Superior Court Upholds Constitutionality of Measure H
Reaffirming a preliminary ruling made last week, Orange County Superior Court Commissioner Jane Myers yesterday upheld the constitutionality of Measure H, the voter-approved Orange County ballot initiative that requires the county to spend the majority of its share of the tobacco settlement on health care, the Orange County Register reports (Wisckol, Orange County Register, 2/23). In her ruling, Myers found that Measure H "does not interfere" with the administration of the county government or the management of the Board of Supervisors. The Orange County Board of Supervisors had filed a legal challenge to the ballot initiative because they wanted to use the funds to pay off bankruptcy debt and increase jail beds (Reyes, Los Angeles Times, 2/23). Supervisors claimed that the measure violates the state's constitution because it would infringe on future supervisors' budget-making decisions (Orange County Register, 2/23). Supervisor Chuck Smith, who supported the legal challenge against Measure H, said, "I don't know what we're going to do at this point" (Los Angeles Times, 2/23). He added, "After studying [the ruling] and listening to our attorneys, if I think it's not a good decision, then I'll push for an appeal" (Orange County Register, 2/23). Ben de Mayo, assistant county counsel, said: "We believe there was merit in our legal position. We could appeal. But we'll meet with the board, and it's up to the board to decide what to do next." Supervisor Todd Spitzer, who supported Measure H, said, "What I will argue is (that) the voters overwhelmingly approved this measure and you have tested the constitutionality. You've survived the legal hurdle that this money can be spent. We now need to get this money into people's hands for health care" (Los Angeles Times, 2/23).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.