Court Strikes Down SB 440 Interest Arbitration Statute

Just in . . . the court of appeal has struck down SB 440. Excerpts from the decision:

“In County of Riverside v. Superior Court (2003) 30 Cal.4th 278 (Riverside), the California Supreme Court held an earlier version of that statute unconstitutional, because the statute impermissibly infringed upon home rule powers reserved to local governments by article XI of the California Constitution. (Riverside, at p. 282.) The Legislature amended the statute in response to the Supreme Court’s decision. But the County contends the amended version continues to intrude upon its constitutional authority to establish compensation and terms of employment for county employees. We agree with the County and will therefore grant its petition for writ of mandate.”

. . .

“The foregoing discussion makes clear that section 1299.7 interferes with the constitutional authority of governing bodies to set county employee compensation under section 1, subdivision (b), because the statute permits less than a majority of the governing body to set employee compensation by making the arbitrators’ decision final and binding upon the county. Section 1299.7, subdivision (b) provides that the arbitration panel’s decision will become final and binding unless the governing body acts in accordance with subdivision (c). (§ 1299.7, subd. (b).) Subdivision (c) of that section permits the governing body to veto the arbitration panel’s decision only by a unanimous vote of all of the body’s members. (§ 1299.7, subd. (c).) Therefore, the terms of the statute empower a minority of a board of supervisors to make the arbitrators’ decision binding on the county, even if the majority of that body disagrees.”

More to come after I digest the decision . . .

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