current McGeorge students and their alumni parents, siblings, and other family. They’ll share details about what drew them to law school, challenges they’ve faced, what they’ve learned while practicing law, and some of their proudest accomplishments. If you want to read first-hand accounts about law school and careers across several different legal fields, you won’t want to miss these stories from our very own McGeorge community.

The Supreme Court has good reason to question the expansion of power in the executive branch. Agencies such as the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) exercise broad authority, deciding policy questions that the constitutional Framers expected Congress to decide. As a result, presidents wield far more power than they should.

But the Court picked the wrong time and place to put the brakes on executive authority with its decision in NFIB v. Becerra, the case that involved OSHA’s rule for COVID vaccination or testing in the workplace. The Court acted unwisely—and inconsistently with past decisions.

As the dissenting justices observed, OSHA has been given broad power by Congress to protect employees and ensure “safe and healthful working conditions.” And workplaces have become a major source of COVID transmission.

The Court majority distinguished between OSHA authority to regulate risks to employee health that are specific to the workplace from more general risks to personal health. In this view, OSHA can protect coal miners from exposure to high levels of coal dust but not from catching COVID from a co-worker. But this is an artificial distinction and not one that has been required previously. OSHA protects workers from the hazard of faulty electrical wiring in their offices even though faulty electrical wiring is also a problem in people’s homes. Moreover, for many people, their greatest risk of catching COVID occurs while they are working.

Of particular importance is the fact that OSHA was responding to a grave risk to worker health, one that this country hasn’t seen in more than a hundred years. This is not the time to take a cramped view of OSHA’s authority to protect workers, especially when the OSHA mandate is backed by clear evidence of effectiveness and when testing and mask wearing is allowed as an alternative to vaccination.

Attention 2L’s! SMUD Law Clerk Opportunity, Deadline to apply: Dec. 1, 2021

The General Counsel’s Office at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has two (2) Law Clerk positions to fill. Interested students must be available to begin work in late May 2022. Each position is full time (40 hours per week) during the summer and part time (20 hours per week) during the school year. The position description is provided below:

Law Clerk Position Description:

Be a part of an organization nationally known for innovation, leadership, customer focus, and environmental stewardship. Law clerks work closely with all SMUD attorneys and gain experience in various facets of our business. Research and writing projects may relate to water law, environmental law, energy law, employment law, contracts, legislation, torts, business laws, intellectual property, litigation, arbitration, administrative hearings, and more. Additional opportunities for personal development are available by shadowing SMUD attorneys at trials, hearings, depositions, site visits, and internal client meetings. The salary range is $29.00 – $31.00 per hour and benefits are not included. The two positions are a one-year commitment from May 2022 to May 2023 and students must be available to start full time (40 hours per week) in late May 2022 and work part time (20 hours per week) during the 2022-2023 school year. Students sought have an interest in learning and excellent research and writing skills.

TO APPLY: Upload your cover letter, resume, writing sample and your most recent law school transcript to the DOCUMENTS tab on McGeorgeCareersOnline (MCO), then go to the OCI tab and select the session: SMUD Recruitment, Summer 2022 and submit your application materials. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, December 1, 2021, and virtual interviews will be scheduled in late January 2022. (No phone calls please).

Please contact Isabella Hannon directly if you have any questions on this great opportunity at ihannon@pacific.edu or 916.739.7339.

What is California’s SRIA process?

SRIA stands for a Standardized Regulatory Impact Analysis. It’s required to be done for any so-called major regulations. Under existing law, all regulations are required to have an analysis of the potential economic impact of a proposed regulation. In 2011, the Legislature determined that for financially impactful regulations, which amounts for anywhere from 10% to 15% of the state regulations that are proposed each year, must follow the SRIA process.

The formal rulemaking process begins when a state entity submits its proposed regulatory action to the Office of Administrative Law, OAL. The entity has to consider the proposal’s impact on business, specifically with consideration of industries affected, such as the ability of California businesses to compete with businesses in other states. In fact, the entity, the rulemaking body, must even consider information that is supplied to it by interested parties.

Why is this more detailed analysis under SRIA required? California’s Government Code provides some information. Specifically, the Government Code and other provisions say that the analyses that are being conducted under the SRIA statute really are intended to provide agencies, as well as members of the public, like the regulated community, with the information that they need to determine whether or not this proposed regulation is in effect the most efficient and effective means of implementing whatever policy decision or decisions that’s required by the statute in the least burdensome manner.

The SRIA process does six major things beyond the baseline regulatory analysis.

  1. Assess and determine the benefits and costs of the proposed regulation.
  2. Compare the proposed regulatory alternatives with a baseline.
  3. Determine the impact of the proposal on the state’s economy, businesses, and general welfare.
  4. Assess the effects of the proposal on the General Fund and any special funds.
  5. Determine the cost of enforcement and compliance
  6. Estimate the true economic impact.

YOu can read the transcript of the audio in today’s post here.

 

L-R: Student attorney Justin Trinh, student attorney Michael Dastas and staff attorney Kishwer Vikaas after a successful post-conviction hearing in September 2021.

Are you afraid that your criminal record might prevent your application for a green card or citizenship from being approved? You might qualify for Post-Conviction Relief!

Community Legal Services recently won our client post-conviction relief in the form of multiple vacated convictions. Those vacated convictions allowed her to apply for the renewal of her green card, and the clinic is working on her application for Naturalization.

This post-conviction relief is relatively new to California. In 2020, the California Legislature amended Penal Code §1473.7 to allow noncitizens to move to vacate convictions on the basis that the noncitizen had not fully understood the immigration consequences of a plea they made. Many noncitizens may qualify for this relief because the requirement that attorneys inform noncitizens of the immigration consequences of a plea was only added in 2010 in the Supreme Court Decision Padilla v. Kentucky.

If the attorney failed to inform the noncitizen of the immigration consequences, then the non-citizen must prove that they would not have pled guilty with circumstantial evidence. Circumstances must show that the noncitizen would never have pled if they had been informed of the immigration consequences.

For example, in our client’s case, she was not informed of the consequences a conviction for a theft crime would have on her immigration status. Our client would have fought her case in court or pled to another charge if she had known that the conviction could bar her from green card renewal or citizenship.

Thanks to this change in California Law, our clinic is able to offer noncitizens the opportunity to apply for post-conviction relief. While our client obtained relief from vacated convictions, there are other vehicles to obtain relief. Other relief includes expungement for pre-trial diversion, expungements for non-prison sentences, and reduction of felony convictions to misdemeanors. If you are interested in pursuing post-conviction relief, call (916) 340-6080 for an intake or email clsmcg@pacific.edu.

About Michael Dastas

Michael is a third-year law student at University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. He has been a student attorney in the Immigration Clinic since August 2021.

Today we’ll take a look at what Ray LeBov and I consider the key elements of successful lobbying in California. The first of these four is the Four P’s.

The Four P’s are: Process, players, policy, and personality.

  • Process – Understand the rules governing the legislative process in the Constitution, the Government Code, the Joint Rules, and the Assembly and Senate rules, not just the rules of how a bill becomes law, but all the rules, whether they cover ethics or the details of the budget process.
  • Players – Who are the players on both sides of the issue or the bill that you’re working on? Both the public officials, the elected officials, the staff, the administration officials, and the private sector, proponents and opponents, have a working relationship with all of them.
  • Policy – know your bill and have a working knowledge of the subject matter in general.
  • Personality – Exhibit a pleasant demeanor when working with others during the legislative process. We’re all professionals, and you can just as easily find yourself working on the same side of an issue as you can working against somebody. So treat others with respect and expect the same treatment for yourself.

Beyond the Four P’s, what are the three other keys to effective lobbying?

  • Seek guidance from others – talk to your colleagues and staff and others to learn more about a bill, a public policy area, or the legislative process itself. And listen to suggestions that are made by others with whom you work. Ask others why they succeeded or why they failed with a particular bill or issue.
  • Keep your word – Your reputation as a lobbyist can be made or broken by what you do, how you do it, and what you say.
  • Be flexible – one’s best-laid plans sometimes run into unforeseen hurdles that you have to get over. It’s important to be flexible in your dealings with others throughout the legislative process.
  • Do your research – Whether it’s for your bill, a public policy issue, or even a legislator that you’re about to lobby, it’s important to do at least some basic research

You can find the transcript of the audio in today’s post here.

In 2021, the peak of the coronavirus, the McGeorge Unity Caucus (UC) saw a gap in much needed resources. Specifically, our students were not receiving the same opportunities to network as they had been when we could be in person. Additionally, in reviewing the yearly goals, one such gap was the lack of education on how to review the diversity initiatives of employers. In the legal field it is currently trendy to claim diversity and diversity initiatives, but some such claims do not hold as much weight as others. After brainstorming methods to address this issue, the idea of a resume collect and mixer was discussed. It would be paired with a discussion going over methods students can use to check firms’ websites for their diversity initiatives and helpful questions to ask employers to determine their actual dedication to diversity issues.

The obvious issue was that we could not plan an in-person event and, during the pandemic, our students would benefit more from being able to practice virtual skills as well. McGeorge had worked with the Student Bar Association to purchase access to a novel platform, Remo, that allowed students and employers to sit at virtual “tables” together. Participants could also switch tables to engage with other employers and practice the skills discussed during the event. The Unity Caucus formed a committee made up of Ashley Silva-Guzman (’21), Sofia Schersei (’22), and Julienne Correa (’22). Ashley, Sofia, and Julienne contacted Dean Molly Stafford at the Career Development Office. She had already been contemplating this need and the work began.

It was well organized, smooth, and as an employer, it was fantastic to talk with students from such a diverse pool – both academically and professionally.  We have hired several McGeorge graduates (and I am one such proud member) and we will continue to do so.”

Sue Ann Van Dermyden, Shareholder. Van Dermyden Makus Law Corp.

The Career Development Office had already reached out to employers with trusted diversity initiatives and had previously provided opportunities to diverse law clerks. The UC committee worked on the student side, drumming up interest by creating posters and managing the day-of plans. In the end, fourteen employers signed up to attend or collect resumes and forty-two students RSVP’d and submitted their resumes. The committee sent out details for the event and instructions on how to use the Remo platform. Dean Stafford gave a stirring introduction reviewing and embracing the importance of diversity initiatives at firms and encouraging students to rotate tables. Students spent a successful hour and a half mingling with employers and discussing their resumes with recruiters and attorneys that could assist them in reviewing the diversity initiatives at their unique firms. The opportunities that are built at firms that value and embrace diverse law clerks are so much more successful when firms devote themselves to these initiatives.

The Diversity Mixer and Resume Collect Event allowed for employers and applicants to meet and share information when in the past, employers would typically be limited to interviewing applicants in the immediate area. I walked away with a sense of appreciation of the quality of the interactions and the number of applicants that we were able to meet.”

John Chang, Deputy District Attorney. Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office

 

About the event co-founders

Ashley Silva-Guzman graduated in May of 2021. After sitting for the July 2021 Bar she began working as a Law Clerk at the Corporate Immigration Partners out of San Francisco.

Julienne Alexis Correa is a 3L at McGeorge School of Law. She currently works at the Sacramento County Office of the Public Defender as a Legal Research Assistant.

Sofia Schersei is a 3L at McGeorge School of Law. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Pacific Law Review and has accepted an offer to join Van Dermyden Makus Law after graduating.

I recently took a look at how the number of bills that Governor Newsom signed and vetoed compared to previous years in his administration and previous governors. Today let’s look at some themes that emerged for why he vetoed the bills that he did.

The most common reason – which is not unique to Governor Newsom – was fiscal cost, which appeared in different forms. One was that the budget process should have been used for bills resulting in costs to the state. Another variation was expressing concern that the measure would create permanent impacts on the state’s general fund.

Some non-fiscal themes that Governor Newsom expressed throughout his vetoes were:

  • Would prefer state agencies work with the Legislature on a solution.
  • The bill would create confusion with existing state or federal law.
  • A state agency was/is already addressing the issue with regulations.
  • The bill would interfere with the work of an existing state agency.
  • The bill would conflict with federal law.
  • Adverse impacts on the private sector.
  • Wants further study or refinement before the particular bill should become law.
  • Vetoing a bill that he had previously vetoed.
  • The bill interferes with the collective bargaining process.

You can find the transcript of the audio in today’s post here.