In the latest of a series of cases that evaluate the relationship between California’s voter initiative process and the California Environmental Quality Act, the Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled that a city or county may not avoid impact review under CEQA by approving a voter-circulated initiative petition itself, without either submitting the matter to the voters or certifying an environmental impact report, or EIR, for the required approvals. Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court of Tuolumne County. In 2004, the Fourth District came to the opposite conclusion in Native American Sacred Site & Environmental Protection Assn. v. City of San Juan Capistrano, 120 Cal.App.4th 961, holding that legislative bodies have no discretion under the Elections Code when presented with an initiative signed by a sufficient number of voters, and thus a council or board approval of such a measure is not subject to CEQA.
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