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AB-814 Consumer protection: enforcement powers: investigatory subpoena.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 03/23/2017 09:00 PM
AB814:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 23, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 15, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 814


Introduced by Assembly Member Bloom
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Chiu)

February 15, 2017


An act to amend Section 16759 of the Business and Professions Code, relating to consumer protection.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 814, as amended, Bloom. Consumer protection: enforcement powers: investigatory subpoena.
The Unfair Competition Law (UCL) establishes a statutory cause of action for unfair competition, including any unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business act or practice and unfair, deceptive, untrue, or misleading advertising. Under this law, actions for relief are required to be prosecuted exclusively by the Attorney General, a district attorney, a county counsel authorized by agreement with the district attorney in actions involving violation of a county ordinance, a city attorney of a city having a population in excess of 750,000, or a city attorney in a city and county, or, with the consent of the district attorney, by a city prosecutor in a city having a full-time city prosecutor in the name of the people of the State of California, as specified, or by a person who has suffered injury in fact and has lost money or property as a result of the unfair competition.
Existing law authorizes a district attorney, upon reasonable belief there has been a violation of the UCL or various other laws related to unfair business practices, to exercise all the powers granted to the Attorney General as a head of department to investigate the potential violation, including the authority to issue subpoenas.
This bill would specify that this investigatory power granted to the Attorney General as a head of a department applies to a city attorney of a city having a population in excess of 750,000 or to a city attorney in the of a city and county when those city attorneys reasonably believe that there may have been a violation of the UCL.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 16759 of the Business and Professions Code is amended to read:

16759.
 (a) All those powers granted to the Attorney General as a head of a department under Article 2 (commencing with Section 11180) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code shall be granted to the district attorney of any county when that district attorney reasonably believes that there may have been a violation of Article 2 (commencing with Section 16720) or Article 3 (commencing with Section 16750) of this chapter, or a violation of Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 17000) of this part, or a violation of Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 17200) of this part, and shall be subject to the provisions of Chapter 20 (commencing with Section 7460) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code.
(b) All those powers granted to the Attorney General as head of a department under Article 2 (commencing with Section 11180) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code shall be granted to the city attorney of any city having a population in excess of 750,000 or to a city attorney in of a city and county when the city attorney reasonably believes that there may have been a violation of Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 17200) of this part, and shall be subject to the provisions of Chapter 20 (commencing with Section 7460) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code.
(c) Any investigations investigation pursuant to these powers shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures set forth in Article 2 (commencing with Section 11180) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, including all applicable principles relating to immunity from self-incrimination. However, Section 16758 shall not be construed as providing automatic immunity with respect to the subject of a subpoena issued in connection with that investigation. Court orders sought pursuant to this section shall be sought in the superior court of the county in which the district attorney or city attorney seeking the order holds office.