Fifth Measure Qualifies for California's November Ballot

Sacramento, California - Secretary of State Debra Bowen today certified the fifth measure for the November 4, 2014, General Election ballot. The initiative, which would require drug and alcohol testing of doctors and increase the cap on pain and suffering damages in medical negligence lawsuits, joins four other measures already on the November state ballot:

  • A water bond measure, which was placed on the ballot by the Legislature;
  • A state finance measure, which was placed on the ballot by the Legislature;
  • A healthcare insurance measure, which qualified through the initiative process; and
  • A measure to overturn two gaming compacts, which qualified through the referendum process.

In order to qualify for the ballot, the initiative needed 504,760 valid petition signatures, which equals five percent of the total votes cast for governor in the November 2010 gubernatorial election. An initiative can qualify via random sampling of petition signatures if the sampling projects a number of valid signatures greater than 110 percent of the required number. The drug testing initiative needed at least 555,236 projected valid signatures to qualify by random sampling, and it exceeded that threshold today.

The Attorney General's official title and summary of the initiative is as follows:

DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTING OF DOCTORS. MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE LAWSUITS. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Requires drug and alcohol testing of doctors and reporting of positive test to the California Medical Board. Requires Board to suspend doctor pending investigation of positive test and take disciplinary action if doctor was impaired while on duty. Requires doctors to report any other doctor suspected of drug or alcohol impairment or medical negligence. Requires health care practitioners to consult state prescription drug history database before prescribing certain controlled substances. Increases $250,000 cap on pain and suffering damages in medical negligence lawsuits to account for inflation. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: State and local government costs associated with higher net medical malpractice costs, likely at least in the low tens of millions of dollars annually, potentially ranging to over one hundred million dollars annually. Potential net state and local government costs associated with changes in the amount and types of health care services that, while highly uncertain, potentially range from minor to hundreds of millions of dollars annually. (13-0016.)

The proponent of this initiative is Robert S. Pack. The proponent can be reached at (510) 346-6200.

The ballot measure qualification deadline for the November 4 election is June 26.

For more information about how an initiative qualifies for the ballot in California, go to www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/how-to-qualify-an-initiative.htm.

Additional information