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Journal of No. 118


September 25th, 2014

California Propositions, &c. @ 01:26 pm


Prop 43 was removed and replaced with Prop 1, information about which will be supplied at a later date in a Supplemental Voter Information Guide.

Prop 44 was renamed Prop 2.

Prop 2 dickers around with the State's rainy day fund (aka Budget Stabilization Account). Currently, the formula calls for about $3B to go in, but the governor can decide to put in less or none. Prop 2 would make it a minimum of $800M, and when tax revenues are strong, it could be as much as $2B. (Less or none could still be put in, but it would require the Legislature's approval.)

Currently the rainy day fund can just sit there. Prop 2 requires a certain amount to be paid to reduce the state's debt.

Then there's more dickery stuff, where part of the fund is set aside for schools, but then schools are limited as to the size of their own rainy day funds. That latter part seems needless to me.

As usual, it's a complicated mess. But it seems to accelerate paying down state debt, which is good. At the cost, of course, of doing things right now with the money (and whistling about the debt). Moody's and Standard&Poor's like it, so they must feel it will have a good effect on CA's credit rating.

Verdict: Yes?

Prop 45 gives the Insurance Commissioner the power to approve health care rate changes made by insurers. The oversight that prop 103 gave to auto insurance would basically be expanded to health care. Prop 103 seems to have been quite successful. Currently some state agencies 'review' rate changes, but "DMHC and CDI currently have no authority to reject or approve the rates before they take effect." So when you see the 'No' adds saying that his takes power away from a commission and gives it to just one solitary lunatic, that's basically a lie. The committees do not have the power of approval.

Verdict: Yes.

Note: I was pleased to see that the Secretary of State is providing information on the Top Ten donors to the Yes and No campaigns. The total donations from the top ten pro-45 organizations is $2.8M. On the Anti-45 side, Kaiser has donated $14.7M. The top ten amounts to $38M.

Prop 46 purports to be about patient safety, but although it has some good points, I think it's clear that it's actually about giving ambulance chasers bigger payouts. It proposes several things.

The current cap on malpractice is $250,000. Prop 46 would raise it to $1.1 million and then peg to inflation.

Requires health care providers to check CURES (a database for checking to see if patients are abusing prescriptions by going to multiple doctors.) This seems like a reasonable idea. Currently the law will require providers to enroll in CURES, but not necessarily check it.

Requires drug and alcohol tests of doctors after an 'adverse event' (aka Whoops!). This has me on the fence. Obviously, no one wants a tipsy surgeon, but it does seem intrusive. Do we require blood tests of all people involved in car accidents?

Donor Check: Pro: Consumer Attorneys of California and various law firms. Con: Doctors and Insurers. The Con side has outspent the pro-side by a factor of 25 or so.

Verdict: No?

Prop 47 reduces some crimes from (certain non-violent) felonies to misdemeanors. If it passes, some prisoners will be able to appeal their sentences based on the new classification.

I'm indebted to this proposition for introducing me to the wobbler. Some crimes can be either a misdemeanor or a felony.

The thing I dislike most about the prop is that the savings that would come from our prisons, etc. will be estimated and then annually transferred to a new state fund that would be earmarked for things like (anti)truancy programs and mental health/drug addiction programs. While these are worthy, one of the big problems with CA's budget is that there are all these earmarks in place that there is very little budget left over to make decisions with. Making this new fund doesn't help.

On the other hand, the No on 47 side blatantly lies, which always angers me. "While Prop 47's backers say judges will be able to keep dangerous offenders from being released early, this is simply not true."

From the text of 47: prisoner will be released "unless the court, in its discretion, determines that resentencing the petitioner would pose an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety."

Verdict: Yessish?

Prop 48 allows an Indian Tribe to build its casino on land it bought recently (other Indian gaming is on land that has been in the tribe's hands since at least 1988). The tribe would give a fair chunk of change to local government.

One sneakiness in there is that if roads are built to the site, this "would be exempt from certain state environmental regulations".

It's true, when we were sold Indian casinos before, we were told they would only be on 'tribal land'. This could open the dam to casinos anywhere.
On the other hand, who really cares? It'll still be in Outer Fresno.

Verdict: If it didn't have that environmental loophole in there, I'd be for it. But think of the poor three spotted mudskipper or whatever. No-ish.

Candidates

In it's boundless wisdom, the CA electorate passed Prop 14 in 2010, so that the top two vote getters in an open primary proceed to the general election. As I predicted, it has ensured that no third parties make the general election. So simply check your red/blue color and vote accordingly.

OK, I confess there are a few D/D and R/R races out there, but I wonder how many are from places where the other team didn't bother to offer up a candidate. And several are like, "In this corner, State Senator Smith; In that corner, Community Organizer/Father."
 
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Journal of No. 118