Labor Coalition To Submit Signatures To Qualify Prescription Drug Ballot Measure
The Alliance for a Better California -- a coalition of labor unions -- on Thursday said it would turn in signatures on Friday to qualify a proposed ballot measure to address prescription drug costs, the Contra Costa Times reports (LaMar, Contra Costa Times, 5/6).
Under the measure, pharmaceutical manufacturers would be required to provide discounts on drugs for some state residents or face exclusion from Medi-Cal. Supporters of the proposal say it would help the state use its purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices (California Healthline, 5/4).
All signatures for potential ballot measure must be submitted by Friday to qualify for a possible November special election. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) by June 13 would have to call for such an election (Contra Costa Times, 5/6).
In related news, anti-tax advocate Lewis Uhler said he has begun submitting more than 600,000 signatures to qualify a measure that would require unions representing public employees annually to obtain written permission from members to allow their dues to be used for political purposes, the Los Angeles Times reports.
In response to Uhler's proposed ballot measure, labor unions said they are preparing an initiative that would require stockholders of corporations to authorize donations to political candidates and campaigns. The unions said they would not have sufficient signatures to qualify their measure for a possible special election in November but said they would seek to qualify it for one of the elections scheduled for 2006 (Rau/Vogel, Los Angeles Times, 5/6).