The Sequel To Upland: A Calif. Supermajority Tax Showdown
By Robert Merten and Richard Nielsen (February 19, 2019, 2:30 PM EST) -- In August 2017, the California Supreme Court decided California Cannabis Coal. v. City of Upland. Upland addressed an expressly narrow issue, holding that local measures introduced by voter initiative were not required to be presented to the electorate in a general election and could be presented in a special election instead. Notwithstanding Upland's narrow scope, the opinion sparked a much larger debate regarding whether local special taxes introduced by voter initiative are subject to the long-standing requirement in the California Constitution that local special taxes must be passed with a two-thirds supermajority vote by the electorate. What began as a theoretical debate quickly evolved into a practical issue for judicial clarification. In 2018, several local special tax measures introduced by voter initiatives passed with simple majority votes but not two-thirds supermajority votes. Litigation at the trial court level has already commenced regarding the validity of these local special taxes in the counties of San Francisco, Oakland and Fresno....
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