State law mandates that every initiative that is going to appear on the ballot must have a legislative hearing sometime before election day. Earlier this week in Sacramento, Proposition 4 – “Sarah’s Law” – or Parental Notification for the third time – was heard by a joint Assembly-Senate health committee.
In a packed hearing room, opponents, including Planned Parenthood, the California Medical Association, the California Teachers Association, and other organizations representing nearly one million Californians watched as Assemblymember Dave Jones pinned the initiative’s author Katy Short to the wall, asking her question after question about the deceptive nature of Prop. 4. “Isn’t it true there is no Sarah? Isn’t it true she was a married woman? Isn’t it true nothing in Prop 4 would have applied to Sarah?” Katy Short could do nothing but resort to slamming the California Legislature.
When the opponents of Prop. 4 took the field, a doctor who treats teenagers, a representative from the ACLU, and Planned Parenthood President Kathy Kneer, turned the discussion to the dangerous effect of Prop. 4 on California’s teens and why voters should reject it for the third time. Following the scheduled testimony, when chair Assemblymember Mervyn Dymally asked for public comment, only a handful of supporters went to the microphone, whereas opponents lined up around the room, representing hundreds of coalition groups opposed to Prop. 4. It was no contest.
The good guys won, hands down. But one side note – an anti-choice fixture in the capitol, Albin Rhomberg, began to take individual pictures of opponents as they lined up at the microphone. This is something he has done for years to scare Pro-Choice activists. Chairman Dymally told him to sit down and stop taking photos…. But this is the kind of campaign from the proponent that we are all up against. For more info about how you can help defeat prop 4 and how to help, visit www.noonprop4.org.
You can watch the committee hearing on Proposition 4 from the California Channel archives for the month of September.
Maggie Shandera Linden has more than 25 years of experience working in local, state and national politics, public affairs and community relations. She has worked in the halls of Congress, as well as the Capitols of California, Oregon, Nevada and Washington D.C. She co-managed the Campaign for Teen Safety (No on Prop 73 and No on Prop 85) and is one of the campaign consultants for No on Proposition 4.