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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 22, 2012
There are more than 350 local measures across California on the Nov. 6 ballot. Among them: • El Monte and Richmond would levy a "soda tax" on sugared beverages. • Arcata proposes a 45% tax on excessive electricity usage, aimed at marijuana "grow houses. " • The desert town of Needles would impose a 10% tax on marijuana sales. • To combat loitering by the homeless, Berkeley would ban sitting on sidewalks in commercial areas from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. • The Davis Joint Unified School District wants voters to renew a $204 parcel tax and add one for $242 if Gov. Jerry Brown's statewide tax initiative fails, to make up for loss of state funds.
ARTICLES BY DATE
OPINION
April 27, 2014 | By Laura W. Brill
Last year's Proposition 8 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court changed the lives of many same-sex couples and their families in California for the better. But the political fallout from that decision is also having a profound and worrisome effect on the state's initiative process. The reason has to do with the nature of the court's action. The Supreme Court did not rule on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 itself. Rather, it decided an issue of standing, concluding that the initiative's backers had not been directly harmed by a lower-court ruling that the law was unconstitutional and that they therefore lacked standing to appeal that ruling.
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OPINION
February 9, 2010 | By Steve Westly and Fred Keeley
Eight years ago, California was the world's fifth-largest economy and surging. Today, we're the eighth largest and falling. What has caused this decline? Simply put, California is being held hostage by partisan gridlock and a state Constitution that is the third longest in the world. The solution is straightforward: Make fundamental changes to our Constitution to streamline government so that California can compete more effectively. Let's face it -- government reform is not a sexy issue.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 24, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO -- Proponents of a measure to raise the cap on some medical malpractice damages submitted signatures Monday afternoon to qualify for the November ballot, paving the way for a costly initiative fight. The measure would change a 1975 California law that has limited pain and suffering damages in malpractice cases to $250,000. The law "has been a true hardship for victims and their surviving families," Bob Pack, an Internet executive from Danville, said at a news conference Monday morning.
BUSINESS
August 22, 2012
Top 5 total contributions to California ballot measures for November 2012 No on Proposition 37 — Labeling food with genetically engineered ingredients: $25 million (Yes: $3 million) Yes on Proposition 39 — Changes corporate tax calculations to fund clean energy: $22.3 million (No: $0) Yes on Proposition 30 — Governor's proposed income and sales tax increase: $20 million (No: $479,000) Yes on Proposition 38 — Raises income taxes to fund education: $18.8 million (No: $0)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 10, 1996
The propositions, as written in our ballots, give new meaning to our English-only law. ARDETH CROCKER Desert Hot Springs
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 28, 2012 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
SACRAMENTO - It's time to stop vacillating. Election day is almost here. There are still a few loose ends to straighten out on the California ballot. Things such as auto insurance, sex slavery and food labeling. Also an obscure legislative redistricting measure. Here are some thoughts - mostly negative - on four measures, in numerical order: •Proposition 33: It's sponsored by one very narrow interest. Mercury Insurance founder George Joseph is bankrolling this initiative - with $16.4 million at last count - in an effort to steal customers from other insurers.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 4, 2012 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
SACRAMENTO - If you're still scratching your head over the long list of state ballot propositions, here's a voter's guide. It's not to be confused with those slick home mailers, often produced by political profiteers masquerading under some phony name such as "Californians for the American Way and Cute Puppies. " Don't even bring that stuff into the house. Half of you probably already have voted by mail. But for the other half who will cast ballots the old-fashioned way Tuesday, here's my take on the 11 props.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 21, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO--A last-minute effort to forge a legislative deal on medical malpractice damages - and avoid a bruising initiative battle between lawyers and medical providers--has stalled, parties involved in the discussions said Friday.  Trial lawyers and consumer groups have squared off against doctors, insurance companies and hospitals over caps on pain and suffering damages in malpractice cases. Those rewards have been capped at $250,000 since 1975, when the state enacted the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, or MICRA.  The lawyers have been gathering signatures for a ballot measure that would raise the cap to approximately $1.1 million.  It would also require doctors to be drug tested and to check a statewide database when prescribing certain medications to stop prescription drug abuse.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 8, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO - Anxious about last summer's ruling on Proposition 8, sponsors of California ballot measures are going to considerable lengths to ensure they will be able to defend them if the state doesn't. Nearly 1 in 4 proposed initiatives include language intended to skirt the ruling and avoid having a measure overturned because of antipathy by state officials, a review of the measures showed. The proposal topics are as varied as public pensions and Internet privacy, each armed with clauses aimed at turning sponsors into semi-public officials able to defend the measures if the state refuses.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 18, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO - A protracted political battle over California's medical malpractice law may be coming to a new front: the voting booth. For decades, trial lawyers and consumer groups have railed against limits on certain damages in malpractice cases, arguing that such restrictions deny victims fair compensation for grisly medical mistakes. Insurance companies, doctors and other healthcare providers have been equally vigorous in defending the law, saying it is crucial to controlling costs and maintaining the availability of care.
BUSINESS
February 9, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - California's minimum wage is pegged to go up $1 an hour to $9 on July 1 and by another buck in 2016. But that isn't high enough or fast enough for Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley software entrepreneur who has dabbled in state politics over the years. The 52-year-old multimillionaire hopes to put a measure on the November ballot raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour March 1, 2015, and to $12 a year later. Unz said he's confident he will get the needed signatures of 504,760 registered voters by the June deadline.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 4, 2014 | By Chris Megerian and Anthony York
SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown will join the push for a new ballot measure to help California stockpile cash as a buffer against future recessions, according to two Capitol officials. The proposed measure, which would need approval from two-thirds of the Legislature before it could be presented to voters in November, would siphon off some tax revenue and channel it into a special savings account. If successful, the account could mitigate the need for deep spending cuts during economic downturns and help California shed its reputation as a financial roller coaster.
OPINION
December 26, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
Californians could be faced in November with a proposal to dramatically alter the pension and benefit system for public employees. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has submitted a statewide ballot initiative that would allow government agencies to negotiate changes to current employees' future retirement benefits, reversing the long-standing principle that once a public employee is hired, his or her retirement benefits cannot be reduced. Public employee unions are already gearing up for a major fight over Reed's initiative, which he could put on the ballot as soon as 2014 (or as late as 2016)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 7, 2013 | By Anthony York
SACRAMENTO - While much of the country is gearing up for the holidays, political forces in Sacramento are girding for battle. Already, special interests are lined up with plans that could shape next year's general election ballot. They are considering propositions to increase medical malpractice awards, hike tobacco taxes and give local governments the right to scale back public employee pensions, among other ideas. Each of the proposals could spawn campaigns costing tens of millions of dollars.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 6, 2013 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO - Duane Dauner, president of the California Hospital Assn., emailed the group's board in September with a warning: The leader of the state's largest healthcare workers' union had told him that if hospitals did not pave the way for the organizing of 20,000 workers, the union would launch ballot measures taking aim at hospital pricing and executive pay. But negotiations on organizing agreements between the two sides stalled. In November, the union, SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, filed two initiatives for the 2014 ballot that would limit hospital prices and cap executive compensation at nonprofit hospitals.
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