The Recorder recently reported on amendments to A.B. 759, which would ensure that the San Francisco City Attorney may continue to bring UCL actions on behalf of the general public. Business & Professions Code section 17204 permits "any city attorney of a city, or city and county, having a population in excess of 750,000" to seek relief on behalf of the general public. According to the Recorder article, some defendants have begun challenging the City Attorney's standing, arguing that San Francisco's population has dropped below 750,000. The 2004 census indicates that the population shrank by over 4% since 2000 and is now estimated at 744,230.
A.B. 759 would not lower the 750,000 minimum, but would create, in effect, an exception for San Francisco. The Assembly Floor Analysis states that A.B. 759:
Ensures that the City and County of San Francisco will maintain its standing to bring actions under California's Unfair Competition Law (UCL). Specifically, this bill ensures San Francisco's standing by authorizing the city attorney of a consolidated city and county to bring an action under the UCL.San Francisco is the only consolidated city and county in California. As a resident of San Francisco for almost ten years now, I see no reason why a population drop of 6,000 residents should result in dismissal of the city's pending enforcement actions, or why the city's efforts in that regard should be halted. San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera's 2004 speech, "Public Prosecution: Using §17200 to Police the Marketplace," is of interest. The bill passed in the Assembly on January 30 and is now being reviewed in the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.