Schwarzenegger Campaigns for Repeal of Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage Law, Other Ballot Measures
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Monday concluded his campaigning with "an uphill dash throughout California" to promote his views on some measures on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot -- including health-related initiatives -- and to lend support to five Republican state legislative candidates, the Los Angeles Times reports. The governor "interspersed his appeals for candidates with a laundry list of advice on many of the 16 measures" on the statewide ballot, according to the Times. Schwarzenegger has endorsed six propositions -- including one promoting stem cell research -- and has recommended that residents vote "no" on eight ballot measures, including a referendum on a law that would require some businesses to provide health benefits to workers (Rau, Los Angeles Times, 11/2).
Under Proposition 71, the state would issue bonds to raise an average of $295 million annually over a decade to promote stem cell research and provide funds for a new stem cell research center at a University of California campus, as well as grants and loans for laboratory projects at other colleges. State analysts say the measure would cost a total of $6 billion, including interest.
Under Proposition 72, state residents can vote "yes" to uphold or "no" to repeal SB 2, a state law scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2006, that will require employers with 200 or more employees to provide health insurance to workers and their dependents by 2006 or pay into a state fund to provide such coverage.
Under the law, employers with 50 to 199 employees will have to provide health insurance only to workers by 2007. Employers with fewer than 20 employees will not have to comply with the law, and the law also will exempt employers with 20 to 49 workers unless the state provides them with tax credits to offset the cost of health coverage (California Healthline, 11/1).
At an appearance in Fresno, where Schwarzenegger campaigned for Assembly candidate Paul Betancourt (R), the governor criticized supporters of SB 2 for advertisements critical of Wal-Mart's health benefits policies, the Times reports.
He said, "To have an initiative out there that is against one store, imagine how crazy that is. We want to get as much business into California as possible. There are still too many people here without a job."
Although the governor has campaigned for several ballot measures, his efforts have been focused largely on defeating two gambling measures and a proposition that would change the state's "three-strikes" law addressing mandatory sentences for felony convictions, according to Dick Rosengarten, publisher of California Political Week. "On the other stuff, it's been half-baked," Rosengarten said, adding, "Yeah, he's for stem cell [research], he's for open primary, but other than the two Indian things and three strikes, he really hasn't put his money behind anything" (Los Angeles Times, 11/2).
The Christian Science Monitor on Tuesday examined California's propositions 71 and 72 in an overview of the 163 ballot measures under consideration in 34 states. The Monitor reported that Proposition 71 is a "national litmus for interest in this frontier of medical science," which is "controversial" because of ethical questions about whether "human embryos should be destroyed to aid the research" (Wood, Christian Science Monitor, 11/2).
KCRW's "Which Way, L.A.?" on Monday reviewed the "most complex and controversial" propositions on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot, including the five health-related measures. The segment includes comments from Robert Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies (Olney, "Which Way, L.A.?," KCRW, 11/1). The complete segments on propositions 61, 63, 67, 71 and 72 are available online in RealPlayer.
Additional information on propositions 61, 63, 67, 71 and 72 is available online.