ORANGE COUNTY: Tobacco Settlement Proposal Gains Momentum
Orange County health activists have obtained enough signatures for to place a proposal for spending the county's share of the tobacco settlement on the November ballot, the Los Angeles Times reports. Members of Citizens Health Alliance to Reinvest the Tobacco Settlement said yesterday that they have gathered 81,000 signatures -- 10,000 more than needed to get the proposal on the ballot. Signature gathering will continue until May 1, with the goal of obtaining 105,000 signatures to cover those that may be disqualified. Despite their momentum, coalition members expressed frustration with the Orange County Board of Supervisors, which has been slow to reopen discussion about ways to spend the tobacco settlement. Both sides remain "far apart" on how to allocate the $35 million settlement. Under its proposal, the coalition would earmark 80% of the funds for antismoking and health care programs. However, the board has proposed using the settlement to expand the county jail and pay down the county's debt. The supervisors indicated Monday that they plan to meet with coalition members, perhaps as early as next week (Warren, 4/25).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.