California lead paint liability initiative heads to ballot
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California voters will likely see an initiative on the November ballot that limits the liability of lead paint companies by authorizing bond funding to clean up the paint and other health hazards in buildings in the state.
The California Secretary of State announced Tuesday that backers of the measure collected enough signatures to make the ballot.
In addition, the office announced that another bond measure had qualified that would authorize $1.5 billion for construction at hospitals for children.
The campaign supporting the paint measure is funded by paint companies that would otherwise have to pay for cleanups that could cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
The companies financed the initiative after court rulings declared lead paint to be a public nuisance and required them to pay for cleanup.
Courts have ruled in favor of 10 California cities and counties, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, which argued that ConAgra, NL Industries and Sherwin-Williams knowingly endangered public health by advertising and selling lead paint.
The ballot measure would shift the cost to clean up homes in those communities from the paint companies to California taxpayers.
It declares that lead paint is not a public nuisance and authorizes $2 billion in bond funding to be repaid from the state general fund.
By declaring lead paint a public nuisance, the court may have decreased property values and didn’t give mitigation assistance to property owners living outside the cities and counties that sued, proponents of the ballot measure say.
Santa Clara County and San Francisco filed a lawsuit Tuesday in the California Supreme Court to block the initiative. Lawyers for the jurisdictions say the measure seeks to mislead voters.