California’s highest court on Wednesday struck down a law that requires businesses and landlords to tell prospective tenants of illegal immigrants they have to pay for their own health insurance or face fines and criminal penalties.
Lawyers for the landlords said the measure was unconstitutional and violated the right to equal protection under the law.
In the decision, the court said the law did not require landlords to notify prospective tenants and did not impose any new burdens on landlords.
But the judges said they did not agree with the landlords, saying the law would create an incentive for employers to fire people, limit job opportunities or put families at risk.
Lawmakers in the state’s two biggest cities, San Francisco and Oakland, also appealed the ruling, but their appeals were rejected.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the ruling was a victory for the people of California and for the values of the people who live in these cities.
“I think it’s important that this law is never enacted again,” Becerras office said in a statement.
“We know that people of all races, religions and ethnicities, as well as people with disabilities, are willing to work hard and put in long hours for a better life for their families and communities.
We are grateful to the judges who made this right.”
The law, which was first passed in 2014, requires employers and landlords of rental properties in San Francisco to provide health insurance coverage for all employees.
The law was passed in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 16,000 people in the United States.
More than 100,000 illegal immigrants who have lived in the Bay Area since the law went into effect face fines of up to $5,000 per violation and can be deported if they are convicted.