Court Order Means CPRA Likely to Make November CA Ballot

June 24, 2020

Volume X, Number 176

June 23, 2020

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June 22, 2020

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Court Order Means CPRA Likely to Make November Ballot

In a recent Californians for Consumer Privacy, was going to court in an effort to prevent their plans to put the California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”) to a referendum vote in November from being derailed by a delay in the reporting of signature counts. A Writ of Mandate that was filed by the advocacy group led to a hearing before the Sacramento Superior Court, which took place on Friday, June 19, 2020.

The Court underscored neither party was at fault during oral arguments, but ultimately ruled in favor of the proponents to ensure that the procedural delay will not prevent CPRA from being on the ballot next November.

What happened?

On Friday, June 19, 2020, Judge Chang of the Sacramento Superior Court heard arguments on a motion for writ of mandate from counsel for petitioners, Alastair Mactaggart, Richard Arney, and Celine Mactaggart (all members of Californians for Consumer Privacy,) and respondent, the California Secretary of State. The petitioners requested the writ of mandate to require the Secretary of State to order counties to report their random sampling counts of CPRA initiative signatures by June 25, 2020. This date is important because the California Election Code requires the CPRA to be certified by the Secretary of State by June 25 in order to appear on the November 2020 ballot.

In her ruling, which was issued on June 19, 2020, Judge Chang highlighted that both the proponents of the initiative as well as the Secretary of State and its staff worked diligently with regard to the initiative at all times, but were confronted with numerous obstacles unique to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court considered the impact of the reporting delay on this measure, taking into account that privacy is a constitutional right in California and that over 931,000 California registered voters signed petitions in support of the initiative. The Court balanced the inalienable right of privacy of Californians against the potential hardships for the Secretary of State, and concluded that issuing a mandate was appropriate. Judge Chang limited her ruling solely to this case and the particular circumstances related to the pandemic.

The parties were given an opportunity to meet and confer to select the appropriate remedy from various options proposed by the Court, which they did. The writ of mandate ultimately issued by the court requires all counties to report their random sample results for CPRA on or before June 25, 2020.

What will happen next?

Following the order of the court, the California Secretary of State will direct the remaining counties to report validated signatures by June 25, 2020 (some counties have already reported.) As of June 19, 2020, in order to qualify for the November 2020 ballot, the remaining counties need to report an additional 82,285 verified signatures in order for the measure to meet the minimum 685,534 signature threshold for automatic qualification from the random sampling count.

At this point, it seems highly unlikely that the CPRA will be withdrawn from the ballot in exchange for a negotiated legislative solution (as was the case with the CCPA.)  The next few days will determine whether the signature threshold has been met, but at this point it is likely that the CPRA will qualify for the November 2020 ballot. If it does qualify for the ballot and passes, it will create a profound shift in California privacy law, reaching significantly beyond the requirements of the CCPA.

© Copyright 2020 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 173


About this

Lauren Kitces Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Attorney Squire Patton Boggs Washington DC

Lauren Kitces is a member of our Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice, where she provides business-oriented privacy and cybersecurity advice to a wide range of clients, leveraging her in-house experience to provide mindful guidance. She has strong international experience, which she uses to help translate pre-existing international efforts into US regulatory compliance. Lauren enjoys the nuance and complexities that come with being in a field that is still evolving and forming both nationally and internationally.

Lauren utilizes her analytical thought-process and over 10...

Lydia de la Torre Privacy Lawyer Squire Patton Boggs
Of Counsel

Lydia de la Torre provides strategic privacy compliance advice related to US and EU privacy, including data protection and cybersecurity law, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), other state’s privacy and cyber laws, US financial privacy laws, and marketing and advertising compliance, as well as information security. She also represents clients in investigations with an eye toward helping them avoid litigation.

Lydia’s work in-house and with organizations has run the gamut, from pre-IPO start-ups to mature Fortune 500 companies, in a multitude of industries, including e-commerce, fintech and computer hardware. This experience has provided her with a direct understanding of client concerns.

Before joining the firm, Lydia served as co-director of the Santa Clara Law School Data Privacy Certificate Program, where she continues to teach privacy law.

Lydia is a frequently invited speaker on privacy-related topics, such as the freedom of speech implications of privacy laws, ethics and privacy, the application of privacy laws to blockchain technology, financial privacy laws and the CCPA. She is also a prolific writer and has been published in a variety of outlets, from mainstream media to privacy and legal publications. She is the editor of Golden Data, a Medium publication focused on data laws.

Lydia is a member of the California Lawyers Association’s Antitrust and Privacy Section and an adjunct professor at Santa Clara Law School.

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