On July 10, the California State Court of Appeals agreed to expedite Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v Bowen, C071506. This case, filed July 9, is a challenge to the validity of a law enacted last month that puts constitutional amendment initiatives on the ballot before other initiatives. California will have two initiatives on the November ballot raising state income taxes for certain taxpayers. The initiative backed by Governor Jerry Brown is a proposed constitutional amendment, but the other initiative, backed by Molly Munger, is not a proposed constitutional amendment, just an proposed new law.
Without the bill passed last month, initiatives would go on the ballot in the order in which the proponents submitted signatures. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers lawsuit says the new law’s emergency clause is invalid. Without the emergency clause, the new law could not take effect this year. Normally bills need two-thirds in each house to add an emergency clause, but this bill only passed with a simply majority. The legislature says the emergency clause is valid because the bill also contained an appropriation of $1,000, and therefore the bill is a budget bill and doesn’t need two-thirds to take effect immediately. The plaintiffs say the bill is not a budget bill. Here is the State Court of Appeals’ order, requiring the state to respond by July 30. Ballot measure numbers have already been assigned, so the court declined to issue a stay blocking the numbers from being assigned.