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News Summary

California Legislature admits holding tobacco bills to stall threat

Publication Date: 4/5/2016
  • Author:Alexei Koseff
  • Publication:Sacramento Bee

It was less than a week from Gov. Jerry Brown's announcement of a historic $15 minimum wage deal to the signing ceremony in Los Angeles on Monday. So what’s the holdup for a package of equally landmark tobacco bills that passed out of the Legislature nearly a month ago and have yet to arrive on Brown's desk?

In a word: politics.

Legislative officials acknowledged on Tuesday something they hadn't before: the bills are being held to avert a threat from the tobacco industry to start a referendum campaign. They still have not determined when they plan to send the measures to the governor.

"Our job is to ensure the passage of these bills and not to help tobacco companies kill these bills," Kevin Liao, spokesman for Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, said. "They''ve been willing to use aggressive tactics, so a tool that we have is when we release the bills to the governor."...