A Los Angeles County Superior Court docket choose has declared that Measure J, which county voters authorised final 12 months to put aside public funds for social providers and jail diversion packages, is unconstitutional.

In a proposed ruling Thursday, Decide Mary Strobel mentioned the modification to the county’s constitution improperly restricts the L.A. County Board of Supervisors from deciding how and the place to spend county funds. Strobel mentioned at a court docket listening to that she expects to make the ruling remaining in coming weeks.

The measure, which handed simply, requires that 10% of domestically generated, unrestricted county cash — an estimated $300 million every year — be spent on providers corresponding to housing, psychological well being remedy and investments in communities harmed by racism. The measure prohibits the county from utilizing the cash on prisons, jails or legislation enforcement businesses.

The present board or any future board, the choose mentioned, may undertake a price range with these spending priorities — however it may possibly’t be compelled to.

“The one query offered is whether or not the poll course of can be utilized to take this budgeting alternative out of the palms of the present and future elected boards,” Strobel wrote in her proposed ruling. “The court docket concludes it can’t.”

The problem to Measure J was introduced by the Coalition of County Unions, a gaggle of labor unions that features the Assn. of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, which represents rank-and-file deputies.

Attorneys for the union coalition contended that voters didn’t have the authority to undertake the measure and argued it impaired the board’s potential to handle the county’s funds. The Board of Supervisors, which selected to place the measure on the poll, countered that the county constitution may handle budgeting points and thus the modification to it was authentic.

An legal professional for the board indicated at Thursday’s listening to that it will most likely attraction the proposed ruling. It was not instantly clear how the ruling may have an effect on the board’s upcoming price range discussions.

Strobel gave legal professionals for each side 15 days to submit extra data they need her to think about earlier than she makes the choice remaining. She instructed the legal professionals, nevertheless, to not make new authorized arguments and indicated that she doesn’t anticipate her remaining place to alter.

Lennie LaGuire, a spokeswoman for the county, mentioned officers are disenchanted by the proposed resolution however are “dedicated to finishing up each the spirit and the letter of voters’ intentions.”

“The county’s place, as argued in court docket, is that Measure J doesn’t forestall the board from directing the price range or complying with state and federal price range necessities,” LaGuire mentioned in an announcement. “There are in depth laws, restrictions and necessities that apply to many different parts of the county’s $36 billion-plus price range, and Measure J is only one of them.”

She mentioned that in a fiscal emergency, the board may cut back the ten% set-aside by a four-fifths vote.

Measure J was positioned on the poll amid widespread calls throughout the nation for police reform spurred by the homicide of George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer.

On the time, the county’s chief government, Sachi Hamai, had warned the board that the fastened allocation of funds would tie their palms and will make future financial downturns tougher to navigate.

Kathryn Barger, whose fifth District in northern L.A. County is the biggest geographically, was the one supervisor against the constitution modification.

Instances employees author Jaclyn Cosgrove contributed to this report.

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