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The Buzz: California Democratic Party makes proposition endorsements

Big financial stakes

in two ballot measures

Two big election battles shaping up this fall are over ballot measures that might not immediately stand out to voters: Proposition 45, which would give the state insurance commissioner regulatory power over health insurance rates, and Proposition 46, which would require drug and alcohol testing of doctors and raise the cap on pain-and-suffering damages in medical malpractice cases.

The financial stakes are potentially enormous, and both sides – trial lawyers and the group Consumer Watchdog on one, doctors, hospitals and insurance companies on the other – are gearing up for a costly fight. But given the highly technical impact that can be difficult to fully grasp, Californians may be looking for other signals on how to vote come November.

Members of the California Democratic Party’s executive board, about 300 local activists, county committee members and elected officials, have been heavily lobbied leading up to this weekend’s biannual meeting at the Oakland Marriott City Center Hotel. Party endorsements on the propositions, which will be decided on Sunday, are seen as a key prize for the dueling campaigns.

– Alexei Koseff

Worth repeating

“This is an opportunity to be on the right side of history.”

Bob Huff, Senate Republican leader, urging Gov. Jerry Brown not to appeal a court decision that declared unconstitutional California’s teacher tenure rules.