Governor Brown has announced he intends to reform California's Proposition 65. However, no detailed legislative language has been proposed, only an announcement about the California Environmental Protection Agency (the parent of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment which administers Proposition 65) working with the Legislature and "stakeholders" to achieve goals. Of course those greedy lawyers are held up as one reason change needs to occur. While there is no question that some folks have used Prop. 65 to their economic advantage, it is not really a widespread problem; terminate a few licenses to practice (as has been done in the past) and the problem is almost cured. As will be noted in the next blog post on Prop. 65, the real tragedy of Prop. 65 is that the reality of how it is practiced and what the law are the material issues are miles apart. See http://www.rmkb.com/tasks/sites/rmkb/assets/image/The_Flaws_of_Prop.65_TCH.pdf.
The outline of what goals are to be achieved have a nice ring, but reality is in the details. The administration, stakeholders and the Legislature will discuss reforms to a) cap or limit attorney’s fees in Proposition 65 cases; b) require stronger demonstration by plaintiffs that they have information to support claims before litigation begins; c) require greater disclosure of plaintiff’s information; d) set limits on the amount of money in an enforcement case that can go into settlement funds in lieu of penalties; e) provide the State with the ability to adjust the level at which Proposition 65 warnings are needed for chemicals that cause reproductive harm; and, e) require more useful information to the public on what they are being exposed to and how they can protect themselves.
It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. The last attempt at reform sounded good, but in reality made virtually no difference. Stay tuned.