COUNTY COMMISSIONS WIN FIRST ROUND OF LEGAL BATTLE

Superior Court rejects AB 99 and upholds Proposition 10 voter protections

Fresno Superior Court Judge Debra Kazanjian issued a ruling declaring that the State acted illegally when they attempted to take $1 billion from the California Children’s Trust Fund administered by Proposition 10/First 5 County Commissions.

“We are pleased, but not surprised by todays favorable ruling that is clear and decisive,” said Sandra Barry, Chair of the Children and Families Commission of Orange County. “We’ve always remained confident that the court would see the blatant attempt to negate the will of the California voters. It’s hard to ignore the fact that less than two years ago, voters in Orange County overwhelmingly reaffirmed their support for the Proposition 10 initiative and rejected the ballot measure to divert local funds to the State by 74 percent.”

The immediate impact of the ruling on county commission funding may be limited since it is anticipated that the State will appeal the trial court decision. The Children and Families Commission of Orange County will defend the ruling if challenged by the State.

California voters approved Proposition 10 in 1998 for the express purpose of funding a broad range of effective, life-changing programs and services designed to ensure that children are healthy and ready to enter school by age 5. AB 99 has effectively tied up $1 billion that could be used now for critical programs and services for young children.

“Our priority is to protect local funding and support critical programs for at-risk children and families,” said Barry.

The Children and Families Commission of Orange County oversees the allocation of funds from Proposition 10, which added a 50-cent tax on tobacco products sold in California. Almost $47 million was allocated last year to fund 170 programs that served over 165,800 young children.  Funds help pay for early education, pediatric primary and specialty health care, children’s dental, homeless prevention, and child development programs for children from the prenatal stage to age five and their families. The Commission’s goal is to ensure all children are healthy and ready to learn when they enter school. For more information, please visit www.occhildrenandfamilies.com.