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Doe v. Wilson

Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, Division Five

August 25, 1997, Decided

No. A076721.


 [*299]  [**189]   PETERSON, P. J. 

In this case, we will reverse a trial court's preliminary injunction barring the State of California's enforcement of its interim emergency regulations enacted to comply with federal legislation, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq.) (the PRA).

The PRA was enacted pursuant to the plenary authority of the federal government over immigration matters. The PRA, inter alia, enacted new eligibility rules for provision of public assistance by states or local entities to undocumented or illegal aliens, and eliminated the eligibility of such aliens  [**190]  (with certain exceptions not here applicable) for "any State or local public benefit" (8 U.S.C. § 1621(a)), defined as including "any . . . health . . . benefit for which payments or assistance are provided to an individual, household, or family eligibility unit by an agency of a State or local government or by appropriated funds of a State or local government" (id., subd. (c)(1)(B)). After the effective date of the PRA,  [***3]  illegal aliens can only become eligible for such benefits "through the enactment of a State law after August 22, 1996 which affirmatively provides for such eligibility." (Id., subd. (d).)

The PRA, thus, prohibited states, after August 22, 1996, from expending public funds to furnish illegal aliens with routine prenatal health services as California had theretofore done, unless new state legislation to the contrary was thereafter enacted. California has not enacted any such new legislation.

Appellants Pete Wilson as Governor, S. Kimberly Belshe as Director of the California Department of Health Services (DHS), and the DHS sought to  [*300]  implement the PRA in the last quarter of 1996 by promulgating interim emergency regulations, to be effective December 1, 1996, and for a period of 120 days, under the provisions of Government Code section 11346.1, subdivision (b) (section 11346.1(b)) and subdivision (e). Appellants did so to conform state laws concerning such health services to the new federal law provisions of the PRA, without deferring such conformance until expiration of the full period normally required for the giving of statutory notice, the solicitation of public [***4]  comments, the holding of public hearings, and the promulgation of final, nonemergency state regulations.

The injunction at issue barred the state from enforcing the emergency regulations. The trial court ruled as a matter of law that no "emergency" requiring prompt regulatory action existed, despite the enactment of a new federal law prohibiting the state program's furnishing of such prenatal health services in the future. Consequently, the state was required to continue that program, proscribed by federal law, for an extended time encompassing the full notice and comment period and the period of public hearings attendant to the promulgation of final state regulations.

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57 Cal. App. 4th 296 *; 67 Cal. Rptr. 2d 187 **; 1997 Cal. App. LEXIS 673 ***; 97 Cal. Daily Op. Service 6791; 97 Daily Journal DAR 11036

CARMEN DOE et al., Plaintiffs and Respondents, v. PETE WILSON, as Governor, etc., et al., Defendants and Appellants. COMMUNITY HEALTH FOUNDATION OF EAST LOS ANGELES, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. PETE WILSON, as Governor, etc., et al., Defendants and Appellants.

Subsequent History:  [***1]  Review Denied November 12, 1997, Reported at: 1997 Cal. LEXIS 7717.

Prior History: Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco County, Nos. 982521/982522. William J. Cahill, Judge.

Disposition: The order granting the preliminary injunction is vacated. The matter is remanded to the trial court with instructions to enter a new order, denying the request for a preliminary injunction.


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Healthcare Law, Medical Treatment, General Overview, Immigration Law, Enforcement of Immigration Laws, State Enforcement, Public Health & Welfare Law, Healthcare, Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion, Remedies, Injunctions, Preliminary & Temporary Injunctions, Justiciability, Mootness, Public Interest Exception, Administrative Law, Agency Rulemaking, State Proceedings