Capitol Alert

California GOP endorses water bond, rainy-day fund

California Republicans have given their blessing to a pair of measures on the Nov. 4 ballot heavily favored by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative Democrats.

Before closing out their biannual convention, the activists voted to support Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond, and Proposition 2, the rainy day fund, signing off on recommendations issued earlier by a party committee led by wealthy mega-donor Charles Munger, Jr.

Speaking in support of the water bond, Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen of Modesto said it was needed to help quench thirsty parts of the state. She also pointed to lawmakers’ successful efforts to slash the package from $11 billion.

“Every single agricultural group in the entire state worked really hard to make sure that No. 1, it prioritized storage and No. 2, that at the end of the day this bond passed the Legislature with nearly unanimous support,” Olsen said.

The party also voted to oppose Proposition 45, which would give the state’s elected insurance commissioner more authority over health insurance rates. Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway of Tulare said health care consumers were already dealing with “the largest government intrusion into our healthcare in a generation,” alluding to the federal health care overhaul.

“The last thing we need is yet another flawed ballot initiative that further embeds government into private health care decisions,” she said. “Prop. 45 will give one politician ... who is a Democrat ... vast new powers over health care. Treatment decisions should be made by doctors and patients, not by a politician.”

In other actions on the measures, taken Sunday or at an earlier date, the state GOP voted to: oppose Proposition 46, which would quadruple the limit on medical malpractice awards and require random drug and alcohol testing of doctors; oppose Proposition 47, which would reduce crimes such as drug possession and receiving stolen property to misdemeanors from felonies; and remain neutral on Proposition 48 to approve a hotly contested tribal gaming compact.