May 14 , 2003
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Prop. 36 'Realignment'
Deferred, Probably Dead As a Concept
Gov. Davis Drops Proposal
to Shift Prop. 36 to Counties Amid Legal Hurdles,
Opposition by Legislators and Initiative Sponsors
Contact: Roberta Green, Campaign
for New Drug Policies
310 394-2952, or Whitney Taylor, Drug Policy Alliance:
SACRAMENTO, May 14 - Gov. Gray Davis
effectively conceded defeat today in his effort to
force "realignment" of Prop. 36 funds and
programs, with his May revision of the budget punting
the concept until next year.
Bill Zimmerman, who managed the campaign
for Prop. 36 and serves on the Statewide Advisory
Group supervising implementation, said, "The
Davis administration hatched a flawed plan for realignment
and then failed to admit its own mistakes. That caused
the whole package to be delayed. But in no other area
of proposed realignment did the governor face the
buzzsaw he faced with Prop. 36."
"Gov. Davis saw a major legal
challenge on the horizon," Zimmerman said, "and
unified opposition from a wide range of people concerned
with Prop. 36. It is fair to say the governor finally
blinked. Realigning Prop. 36 was a bad idea, and it
seems now to be a dead idea. I sincerely doubt we
will see this concept come back."
In January, after Gov. Davis first
proposed "realignment" of Prop. 36 programs,
supporters complained that the move would end voter-guaranteed
treatment funding, state oversight and evaluation
of the law's impact. In late April, the Office of
Legislative Counsel cast grave doubt on the legality
of realignment, given the clear mandates of Prop.
36 and the fact that the law's appropriations are
not subject to the budget process. On May 1, a Senate
budget subcommittee voted unanimously against realignment
of Prop. 36 and all alcohol and drug treatment programs.
Whitney Taylor, director of Prop.
36 implementation for the Drug Policy Alliance in
Sacramento, said, "Ending the threat of realignment
means preserving Prop. 36 and all its early successes.
For all the discussion of this issue we have seen
in Sacramento, this is really a victory for the people
on the front lines. We can now reassure them that
they can continue to do the work the voters asked
them to do - to save lives and save money by treating
nonviolent drug users."