Special Interests Use California Ballot To Flex Muscle

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California lawmakers cut deals with powerful industries and a wealthy individual last week to avoid costly initiative campaigns in a display of money’s influence in the Legislature and on the ballot. Paint companies, a powerful business group aligned with the beverage industry, and a real estate developer all withdrew on Thursday initiatives they had sponsored. In return, lawmakers backed off bills targeting the paint industry, banned local governments from enacting soda taxes through 2030, and passed a data privacy law to give consumers more control of their data. Some lawmakers are accusing powerful interests of weaponizing the ballot process to ensure concessions. Others say threatening a ballot initiative brought lawmakers to the table on important issues they’d otherwise avoid. California is one of 24 states that allow ballot initiatives.


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