Appeals Court Stays Judge Kenny’s Ruling
Late Friday, Governor Jerry Brown and California’s future got some good if temporary news when the Third District Court of Appeals (state, not federal) granted Brown’s request for a stay on Judge Michael Kenny’s ruling blocking the release of more bond funds while the court hears the governor’s appeal:
In a brief announcement, the appeals court said it was granting the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s request for a fast-track review of a decision by Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny, in which he ruled that the state had violated safeguards established in a 2008 bond act and did not have the right to issue any more bonds. A second decision by Kenny found that the state failed to follow proper procedures in issuing the bonds. That ruling will also be reviewed by the appeals court….
An actual order to rescind the funding plan that failed to meet state law was issued last month by Kenny. The appeals court stayed that order but did not reverse the earlier decisions that the order was based on.
The state is still restricted from issuing bonds. The appeals court asked the original plaintiffs, Kings County and two farmers, to file a brief by March 17 and the state to respond within 15 days.
This doesn’t mean that the governor has won this case, far from it, but it’s at least a sign that we can expect a speedy resolution to the issue. If the courts rule in HSR’s favor then that grants some breathing room while the governor and legislators figure out long-term HSR funding solutions, and gives activists time to press the case for using the cap-and-trade funds. If the courts don’t rule that way, then the pressure will be on for quick action.