(a) Protests may be filed at any office of the department within 30 days from the first date of posting the notice of intention to engage in the sale of alcoholic beverages at the premises, within 30 days of the mailing of the notification pursuant to Section 23985.5, or within 30 days of the mailing of the notices of the department to public officials as required by Section 23987, whichever is later. The time within which a local law enforcement agency may file a protest shall be extended by the period prescribed in Section 23987, pursuant to a request made under that section.

(b) (1) The department may reject protests, except protests made by a public agency or public official or protests made by the governing body of a city or county, if it determines the protests are false, vexatious, frivolous, invalid or unreasonable, or without reasonable or probable cause at any time before hearing thereon, notwithstanding Section 24016 or 24300. If, after investigation, the department recommends that a license be issued notwithstanding a protest by a public agency, a public official, or the governing body of a city or county, the department shall notify the agency, official, or governing body in writing of its determination and the reasons therefor, in conjunction with the notice of hearing provided to the protestant pursuant to Section 11509 of the Government Code. If the department rejects a protest as provided in this section and issues a license, a protestant whose protest has been rejected may, within 10 days after the issuance of the license, file an accusation with the department alleging the grounds of protest as a cause for revocation of the license and the department shall hold a hearing as provided in Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

(2) The department shall promulgate regulations by January 1, 2016, to implement this provision.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting or restricting any right that the individual making the protest might have to a judicial proceeding.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 502, Sec. 2. (AB 593) Effective January 1, 2014.)