Lockyer to Back Measure H in Court
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) will appear in court today to support Measure H, the Orange County ballot initiative approved by 65% of voters on Nov. 7 that would allocate 80% of the county's tobacco settlement to health care services, the Orange County Register reports (Wisckol, Orange County Register, 1/23). In November, Orange County officials filed a lawsuit to overturn the measure, aiming instead to pursue a plan that would allocate 40% of the tobacco settlement funds toward paying down the county debt (California Healthline, 11/29). Lockyer has said that the county's action against Measure H is "unconstitutional." Lockyer spokesperson Nathan Barankin said, "The county suit raises issues of significance in terms of the rights of the people and deep-pocketed entities attempting to curtail free speech" (Orange County Register, 1/23). Lockyer added that the suit against Measure H aims to "chill civic participation" (Reyes, Los Angeles Times, 1/23). However, James Meade, assistant county counsel, said, "The basis of this suit ... is the statutory duty of the Board of Supervisors to establish the county's budget" (Orange County Register, 1/23). Lockyer will be joined in court today by state Sen. Joe Dunn (D-Santa Ana), who also opposes the county's case (Los Angeles Times, 1/23). Before the county presents its case to the court today, Measure H supporters will first try to have the suit dismissed. County officials, however, hope for an "immediate judgment" disqualifying Measure H (Orange County Register, 1/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.