Opposition raises millions in ballot battle over health care measures

Sep 12, 2014

Advocates for two health care related ballot measures face a multi-million dollar blockade of money raised by rivals.


John Howard reports in Capitol Weekly: “The figures show that among those donors, opponents are out-raising supporters by about 40-to-1.


“Both measures, Propositions 45 and 46, are sponsored by Consumer Watchdog, an activist group that has targeted the insurance industry and authored voter-approved Proposition 103 of 1988, which created the office of a publicly elected insurance commissioner for the first time and regulated automobile and homeowners insurance rates, among other things.”


“Proposition 45 would give the state insurance commissioner authority to regulate the rates of health insurers, such as HMOs. Proposition 46 would raise the $250,000 cap on pain-and-suffering damages in medical malpractice lawsuits to about $1 million and require doctor drug testing.”


Death penalty support has dropped to a 50-year low, according to a new Field Poll.


Bob Egelko reports for The SF Chronicle: “The survey, conducted from Aug. 14 to Aug. 28, found 34 percent in favor of abolishing the death penalty and 10 percent with no opinion.”


“In 2011, the same poll found 68 percent in support of the death penalty and 27 percent opposed. The current majority is the lowest on record since 1965, when 51 percent of the state's registered voters said they favored capital punishment.”


Candidates in the race for secretary of state took part in a conversation with the Public Policy Institute of Califoria on what they do if elected.


Jim Miller reports for The Sacramento Bee: “”The next secretary of state needs to do more to reverse a trend of sagging voter participation and registration rates, particularly among Latinos, Asians and the young, they said. Both called for speeding up the processing of business paperwork filings.”


“Peterson and Padilla voiced support for Senate Bill 29, a bill on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk that would allow election officials to count late-arriving mail ballots that had been postmarked by Election Day. And they said the office has to do a much better job making campaign-finance data available to the public.”


A venture capitalist’s effort to split California up six-ways may fall short of making it to the 2016 ballot.


John Wildermuth reports for The SF Chronicle: “Facing a Friday deadline, the initiative sponsored by Tim Draper, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, needs at least 207,752 valid signatures from Los Angeles and the four other counties that still have not reported their numbers to California's secretary of state. Anything short of that and the measure fails to qualify.”


“"We're waiting to hear from Los Angeles," said Roger Salazar, a spokesman for the initiative effort. "We're confident that we collected enough signatures to qualify."”


The Obama Administration is providing California emergency earthquake relief requested by Gov. Jerry Brown.


The Associated Press reports: “The White House didn't say how much money may be available, but a preliminary assessment by the governor's office found $87 million in earthquake costs that could be eligible for federal reimbursement.”  


“Funds for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the earthquake is available on a cost-sharing basis for the state along with some tribal and local governments and non-profit groups, the White House said.”

A distinct smudge on the lapel of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s executive portrait is a physical reminder of his former marriage to Maria Shriver.


Chris Megerian reports for The Los Angeles Times: “When the painting was unveiled in the Capitol earlier this week, a blemish was visible where the pin used to be.”


““It’s too bad they couldn’t remove it without creating a smudge that got a lot of attention," Russell said.”


“The removal of Shriver's image from the portrait was first reported by the New York Post. A spokesman for Schwarzenegger did not return a phone call requesting comment.”


There’s a bar in Berkeley that wants to keep alcohol OFF their menu.


Annie Sciacca reports for San Francisco Business Times: “According to a permit application on Berkeley's website, MeloMelo Kava Bar is trying to open at 1709 University Avenue. Owner Nicholas Rivard says in the application that the MeloMelo “aims to be Berkeley’s first and only alcohol-alternative bar.”


“Instead the bar will serve Kava, which has been used as a ceremonial drink in the Pacific Islands and has been reported to have an effect similar to alcohol, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center website. Tea, yerba mate and kombucha will also be on the menu at MeloMelo, but the bar will not serve food or “coffee bean-related” products.”

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