previous sub-section
Battles over Preemption
next section

Conclusion

In California 1994 was a busy year for tobacco control. By bringing together business, labor, local government, and health organizations, Friedman and the AB 13 support coalition successfully transformed public sentiment against smoking into statewide legislation that the tobacco industry did not like. The voluntary health agencies disseminated information about the adverse health effects of secondhand smoke, the CRA helped dispel fears that state smoking restrictions would hurt the restaurant business, and the League of Cities lent support to arguments that the bill would not limit the power of local governments to pass stricter restrictions than those contained in the bill. The coalition prevented the tobacco industry from taking control of the bill and passing a blatantly pro-industry version in the guise of tobacco control.

However, there was no consensus among California's tobacco control advocates on whether it was acceptable to compromise on preemption. Tobacco control advocates in Sacramento viewed the preemption clause in AB 13 as an acceptable compromise because of its 100 percent smoke-free mandate. They did not consider players outside Sacramento relevant, an attitude that damaged efforts to build support in the field for state-level legislative efforts. When asked about the disagreement within the California tobacco control movement over AB 13, a representative


245
of the ACS's Sacramento Public Issues Office responded, “Organizations that are interested in tobacco control and have Sacramento-based lobbying offices were in agreement, and worked together regarding AB 13.”[146]

In 1994 the tobacco industry was nearly successful in tricking California voters into repealing their own tobacco control laws. If the tobacco industry had been able to maintain its original strategy of a stealth campaign, its effort might well have succeeded. By limiting itself to direct mail, the industry would have stayed within a medium where it could control the message and deprive the health community of a platform. However, once the industry was forced out into the more public realm of mainstream advertising, it lost control over the public discourse about Proposition 188.

The Proposition 188 battle reunified tobacco control advocates as they put the fights over AB 13 behind them. According to one LLA director, “The whole process of that [AB 13] was real divisive. You know, we had members on our coalition who were saying, `No, this is great and although it's not perfect, it's better to have something than nothing.' And it's like, `But is it good to have something that's a piece of trash? That's going to eliminate ever doing anything better?'…Huge arguments. Once it finally passed and then Prop 188 came along, it was interesting, everybody sort of banded back together in the fight against Philip Morris.”[57] California's tobacco control community was able to unify against and defeat Philip Morris.

But the passage of AB 13 and defeat of Proposition 188 significantly distracted the health groups from the fight to reauthorize the Proposition 99 programs. The legislation authorizing expenditure of Proposition 99 funds expired on June 30, 1994, at the height of the AB 13 debate and shortly after Proposition 188 had qualified for the ballot. AB 13, in particular, dominated the tobacco control agenda in California, draining the resources of health groups and commanding attention by the press and public.[147] So in what was a critical year for Proposition 99, its chief defenders were largely occupied elsewhere, which did not bode well for reauthorization. In addition, AB 13 and Proposition 188 would give the CMA and other medical groups cover for diverting Health Education Account monies. Proposition 99 was destined for another hard year in the Legislature.


previous sub-section
Battles over Preemption
next section