July 15, 2013 3:33 PM
Shane Newell, For the Daily Press

Opponents of the fire prevention fee may soon have reason to rejoice.

On July 19, lawyers from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) will meet with representatives from the State of California in a Sacramento court to determine the fate of an HJTA class action lawsuit against Cal Fire and the California Board of Equalization.

HJTA is challenging the validity of Assembly Bill 29, the fire prevention fee, by arguing it is a tax, according to the lawsuit’s text. Since the “tax” did not receive two-thirds approval in both houses of the California legislature, the HJTA said that “AB 29 did not become a law.”

“The purpose of the hearing is to consider the demurrer that has been filed by the state,” Tim Biddle, HJTA Director of Legal Affairs, said. “(The state) said we are not allowed to bring this case as a class action lawsuit.”

According to Biddle, the State of California believes AB 29’s text did not allow for a class action lawsuit to be levied against it.

Biddle said the state also believes that class action relief is not the preferable method to test the claims made by HJTA.

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