PROPOSITION 10: Challenges Beginning to Materialize
With the initiative yet to be fully implemented, two lawsuits have been filed challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 10, and opponents are collecting signatures to place a repeal measure on the ballot, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. "This is no surprise to us," said Chad Griffin, a spokesperson for Rob Reiner, the originator of the initiative. He added, "The plaintiffs in this case are individuals who sell a product that when used as intended actually causes disease and kills. They certainly do not have the interest of California's children and families at stake. They will stop short of nothing to protect their profits." But Charles Janigian, president of the California Association of Retail Tobacconists, said, "The real issue here isn't about smoking. The real issue here isn't about children. The real issue isn't about Rob Reiner. The real issue here is about unfair taxation and using the initiative process in the state of California abusively to penalize a very small minority for the benefit of the majority." His group and others filed suit in San Diego Superior Court alleging that the "commission set up by Prop. 10 is unconstitutional because it is not under direct state control." They also seek a refund of the levy on cigarettes. Cigarettes Cheaper, a discount chain based in Benicia, filed suit in Sacramento Superior Court "challenging the legality of the taxes and the constitutionality of the new commission." But Prop. 10 attorneys say the commission is constitutional, pointing out its similarities to other agencies such as the Public Utilities Commission and noting that it must detail its expenses and report to the governor and Legislature. Cigarettes Cheaper Vice Chair Ned Roscoe said signature gathering for a new initiative to repeal Prop. 10 "was about 80% complete as of late July." But Griffin said, "[U]ltimately we will prevail and we will further the goal of improving the health and well-being of California's children and families" (Locke, 8/5).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.