Two big election battles shaping up this fall are over ballot measures that might not immediately stand out to voters: Proposition 45, which would give the state insurance commissioner regulatory power over health insurance rates, and Proposition 46, which would require drug and alcohol testing of doctors and raise the cap on pain-and-suffering damages in medical malpractice cases.
The financial stakes are potentially enormous, and both sides trial lawyers and the group Consumer Watchdog on one, doctors, hospitals and insurance companies on the other are gearing up for a costly fight. But given the highly technical impacts that can be difficult to fully grasp, Californians may be looking for other signals on how to vote come November.
Thus, members of the California Democratic Partys executive board, about 300 local activists, county committee members and elected officials, have been heavily lobbied leading up to this weekends biannual meeting at the Oakland Marriott City Center Hotel. Party endorsements on the propositions, which will be decided at 11 a.m. on Sunday, are seen as a key prize for the dueling campaigns.
Among those who will also be passing through the meeting are a trio of politicians making bids for statewide office this November: Betty Yee, still locked in a nailbiting race for a spot in the state controller runoff, hosts a welcome at 7 p.m. tonight; Secretary of State nominee Alex Padilla addresses the Saturday luncheon at 12:30 p.m.; and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, seeking reelection and also one the proponents of Prop 45, headlines an ice cream social, Saturday at 8:30 p.m.
VIDEO: For the first time since before the recession, California ended the fiscal year with a surplus. But the state still has plenty of debt to worry about, Dan Walters says.
WHATS UP, TEACH?: Meanwhile, down in Los Angeles, the American Federation of Teachers is also holding its annual convention this weekend. It includes a high profile visit from Gov. Jerry Brown, who will deliver remarks at 10:30 a.m. at the Los Angeles Convention Center. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is also scheduled to speak, Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Sure to be a hot topic at the meeting is the recent Vergara ruling, which struck down teacher tenure laws in California as unconstitutional, though it would a major surprise if Brown or Torlakson said anything about the case. Both of them have remained almost completely silent since the ruling was handed down last month.
Call The Bees Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.