California Supreme Court opens door for state reimbursing local agencies for unfunded mandates
“The Supreme Court held that the California Constitution "establishes a general rule requiring reimbursement of all state-mandated costs," and if the State argues an exception to that rule, such as the federal mandate exception at issue in this case, it "bears the burden of demonstrating that it applies." The Court found that the State did not carry this burden, and that "[i]t is clear federal law did not compel the Regional Board to impose these particular requirements." In doing so, the Court also found that in proceedings before the Commission, the Regional Board was not entitled to deference in its conclusion that the permit requirements at issue were federally mandated. The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal's judgment and remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings on additional issues raised by the State and on the permittees' cross-appeal that the inspection requirements are reimbursable state mandates.