Signatures for Ballot Measures Submitted in Anticipation of Special Election; Three Health-Related Initiatives Proposed
Signatures for eight initiatives, including three health care-related measures, on Tuesday were submitted for a possible November special election, the Los Angeles Times reports (Rau/Salladay, Los Angeles Times, 5/11).
The ballot could include a measure that would require health care professionals to notify a parent or guardian of an unmarried minor 48 hours before performing an abortion. In addition, the Department of Health Services would be required to maintain detailed records of abortions performed on minors, although the records would exclude names. The measure also would impose civil penalties on individuals who coerce a minor to have an abortion (California Healthline, 5/4).
A proposed ballot measure sponsored by the Alliance for a Better California -- a coalition of labor unions, consumer groups and advocates for the elderly -- would require drug makers to provide discounts on medications to state residents whose annual incomes do not exceed 400% of the federal poverty level (Los Angeles Times, 5/11).
Under the proposal, pharmaceutical manufacturers would be required to provide discounts or face exclusion from Medi-Cal. Supporters of the proposal say it would help the state use its purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices under the plan (California Healthline, 5/4).
According to the Sacramento Bee, the measure would provide discounts on prescription drugs to about 10 million California residents (Delsohn, Sacramento Bee, 5/11).
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America submitted signatures for a measure that would ask drug makers to provide voluntary discounts to state residents whose annual incomes do not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level (Los Angeles Times, 5/11). The measure is modeled on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) California Rx proposal. The Senate Health Committee last month rejected a bill (SB 19) that would have enacted the proposal (California Healthline, 5/4).
California Rx would have provided discounts to about five million state residents (California Healthline, 4/28).
Alliance for a Better California intended its measures partly as "bargaining chips" to discourage Schwarzenegger from calling a special election, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Berthelsen, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/11).
Alliance spokesperson Dave Low said, "This was a special election that we've never asked for. We still think it's a waste of taxpayer money." He added, "We've always said if the governor insists on calling a special election, we will use this opportunity to do something real and tangible for the people of California, and that's what our two initiatives ... do."
Alliance also is sponsoring a measure that would "reregulate" the California electricity market, according to the Bee (Sacramento Bee, 5/11).
According to the Times, many Democratic legislators are unwilling to compromise with the governor and maintain that the public does not support his proposals (Los Angeles Times, 5/11).
Schwarzenegger press secretary Margita Thompson said, "The governor was hopeful negotiations would have gone further. Who knows what will happen when we get closer to the date when a special election will need to be called?" (Sacramento Bee, 5/11).
Schwarzenegger must call a special election by mid-June to hold it Nov. 8. If lawmakers can reach agreements prior to that time, legislators could place the agreements on the ballot, or supporters of initiatives supported by the governor could "abandon" them and ask voters to reject the initiatives, the Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 5/11).