February 7, 2003
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Prop. 36 Supporters Warn
Governor: Budget Plan Is Illegal
'Realignment' Plan Violates
Ballot Initiative; Proponents Vow Lawsuit
Contact: Roberta Green, Campaign
for New Drug Policies
310 394-2952, or Tony Newman, Drug Policy Alliance:
SACRAMENTO, Feb. 7 - Governor Gray
Davis is being warned today that a part of his budget
plan would violate voter-approved Proposition 36.
Supporters of the law, requiring drug treatment instead
of jail for drug possession, vowed to sue if the proposal
is not withdrawn.
A letter was delivered to Gov. Davis
today by an attorney representing the Campaign for
New Drug Policies (CNDP), which managed the campaign
for Prop. 36, and the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).
The groups argue that the budget plan's far-reaching
"realignment" proposal goes too far where
Prop. 36 is concerned, starting with its plan to end
state funding of Prop. 36.
The letter, by attorney Jonathan
Weissglass of the San Francisco-based firm Altshuler,
Berzon, Nussbaum, Rubin & Demain, concludes that
several changes to Prop. 36 envisioned under realignment
"would be inconsistent with the purposes of the
initiative and frustrate its implementation, and would
therefore be unlawful."
Daniel Abrahamson, director of legal
affairs at DPA and a co-author of Prop. 36, said,
"The authors of Prop. 36 chose to place state
government at the center of Prop. 36 implementation.
This ensures fair and adequate funding, oversight
and auditing. These functions are critical to ensuring
the success of Prop 36. But the governor's proposal
eviscerates the authors' intent and would result in
Prop. 36 programs dying on the vine."
Bill Zimmerman, executive director
of CNDP, said, "In our view, the governor's plan
to change Prop. 36 through realignment must have been
a mistake. But the budget proposal's conflicts with
Prop. 36 are plain. We hope Gov. Davis will recognize
the error and correct it without need for taking this
fight to the legislature or the courts."
COPIES OF ATTORNEY'S
LETTER AVAILABLE ON REQUEST
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