Castellanos v. State of Cal., 2023 WL 2473326 (Cal. Ct. App. 2023)

Ride-share drivers and the Service Employees International Union sought to have Proposition 22 declared unconstitutional under the provisions governing workers’ compensation, initiative power, and separation of powers. The trial court granted the petition. The Court of Appeal reversed holding that while certain provisions of the Proposition were unconstitutional, those provisions could be severed and the remainder of the Proposition was constitutional. First, the Proposition did not intrude on the legislature’s workers’ compensation authority because while the legislature has plenary power, this power was not exclusive as references to the legislature’s power are interpreted to include the people’s reserved right to use the initiative power. Second, the Proposition did not violate the single-subject rule simply when it embraced multiple purposes because Propositions may properly accomplish comprehensive, broad-based reform. Finally, the sections of the Proposition defining what constituted an amendment to the Proposition (and thus required a 7/8 majority in the legislature to amend the Proposition) intruded on the judiciary’s power to define the meaning of amendment of a proposition as already set out in the Constitution. This portion also intruded on the legislature’s authority to address a related area that the Proposition did not specifically authorize or prohibit. Accordingly, the provisions which defined Amendment were severed; however, the remainder of the Proposition, including the 7/8 requirement, remains valid.