Five Health-Related Ballot Initiatives Approved for Nov. 2 Ballot
Secretary of State Kevin Shelley last week announced the approval of 14 propositions that will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot -- the largest number of approved measures since March 2000 -- including five health-related initiatives. Thirty initiatives either failed to receive the required number of signatures in time or stalled in the state attorney general's office (Neufeld/Chong, Los Angeles Times, 7/4). The health-related initiatives on the Nov. 2 ballot are:
- Proposition 61, a $750 million measure that would pay for construction, expansion and equipment for children's hospitals. Including interest, the program would cost about $1.5 billion over 30 years;
- Proposition 63, a measure that would increase by 1% the state personal income tax on individuals whose annual incomes exceed $1 million to finance an expansion of mental health services. The measure would raise an estimated $700 million annually to care for people with severe mental illnesses;
- Proposition 67, an initiative that would add a 3% surcharge to residential telephone bills to fund hospital emergency services and training. The initiative would generate an estimated $550 million annually to fund emergency department services;
- Proposition 71, an initiative that would raise an average of $295 million annually for a decade to promote stem cell research through the issue of state bonds. The measure would provide funds for a new stem cell research center at a University of California campus, as well as grants and loans for laboratory projects at other colleges (California Healthline, 6/4). State analysts say the measure would cost a total of $6 billion, including interest (Los Angeles Times, 7/4); and
- Proposition 72, a referendum that would repeal SB 2 -- a law scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2006, that will require some employers to provide health insurance to workers or pay into a state fund to provide such coverage. Under the law, employers with 200 or more employees will be required to provide health insurance to workers and their dependents by 2006 or pay into the state fund. Employers with 50 to 199 employees will have to provide health insurance only to workers by 2007. Companies with fewer than 20 workers will not have to comply with the law, and the law also will exempt employers with 20 to 49 workers unless the state provides them with tax credits to offset the cost of health coverage (California Healthline, 6/4).
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