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Our Civil Rights In Court Tomorrow

Thanks to our supporters we have filed legal papers to answer the insurance company lawsuit seeking to strike our ballot arguments against the industry-backed Prop 33. The hearing is in Sacramento Superior Court tomorrow afternoon.

I encourage you to read our briefs in order to understand the importance of the battle against Prop 33, which turns back the clock two decades on auto insurance discrimination.

Twenty four years ago, California voters banned insurance redlining – charging some people so much for auto insurance that they could not afford it because they did not have auto insurance or need it in the past.   The civil rights victory came after the California Supreme Court in King v. Meese acknowledged the injustice of using prior-insurance status as a basis for prices.

Prop 33, as the Attorney General states in her summary, “changes the law to allow insurance companies to set prices based on history of insurance coverage.”   Prop 33 is a civil rights issue, yet in its deceptive lawsuit the industry fails to even acknowledge the voter-approved law it’s repealing.

Mercury Insurance sued the Attorney General and consumer advocates to prevent voters from seeing this ballot summary and from learning in our arguments about the deregulation effort and how good drivers will see their rates skyrocket.

Our brief states: “Supporters of an initiative financed by the Chairman of Mercury Insurance ask this Court to excise criticism of their initiative from the ballot pamphlet, so that California voters seeking an independent analysis of the measure are relegated to the one-sided and frequently deceptive propaganda that has been the hallmark of Mercury’s campaign, since 2002, to evade or overturn a consumer protection statute enacted by California voters.”

The ballot arguments against Prop 33 were signed by Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of California, California Nurses Association, California Alliance For Retired Americans and Consumer Watchdog.  Harvey, myself, and the other advocates were sued as individuals. And the Prop 33 backers ask that we pay their legal fees too!

Thanks to our supporters we are able to argue: “In many instances – and this will be one of them – the Ballot Pamphlet is the only opportunity for opponents of a well-funded measure to speak directly to voters. …The opponents whose statements are challenged here – all respected advocates for non-profit organizations – are entitled to present their analysis, projections and opinions to the voters as written.”

Thank you for all your support. If you have yet to make a contribution to the legal defense fund, please contribute now.  We are still a few thousand dollars from our goal.