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Los Angeles, County of v. Commission on State Mandates

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20107
Nos. No. B183981, (Cal. App. 2d Dist., 05/10/2007)

A California appellate court held that California Government Code §17516c is unconstitutional to the extent it exempts regional water board orders from California's subvention requirement. The case arose after the Regional Water Quality Control Board for Los Angeles issued an NPDES permit for municipal stormwater and urban runoff discharges that required the county and several cities to inspect industrial, commercial, and construction water treatment facilities and to install and maintain trash receptacles at transit stops. The county and cities sought reimbursement for carrying out these obligations pursuant to the state's constitutional requirement for subvention of funds arising from a state mandate. The California Commission on State Mandates rejected their claim, arguing that orders from regional water boards were exempt from the subvention requirement under California Government Code §17516c. The appellate court, however, reversed, holding that §17516c contravenes the plain, unequivocal, and all-inclusive reference to "any state agency" in Article XIII B, §6, of the California Constitution—the subvention requirement.