Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Supporters, opponents of Proposition 46 make their case before Legislature

One of the most contentious battles in the November election is over Proposition 46, an initiative to raise the cap for pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice lawsuits and require drug and alcohol testing for doctors. The high-stakes, big-money campaign has pitted insurance companies and medical care providers against consumer advocates and personal injury lawyers – the latest front in a decades-old fight.

Proponents of the measure are hoping the drug screening mandate will compel voters to more than quadruple the damages limit to $1.1 million, which would be the first adjustment to medical injury compensation in 39 years. But polling shows that support has plummeted in recent months and its fate is highly uncertain.

As part of a state law that requires the Legislature to hold public hearings on ballot measures, the Senate and Assembly judiciary, business and health committees will conduct a hearing on Proposition 46 at 1:30 pm. in Room 4202 of the Capitol. Supporters and opponents of the measure will testify, as will as a nonpartisan representative of the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

VIDEO: Dan Walters wonders why the state Senate won’t release its investigation into nepotism allegations. Did Dina Hidalgo know too much?

A FROG ABOVE THE REST: Did you know California has a new state amphibian? As of January 1, it will be the red-legged frog, a threatened species made famous in the Mark Twain short story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez, D-Coachella, who authored the bill elevating the frog to state emblem, will celebrate its signing with the students of Sea View Elementary School in Salton City at 9 a.m. (For fun, check out the entire list of California state symbols, from the grizzly bear and the golden poppy to the square dance, our official state folk dance.)

MAYORS IN CHARGE: The United States Conference of Mayors wraps up its fall leadership meeting in Sacramento today. The capital city’s own Mayor Kevin Johnson, president of the conference, will host a press conference to discuss the outcomes of the meeting, which focused on technological innovation, economic inequality and the events in Ferguson, Mo., 10:30 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on L Street.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: Plans are set for a debate between Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, and Republican challenger Doug Ose on Oct. 8. Find out more about how you can attend at We’re asking readers to help us develop the questions that the candidates will be asked. To submit a question, email

READ MORE: Doctor drug testing latest front in medical malpractice measure