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The California special election

The Nov. 8 special election ballot contains eight statewide initiatives. Here are the last four (the first four appeared on B2 Thursday).

October 21, 2005

Proposition 77

Redistricting

What it would do

Give three retired judges the job of redrawing congressional, legislative and Board of Equalization districts, now done by the Legislature. Would require new districts, normally redrawn every 10 years with new census data, to be determined immediately, subject to voter approval in the next general election.

Chief proponents

People's Advocate Inc., an anti-tax group, which oversaw qualification of the measure for the ballot; Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; several Republican members of Congress and the Legislature; business groups, including California Chamber of Commerce; consumer groups, including Common Cause, California Public Interest Research Group and TheRestofUs.org

Major donors backing the measure

California Business Political Action Committee (funded by Ameriquest Capital Corp., State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and others); Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings; Los Angeles high-tech executive William Mundell; insurance commissioner candidate Steve Poizner; California Republican Party, Stockton developer Alex G. Spanos

Chief opponents

Democratic legislative leaders; California Democratic Party; League of Women Voters of California; Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Asian Pacific American Legal Center; Congress of California Seniors

Major donors fighting the measure

Stephen L. Bing, head of Shangri-La Entertainment; American Family Voices, a nonprofit that advocates for low- and middle-income families; Voter Registration and Education Fund (supported by businesses, unions, Indian tribes with casinos); Committee to Protect California's Future (funded by Democratic lawmakers and unions)

Main arguments in favor

Lawmakers have distorted voting districts to favor incumbents and stifle competition. No seat changed parties in the 153 congressional and legislative races on the November 2004 ballot.

Main arguments against

Three judges chosen by politicians cannot represent California's diversity. Requiring that new lines be drawn immediately would disenfranchise roughly 3 million people new to California since the last census, in 2000.

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Proposition 78

Prescription drug discounts

What it would do

Establish a program run by state Department of Health Services for certain needy residents to buy prescription drugs at reduced prices.

Chief proponents

Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers Assn.; Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; business groups, including several chambers of commerce; patient groups, including the California Arthritis Foundation Council; California Senior Advocate League; several NAACP chapters

Major donors backing the measure GlaxoSmithKline; Johnson & Johnson; Merck & Co.; Pfizer Inc.; Abbott Laboratories; AstraZeneca; Amgen Inc.; Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Bristol-Myers Squibb; Eli Lilly; Novartis Pharmaceuticals; Wyeth Pharmaceuticals

Chief opponents

Consumer groups, including the Consumers Union and Consumer Federation; health groups, including Health Access California; senior organizations, including the AARP; California Alliance for Retired Americans; League of Women Voters

Major donors fighting the measure

Alliance for a Better California, a labor coalition; AIDS Healthcare Foundation; Consumers Union

Main arguments in favor

Millions of Californians with family incomes of up to $58,000 a year could buy drugs at projected discounts of 40% or more. Could take effect immediately.

Main arguments against

Drug companies can already offer discounts if they want to. Measure is voluntary, provides no consequences for drug makers that do not offer discounts. State can end the program anytime if companies don't participate.

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Proposition 79

Prescription drug discounts

What it would do

Establish a program run by state Department of Health Services for certain needy residents to buy prescription drugs at reduced prices. Would make "unconscionable" prescription drug prices illegal.

Chief proponents

Consumer groups, including the Consumers Union and Consumer Federation; health advocacy groups, including Health Access California; senior organizations, including the AARP, California Alliance for Retired Americans; League of Women Voters

Major donors backing the measure

Alliance for a Better California, a labor coalition

Chief opponents

California Senior Advocates League; California Arthritis Foundation Council; California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse; Valley Taxpayers Coalition Inc.; several NAACP chapters; several chambers of commerce

Major donors fighting the measure

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Assn.

Main arguments in favor

Up to 10 million Californians -- nearly twice as many as the program proposed by Proposition 78 -- would be eligible to buy drugs at discounts projected to be 50% or more. The state would have the authority to shift business away from drug companies that decline to provide discounts.

Main arguments against

Would allow individuals to file lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies claiming prices are unreasonable.

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