PROP 187: Plans to Reintroduce Ballot Measure Nov. 2000
Proponents of Proposition 187, which would have denied illegal immigrants public services such as education and health care, announced last week their intention to "revive the proposal for the November 2000 ballot." The AP/San Luis Obispo Tribune News reports that California serves about 70,000 illegal immigrants under the Medi-Cal program and notes that in July, Gov. Gray Davis signed legislation confirming the authorization of money for prenatal care for illegal immigrants. Ron Prince, chair of the Proposition 187 movement, said he is drafting a "companion initiative meant to inoculate the measure against the legal maneuvering that doomed [it]" this year. "This was and still is a serious problem that needs to be looked at objectively," he noted. In 1994, California voters passed Proposition 187 with nearly 60% of the vote. The 2000 ballot measure would amend the state constitution to prevent the Legislature from passing any laws permitting the provision of such benefits to illegal aliens. A second initiative would force the governor to pursue challenges against the law "all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and allow proponents to be co- defendants," rather than settling the debate through a federal court mediator. "This is going to be coming back again and again and again, unless we put it in the state constitution, Prince said, adding, "If a governor doesn't like an initiative, he can now mediate that away, arbitrate it ... and get rid of it. It's a problem for any future initiative ... and what we need to do is make sure the governor will never be able to do that again." Opponents argue that aside from the fact that providing care is the "humane thing to do," offering health care to illegal immigrants may save the state money. Mark Silverman, co-counsel in a lawsuit against Proposition 187, said, " ... prenatal care was a perfect example of why states should be allowed to give aid to illegal immigrants," noting that "every dollar spent on prenatal care saves three in after- birth care." In order to be placed on the ballot, both measures would need 670,816 signatures (Lindlaw, AP/San Luis Obispo Tribune News, 10/22).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.