News & Publications

District Pencil

Chris Skinnell Speaks on U.S. Supreme Court’s Upcoming “One Person, One Vote” Redistricting Case

On November 17, 2015, Nielsen Merksamer voting rights, redistricting and initiative law partner Chris Skinnell spoke at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum at Claremont McKenna College regarding Evenwel v. Abbott, due to be argued before the United States Supreme Court on December 8, and its potential implications for redistricting and voting rights law.

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Nielsen Merksamer Wins Lawsuit to Invalidate Anti-Development Referendum in Town of Moraga

On October 16, 2015, Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Barry Goode ruled that a referendum aimed at blocking a 36-unit in-fill development project in central Moraga is invalid on two grounds and therefore may not proceed to the ballot.

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California Governor Signs Bills Updating Political and Nonprofit Disclosure Requirements

California Governor Jerry Brown closed out his legislative signing period by approving a flurry of bills that change the disclosure and reporting requirements for political and nonprofit groups active in the state.

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United States Supreme Court Rejects Minor Party Challenge to California’s Top Two Primary

On October 13, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court denied plaintiffs’ petition for certiorari in Rubin v. Padilla, a constitutional challenge by California’s “minor” political parties to California’s Proposition 14 (the Top Two Candidate Open Primary Act). The Court’s refusal to take up the petition means the Court of Appeal’s decision upholding the Act is now final. See Rubin v. Padilla, 233 Cal. App. 4th 1128 (2015).

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District Pencil

Governor Brown Signs New Voting Rights Bills

Eases general law cities’ move to district-based voting in response to threatened litigation and signs bills to combat low voter turnout; vetoes other proposed voting rights bills.

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American Bar Association (ABA) Business Law Section 2015 Annual Meeting, Panelist, “Political Law Update 2015”

San Francisco Ballot Measure Rundown

Voters in San Francisco will have a crowded ballot to sort through at the upcoming City general election on November 3, 2015. In total, the fate of eleven measures will be decided at the ballot box on a variety of issues including affordable housing policies, lobbyist registration and reporting requirements, development plans, and renewable energy standards.

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District Pencil

Legislature Considering Bills to Expand California Voting Rights Act

California cities and other jurisdictions have become familiar-some through expensive litigation-with the California Voting Rights Act (“CVRA”) and its goal of invalidating at-large electoral systems that would not be vulnerable under the federal Voting Rights Act. The voting rights landscape in California could change again, radically, if one or more bills currently pending before the Legislature become law. For example, the “safe harbor” of single-member districts could be stripped away, while at the same time cities are forced into a district-based electoral system, and adjusting district boundaries is subjected to scrutiny and final approval by the California Secretary of State.

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Nielsen Merksamer Co-hosts Leading Corporate Political Compliance Events in Washington D.C. this September

On September 10 and 11, Nielsen Merksamer attorneys will again speak at the Practising Law Institute’s (PLI) annual two-day conference Corporate Political Activities 2015: Complying with Campaign Finance, Lobbying and Ethics Laws.  Senior partner Chip Nielsen has co-chaired and co-organized this popular conference since 1977.  Jason Kaune, who heads the firm’s political law section, has served on the PLI faculty since 2000.

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Chris Skinnell Selected as One of Sacramento Magazine’s Top Lawyers of 2015

Nielsen Merksamer is pleased to announce that the publication Sacramento magazine selected Chris Skinnell for inclusion in its list of Top Lawyers of 2015. Attorneys were selected for inclusion on the list through a survey of Sacramento-area attorneys conducted for Sacramento magazine by Professional Research Services.

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