January 17 Luncheon Speaker

Novato Republican Women


Vigo G. (Chip) Nielsen, Jr.

Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Gross & Leoni, LLP

California, a Sanctuary State: What happens when state and federal laws are in conflict?Nielsen


To kick off 2018, the renowned political lawyer and strategist, Chip Nielsen, will discuss the sanctuary state issue and the issues which arise when state and federal laws conflict. In October 2017 Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 54, The Sanctuary State bill, to limit local cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. Can our state or local jurisdictions flout federal law? What will the political and legal repercussions be?

Our speaker, Chip Nielsen, is regarded as one of the best lawyers in his field. In 2016 Chambers and Partners ranked Mr. Nielsen as one of the leading Political Law practitioners in the nation. Chip is a senior political law partner in a firm which handles a wide range of political issues. Of the nearly 350 California statewide and local ballot measures represented by this firm, he was general counsel to 55 statewide and 25 local ones, and he has participated as a co-legal compliance counsel in most all of these recent ballot measure committees. He has also been the author of a half dozen statewide initiatives. Chip has managed two statewide candidate campaigns and has been pro-bono legal counsel to George Moscone and Art Agnos for San Francisco Mayor and to Pete Wilson, twice for U.S. Senate and twice for Governor of California.

Before becoming an attorney, Chip was an Administrative Assistant to a California assembly member, Assistant Deputy State Controller, Chief Administrative Officer of the California Assembly as well as a Chief of Staff to a Lt. Governor. Debate over the sanctuary issue continues following the Kate Steinle verdict. There are an estimated 2.4 million immigrants without legal status in California. SB 54 is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2018, but there is opposition. Whether it is this issue or one of the other topics where California officials disagree with the Trump Administration, we will see more battles stemming from conflicting political outlooks and policy preferences.