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The Legislature is not allowed to rewrite Proposition 103 in any way that undermines its protections.

Proposition 103 was necessary because the California Legislature was too beholden to the insurance industry and refused to pass needed reforms. To protect itself against the insurance lobby once it became law, Proposition 103 specifically prohibits the Legislature from hostile amendments. That hasn’t stopped the Legislature from trying, though.

Text of Proposition 103 as enacted by the voters:

Section 8. Technical Matters

(b) The provisions of this act shall not be amended by the Legislature except to further its purposes by a statute passed in each house by roll call vote entered in the journal, two-thirds of the membership concurring, or by a statute that becomes effective only when approved by the electorate.

Amendments (changes from voter approved law in bold):


Status of Provision:

The insurance industry’s effort to evade Proposition 103 by lobbying state lawmakers to rewrite certain provisions of the initiative has led to several ground-breaking decisions by the California Supreme Court interpreting 103’s prohibition on legislative meddling.

After intense lobbying by surety and credit insurance companies in 1990, the Legislature passed a law, signed by then-Governor George Deukmejian which sought to exempt the two industries from 103’s rate refunds and regulation. This law was invalidated by the California Supreme Court. The case is Amwest Surety Ins. Co. v. Wilson, 906 P.2d 1112 (Cal. 1995).

In addition, the insurance agents’ trade association lobbied the Legislature in 1993 to allow agents to keep their commissions on the premiums subject to Proposition 103 refunds. This would have lowered the amount of the refunds paid to the public. This law was invalidated by the California Court of Appeal, citing the Amwest case. The case is Proposition 103 Enforcement Project v. Charles Quackenbush, Cal.App. 2 Dist.,76 Cal.Rptr.2d 342 (1998).

Source Documents:

Read FTCR’s 6/25/98 news release on court victory against SB 905 in Proposition 103 Enforcement Project v. Charles Quackenbush.

Relevant Legal Materials:




Updated January 28, 2003

Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdog
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