Superior Court ‘Tentatively’ Upholds Measure H
Measure H, the voter-approved ballot initiative that requires Orange County to spend the majority of its tobacco settlement funds on health care, is constitutional, according to a preliminary ruling issued yesterday by Superior Court Commissioner Jane Myers, the Orange County Register reports. However, Myers called the ruling "tentative" and said she will continue to hear additional arguments in the case (Reed, Orange County Register, 2/15). In her ruling, Myers said that Measure H "does not violate or interfere with supervisors' authority under the state's Budget Act." The supervisors filed the lawsuit contesting the constitutionality of Measure H on the grounds that it would "tie the hands" of future supervisors in budget-making decisions. However, Myers ruled that "Measure H does not interfere with the Board of Supervisors' essential governmental function of management of fiscal affairs and is not invalid." Approved in November, the measure would require the county to spend most of its $750 million share of the tobacco settlement on health care, rather than debt reduction or jail beds, as most members of the board had wanted. Dr. J. Brennan Cassidy, who led the effort behind Measure H and is the sole defendant in the suit, said, "I think we would all like to see this be final, but we're happy that the tentative ruling is in our favor" (Reyes, Los Angeles Times, 2/15). Attorneys for the county declined to comment on the case. The Register reports that Myers indicated that "she doubted she would reverse" the preliminary decision (Orange County Register, 2/15).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.