Roundtable Looks At Props 45 & 46, SDPD Body Cameras, Minimum Wage Reboot

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Props 45, 46 Facing Tough Road

Groups opposing California Proposition 45, which provides a mechanism to regulate rate hikes for health insurance, and Prop 46, which seeks to raise the cap on medical malpractice awards established in 1975, have raised millions and are using it on ads.

Prop 45 requires health insurance companies to publicly disclose and justify any proposed rate increase. Further, it gives the insurance commissioner authority to deny a rate hike. The commissioner currently has this authority over auto and homeowners insurance rates.

The flood of ads opposing Prop 45 pitches the measure as giving extraordinary power to one individual, the insurance commissioner, instead of to authorities at Covered California, the state health insurance exchange.

Health insurance companies and doctors are the main funders of the opposition to Prop 45. Consumer Watchdog of Santa Monica is the chief proponent of the measure.

Prop 46 would raise the state cap on malpractice awards from $250,000, a limit established in 1975, to more than $1 million. Ads against Prop 46 say it’s a measure proposed by trial lawyers.

Trial lawyers are indeed funding the campaign for Prop 46; it is also backed by the Consumer Watchdog group. The campaign against it is supported by Insurance companies, the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Medical Association.

SDPD Focuses On Body Cameras

San Diego Police Department Chief Shelley Zimmerman and leaders from a number of public interest organizations met at a local forum this week to discuss the department’s policy regarding body cameras worn by officers.

All video taken by these cameras is considered evidence and, therefore, usually wouldn’t be made public, Zimmerman said. But the chief said she would consider releasing some video, including of a contentious police shooting or arrest, in the interest of pubic safety or public concern.

Describing herself as a “huge proponent” of body cameras, the chief noted that officers must always wear their cameras and can be fired or disciplined if they forget to press record when they encounter a member of the public.

Currently, about 300 SDPD officers are equipped with cameras. The department’s goal is for all 1,800 officers to wear cameras by December, 2015. Copies of the videos are reviewed by the Citizens Review Board on Police Practices.

City's Minimum Wage HIke May Go To Voters

This week those opposed to the city's minimum wage hike checked off one in the victory column when the city clerk announced they had collected enough valid signatures to force a referendum by voters.

The signature-gathering was a major effort of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, led by ex-Mayor Jerry Sanders, and other business advocates. The effort followed two other recent successful endeavors to overturn council legislation — for an affordable housing fee aimed at developers and the Barrio Logan Community Plan.

The wage hike to $11.50 by 2017 was passed by the San Diego City Council in August on a 6 to 3 vote, along party lines. The earliest scheduled election for a possible referendum on the minimum wage is June 2016.

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