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AB-1673 California Environmental Quality Act: judicial challenge: litigation transparency: identification of contributors.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 04/11/2019 09:00 PM
AB1673:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 11, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 19, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1673


Introduced by Assembly Member Salas

February 22, 2019


An act to add Section 21175.5 to the Public Resources Code, relating to environmental quality.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1673, as amended, Salas. California Environmental Quality Act: judicial challenge: litigation transparency: identification of contributors.
The California Environmental Quality Act requires a lead agency, as defined, to prepare, or cause to be prepared, and certify the completion of, of an environmental impact report on a project that it proposes to carry out or approve that may have a significant effect on the environment, or to adopt a negative declaration if it finds that the project will not have that effect. The act authorizes specified entities to file and maintain with a court an action or proceeding to attack, review, set aside, void, or annul an act of a public agency on grounds of noncompliance with the requirements of the act.
This bill would require a plaintiff or petitioner, in an action or proceeding brought pursuant to the act, to disclose the identity of a any person or entity that contributes $1,000 or more, as specified, toward the plaintiff’s or petitioner’s costs of the action or proceeding. The bill also would require the plaintiff or petitioner to identify any pecuniary or business interest related to the project or issues involved in the action or proceeding of any person or entity that contributes $1,000 or more to the costs of the action or proceeding, as specified. those persons or entities. The bill would authorize a court to withhold publicly those disclosures if the court finds that the public interest in keeping that information confidential clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure. The bill would provide that a failure to comply with these requirements may be grounds for dismissal of the action or proceeding by the court.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 21175.5 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

21175.5.
 (a) In an action or proceeding to attack, review, set aside, void, or annul any act or decision of a public agency on the grounds of noncompliance with this division, the plaintiff or petitioner shall include an affidavit identifying every person or entity who made a monetary contribution of one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more, or more or who committed to contribute one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more, more for the preparation of the petition and subsequent action or proceeding.
(b) The plaintiff or petitioner shall have a continuing obligation throughout the course of the proceeding to identify any person or entity that has made a single or multiple contributions or commitments, the sum of which is one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more, and that were intended to fund the action or proceeding.
(c) The disclosures required pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (b) shall also include the identity of any pecuniary or business interest that the person or entity has related to the proposed project.
(d) A court may withhold publicly the disclosures required pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (b) if the court finds that the public interest in keeping that information confidential clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

(d)

(e) A court may, upon its own motion or the motion of any party, take any action necessary to compel compliance with the requirements of this section, up to and including dismissal of the action or proceeding.

(e)

(f) An individual contributing funds to file an action or proceeding pursuant to this division in their individual capacity, and not as a representative for an organization or association, has the right to limit disclosure of their personal information to an in-camera review by the court.

(f)

(g) The information disclosed pursuant to this section may be used to enable a court to determine whether the financial burden of private enforcement supports the award of attorneys’ attorney’s fees in actions or proceedings brought to enforce this division.