In the fourth quarter of 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a package of housing-related legislation that included 18 individual bills. Within this package, there were a significant number of important changes aimed at addressing the statewide housing crisis through a variety of measures, including, among others mechanisms, upzoning, approval streamlining and tenant protections.[1]
Continue Reading Tenant Protection Act (AB 1482) – COMPLIANCE GUIDE

This article originally appeared in the California Lawyers Association’s “Real Property Law Journal.”

Like many other sectors in the “sharing economy,”[i] short-term rentals of residential property[ii] (“STRs”) have become a ubiquitous part of the national economy. Often labeled as one of the biggest disrupters in the travel industry, STRs are particularly impactful on the United States tourist sector, with one estimate putting the size of the domestic vacation rental market at $100 billion.[iii] The STR industry is young and, while not yet fully crystallized, flush with growing demand.[iv] The number of consumers utilizing STR options has burgeoned exponentially since 2011,[v] with a reported seven in ten millennial business travelers preferring to stay in local host rentals over more traditional lodging options.[vi]
Continue Reading Is the Popularity of Short-Term Rentals Sustainable, or Will Regulations Weaken Their Current Stronghold?

Public awareness regarding air pollution in the European Union is at an all-time high and citizens expect authorities to act. In this vein, the European Commission[1] has recently taken a number of direct and indirect actions, including engagement of the Court of Justice of the EU, enforcement measures against car manufacturers and a Europe-specific “Green Deal,” to stem the tide of rising air pollution and become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050.
Continue Reading EU is Taking Action: The Fight for Clean Air

As part of his last legislative act of 2019, Governor Newsom signed 18 housing-related bills into law in an attempt to alleviate California’s housing crisis. This package included Senate Bill (“SB”) 329, which prohibits landlords from denying prospective tenants based on their use of certain federal, state, or local subsidies.
Continue Reading New Law Aimed At Assisting Low Income Renters Invokes Additional Restraints on California Landlords

On August 13, 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a request by Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (MISO) to modify its Tariff and pro forma Generator Interconnection Agreement (GIA) to permit shared interconnection facilities among multiple projects in cases where all parties are amenable to such an arrangement. The Tariff modifications now allow electric generators located in MISO to share interconnection facilities through consent agreements. Previously, MISO did not permit the sharing of interconnection facilities between different projects due to the administrative and practical challenges with such arrangements. However, MISO changed its position after FERC issued Order 807, which created a blanket waiver of certain regulatory requirements, including the obligation to file an Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT), for certain entities. MISO noted that Order 807 significantly reduced the administrative complexity of many shared facilities arrangements, and led to increased interest in new interconnection arrangements as a means to speed development and/or reduce development costs. Nevertheless, generators should still be careful to meet all remaining MISO Tariff requirements for such agreements.
Continue Reading FERC Approves MISO’s Tariff Change Permitting Generators to Voluntarily Share Interconnection Facilities

On July 18, 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued Order No. 860.  The order requires entities with or seeking market-based rate authority (sellers) to submit certain data related to FERC’s market power analyses, including its indicative screens and asset appendices, into a “relational database” maintained by FERC.  The order also requires the submission of information associated with long-term firm sales.  When changes occur to data previously submitted, the relational database must be updated monthly by sellers.  The database will be used to, among other things, develop asset appendices and indicative screens for FERC filings that require a market power analysis.  Finally, Order No. 860 altered the deadline for “change in status” filings.  Beginning on January 1, 2021, sellers will need to comply with the order by making a baseline submission and using the “relational database” to make future market-based applications.
Continue Reading FERC Order No. 860 Mandates New Market-Based Rate Filing and Reporting Requirements for Sellers of Electric Energy

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Order No. 856-A on July 18, 2019 granted in part and denied in part a request for rehearing of Order No. 856. Order No. 856 eased restrictions on current or potential interlocking officers and directors, where the circumstances would not involve substantial opportunities for conflicts of interest or self-dealing. Order No. 856 and 856-A will be helpful to individuals employed at financial institutions or at public utilities who seek to or currently hold positions across both types of businesses.  As described in detail below, the orders’ clarifications limited the instances when applicants would be required to obtain Commission approval or file notice of changes, permitted certain temporary appoints, and also eased FERC’s prior position regarding late filings.
Continue Reading FERC Order No. 856-A Clarifies Regulations Regarding Interlocking Directorates of Public Utilities and Certain Other Entities

Recent developments in the energy sector indicate that blockchain technology is being embraced to address a range of issues including network security and improved integration of renewable generation and demand response resources. This emerging technology continues to have the potential to become a disrupter in the energy industry.
Continue Reading Blockchain Continues to Make Headway in the Energy Industry

It is unlawful for unions to secondarily picket construction sites or to coercively enmesh neutral parties in the disputes that a union may have with another employer.  This area of the law is governed by the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), the federal law that regulates union-management relations and the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”), the federal administrative agency that is tasked with enforcing the NLRA.  But NLRB decisions issued during the Obama administration have allowed a union to secondarily demonstrate at job sites and to publicize their beefs over the use of non-union contractors there, provided the union does not actually “picket” the site.  In those decisions, the NLRB narrowed its definition of unlawful “picketing,” thereby, limiting the scope of unlawful activity prohibited by law. Included in such permissible nonpicketing secondary activity is the use of stationary banners or signs and the use of inflatable effigies, typically blow-up rats or cats, designed to capture the public’s  attention at an offending employer’s job site or facilities.
Continue Reading Labor Development Impacting Developers, Contractors, and Landowners

On January 19, 2016, President Obama vetoed legislation that, if approved, would have nullified the Clean Water Rule. The controversial rule, which redefines which water bodies qualify as “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act, was issued by the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in June of 2015 and was immediately challenged by several states and private parties. A joint resolution approved by the Senate last November and by the House earlier this month largely along party-line votes, would have disapproved the rule under the Congressional Review Act and prevented the promulgation of a similar rule. But the President vetoed the resolution, meaning the fate of the rule now rests with the courts.
Continue Reading Bill to Nullify Clean Water Rule Vetoed