What's on your ballot? My take on the 2020 California propositions

Wondering what the story is with the dozen statewide propositions on your ballot? We've had so many requests that, while Consumer Watchdog hasn't weighed in on every measure, I'm sharing my personal recommendations below.

Prop 14 – LEANING NO
Allows the state stem cell research institute, CIRM, created 15 years ago by a prior ballot measure, to raise another $5.5 billion through bond sales to fund stem cell research.

Wildfire Recovery: Insurance Tips for California Homeowners

 

With 33 active fires and 3.6 million acres burned, including the largest in California history, tens of thousands of Californians have been displaced by the ongoing wildfires. They will need help getting back on their feet when they are finally able to return home.

On today’s Rage for Justice Report podcast, I interviewed Amy Bach, the executive director of the nonprofit United Policyholders. Her website is California’s – and perhaps the country’s – best resource for detailed how-to guides on what to do when disaster strikes.

Insurers Fail To Rip-off Homeowners

The legislative session is over. I am happy to report that the bad guys didn’t win.

Insurance companies were not able to pass legislation in Sacramento allowing them to raise rates on homeowners in fire zones in violation of strict premium regulation created by voter-approved Prop 103. Thanks to your support, the State Senate refused to pass a dangerous insurance industry-backed bill by Assembly member Tom Daly.

California State Legislators Use Coronavirus As An Excuse To Hijack Democratic Process

The following was originally published as an op-ed commentary in the SACRAMENTO BEE on August 11, 2020: https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/article244870462.html

Three democratic procedures safeguard Californians against hasty and dangerous actions by the California State Legislature:

▪ Every bill gets a legislative hearing.

▪ Committee staff provides an impartial analysis of each bill.

▪ Members of the public are heard. 

Legislators Scheming With Insurance Companies To Raise Rates

(The following was originally published as an op-ed commentary in the Mercury News.)

With Californians in COVID lockdown, industry lobbyists are working to overturn voter-approved consumer protections

August 2, 2020

State lawmakers are preparing a gift for you: a massive increase in the premiums you pay to insure your home and property.

633,000 Signatures For Russ Kussman and Steven Olsen

We have now collected more than 633,000 signatures for the Fairness For Injured Patients Act -- which will adjust the 1975 cap on compensation for injured patients.

We expect to finish collecting signatures at the end of March to qualify the ballot initiative for the November California ballot.

I want to share with you two events this weekend that brought home for me the imperative of this effort.

Conviction Is In Every Hand With Trump's Raw Deal Playing Cards

Whether the US Senate acknowledges it or not, we must never forget the raw deal behind Trump's corruption.

Mick Malvaney may be out as White House Chief of Staff, but he will always be the 9 of Clubs on in the Trump's Raw Deal Playing Card deck.

That's why acclaimed LA artist Charles Lynn “Chick” Bragg has teamed up with Consumer Watchdog Campaign (CW's campaign affilate) to offer a 54 face card, special-edition playing card deck featuring searing, satirical portraits of Trump's accomplices.

Why is the Oil Industry Harassing Consumer Watchdog?

As Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Michael Hiltzik lays out in his column today in the Los Angeles Times, the world’s biggest oil and gas companies have wasted over 500 hours of Consumer Watchdog’s legal time over the last 18 months trying to get a peek at how we know what we know about the oil industry.  Thank you to Consumer Watchdog staff attorney Danny Sternberg for all his hard work defending the organization.

Ricardo Lara’s Troubles Aside, Reverting To An Appointed Insurance Commissioner Would Hurt Consumers

Where the troubling trail of accusations dogging Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara will lead is hard to tell. State records show that insurance industry executives and their relatives gave tens of thousands of dollars to Lara’s campaign committee–even as he intervened on their behalf in cases before his agency. 

We’ll know more on Aug. 31. That’s when Lara has promised to make public his communications and calendars of meetings with the executives.

Wildfire Legislation On Track or Train Wreck?

Can Sacramento help wildfire victims get paid without bailing out the investor-owned utilities that claim they cannot pay for all of the wildfires they start?

The debate came to a head today in the California Senate Energy and Utilities Committee, where a parade of skeptics gave tenuous support to a proposal by the Newsom Administration. It tries to make sure shareholders pay for fires utilities start and ratepayers pay for fires where the utilities aren't at fault.