AB900 Ruling and what it means for Sacramento

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A state judge has ruled sections of AB900 to be unconstitutional. AB900 is the state legislation that allowed projects like the proposed Kings arena to have an expedited environmental review. We attempt to understand what the ruling means for Sacramento's bid to keep the team.

Judge Frank Roesch of Alameda County Superior Court has ruled that Code 21185 of Assembly Bill 900 is unconstitutional. This Code stipulated that challenges to environmental review on designated projects would go immediately to the Court of Appeals. The Judge ruled this unconstitutional as it bypasses the lower courts in the judicial process. This is of particular important to Kings fans as a new arena is expected to be designated such a project that it would qualify for expedited review in the face of any legal challenges. Code 21185 also included the provision that the Court of Appeal could take no longer than 175 days to issue a ruling. This was seen as a major advantage for Sacramento relative to Seattle.

Those are the facts. Now is where it becomes murky.

Aaron Bruski tweeted that the ruling wouldn't apply to the Sacramento arena deal because the deal is not a state-funded project. A spokesman for state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg also told the Bee's Dale Kasler that they do not anticipate any delays due to this ruling.

The Bill still includes a provision requiring these designated projects to proactively prepare documents in case a lawsuit is brought forth. This requirement would still expedite the process of dealing with any challenges.

The concern I have is that if the 175-day rule was to benefit our case, this ruling can't be a non-issue. I'm sure more information will continue to come forward, but either that stipulation never applied or it is now gone. Steinberg's reps and Mayor Kevin Johnson have indicated to Kasler that they are confident the arena will not be stalled by this news.

I'm perfectly willing to accept that they are closer to this situation and know it better than I do. I'm not a lawyer. Steinberg was the principal co-author of the bill. This could be a total non-issue. But this ruling certainly does Sacramento no favors, and I'm eager to learn more about how it may or may not impact Sacramento's bid in the coming days and weeks.

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