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The Lawsuits
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The SB 493 Lawsuits

ANR and the voluntaries—this time including AHA—sued again, separately, seeking temporary restraining orders against the implementation of SB 493. They asked that the matter be assigned to Judge Warren, who had presided over the earlier case, on the grounds that he already knew the legal issues. The state contested the application to assign the matter to Warren, and the case was assigned to Judge James T. Ford, who had been the judge in ALA's 1992 lawsuit to restore the media campaign.

The health groups argued that SB 493 was not “consistent with the purposes” of Proposition 99 on its face without presenting any evidence that the cuts were hurting the program, as they had done in the AB 816 case. Even so, the health groups won again. Judge Ford issued a temporary restraining order on August 1, 1995, to stop the contested expenditures and issued a preliminary injunction against SB 493 on September 1, 1995.

As with the rulings on AB 816, none of the litigation surrounding SB 493 compelled spending the $64 million in contested funds from the Health Education and Research Accounts, and the governor again simply let the money sit in the bank. Nevertheless, the health groups' victory represented a shot in the arm for the people working in the field. According to Cynthia Hallett,

The lawsuits were really when…the larger sort of California constituencies started moving…the Prop 99 constituency. …People finally got the word out, “This is what's happening, and this is what they're doing. Are we going to sit behind and let this happen?” And a lot of that message came from ANR. …We were able to clearly communicate with our coalition members. And we were able to help. We were able to say, “They're collecting affidavits or letters of support from previous clients. Can you do it?” And sure enough, people were popping them out. And it was great because then the community agencies felt a part of the process. And that's what it takes because they do so much of this work.[36]

The lawsuits also demonstrated how far away from each other the original Proposition 99 coalition members had moved, with the voluntary health agencies on one side and the medical service providers on the other. As noted in the ALA newsletter, “The beneficiaries of the diverted


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tobacco monies, the California Medical Association, California Association of Hospitals and Health Services, medical clinics, the Western Center on Law and Poverty, and the tobacco companies wielded enough political influence to achieve the diversion and are expected to lend legal support to the State's Attorney General in order to keep the Prop 99 money.”[38] The health groups finally accepted that the CMA, CAHHS, and Western Center for Law and Poverty were not even potential allies. They were linked with the tobacco companies.


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The Lawsuits
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