Monthly Archives: August 2012

Darrell Steinberg’s medical damages bill surfaces late in session

By Dan Walters  Sacramento Bee, Capitol Alert

With just a few days remaining in the 2012 legislative session, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has filled in a shell bill aimed at overturning, or at least altering, a hotly contested 2011 state Supreme Court ruling on medical damages in personal injury cases.

The revised bill – backed by attorneys who specialize in such cases and opposed by business, medical and insurance groups – cleared the Assembly Judiciary Committee Tuesday on a party-line, 6-3 vote. It had earlier passed the Senate with
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Health insurance regulation initiative qualifies for 2014 ballot

By Torey Van Oot  Sacramento Bee Capitol Alert

An initiative to regulate health insurance rates in California has qualified for the November 2014 ballot.

The Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog drafted the initiative after rate-regulation legislation fell short in the Capitol last year. The measure would give the state insurance commissioner the power to approve or reject health insurance rate changes, a move supporters say would protect consumers from spikes in the cost of coverage.

Proponents collected 800,000 voter signatures this spring in hopes of getting a spot on the Nov. 6 ballot, which will also feature an auto insurance measure opposed by Consumer Watchdog. But election officials were
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Gut-and-amend bill links repeal of fire fee with corporate tax hike

By Jim Sanders  Sacramento Bee Capitol Alert

California’s controversial $150 annual fire prevention fee to rural homeowners would be repealed in exchange for raising taxes on numerous out-of-state corporations under legislation proposed today.

The development comes just one week before the Legislature is scheduled to adjourn for the year.

The new proposal, Senate Bill 1040, would link a GOP push to repeal the fire prevention fee repeal with a key priority of Assembly Speaker John Pérez and most Democrats, Assembly Bill 1500, to impose a corporate tax formula known as the “single sales factor.”

The proposed compromise also could pressure Senate Republicans to provide the necessary votes, at least two, to
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Asm. Mike Gatto Bill to Allow California Motorists to Show Proof of Auto Insurance on iPhone heads to Governor

By Valerie Gotten  California Newswire

Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s (D-Los Angeles) Assembly Bill 1708, a measure which would give California drivers the option to present their proof of auto insurance in electronic form, such as on a smartphone or other personal electronic device, was passed by the Assembly on a vote of 78-1 and now heads to Governor Brown’s desk for his consideration.

“This legislation falls into the category of making people’s lives easier by embracing technology in order to eliminate one of life’s small hassles,” said Assemblyman Gatto, “and it brings laws dealing with possessing and presenting proof of auto insurance into the electronic age.”

Under the measure, auto insurance
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A Flawed Medi-Cal Fix

Los Angeles Times

The state Senate’s top Democrat, Darrell Steinberg, is making a last-minute push for a bill that would allow some injured people to seek recovery for medical bills that are larger than what their doctors and hospitals actually collected. The goal, Steinberg says, is to generate more money for Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid. Indeed, state and federal laws have made it difficult for Medi-Cal to recover much of what it spends on medical care even when the victims win judgments against the people who injured them. But Steinberg wants to solve that problem the wrong way.

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Prop. 33 Language Stands

By Don Jergler  Insurance Journal

The language for an automobile persistency initiative will stand after the California Third District Court of Appeal on Monday denied an appeal filed by the backers of the Proposition 33 campaign seeking to strike part of the ballot language, including the label and title and summary.

The label and summary were prepared by California’s Attorney General, and opposing langue was drafted by Santa Monica, Calif.-based Consumer Watchdog.

“The decision was the campaign’s second failure in two days to convince a court to hide facts about Prop 33 from the Official Ballot Pamphlet sent to all California voters,” according to Consumer Watchdog, which has vehemently opposed
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