Governor’s Proposition 65 Reforms Tabled Until Next Year

Posted: 09/16/2013  browse the blog archive

Negotiations to reform California’s landmark consumer right-to-know law stalled last week between Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration and various interest groups, Christopher Arns of the Sacramento Business Journal reported last week.  Stakeholders had hoped to introduce changes to the law before the California Legislature began its midterm recess on September 13.

Business leaders, environmentalists, attorneys, consumer organizations, and state agencies such as California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), attempted to negotiate ways to improve posting requirements for workplace warnings and reduce expensive civil cases against employers that commit minor violations.  Groups disagreed over litigation reforms and chemical “safe harbor” levels, fearing that some of the proposed changes would result in more litigation, not less.  The goal, according to OEHHA Deputy Director for External and Legislative Affairs Sam Delson, was to agree on language that likely to garner the necessary two-thirds majority votes in both houses of the Legislature.  Talks may continue next year.

The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, commonly known as Proposition 65, has recently become a target for reform, from Rep. Mike Gatto’s bill AB-227, which will give some businesses a 14-day “cure period” to post signs after receiving a notice of violation, to the proposed changes from Gov. Jerry Brown’s office.

The Chanler Group represents citizen enforcers who, acting in the public interest, commence actions against businesses offering products for sale in California that contain chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm without first providing the health hazard warning required by Proposition 65. Citizen enforcers bringing Proposition 65 actions in the public interest may obtain a Court Judgment imposing civil penalties, an injunction requiring reformulation of products, and/or provision of health hazard warnings. The Chanler Group has represented citizen enforcers of Proposition 65 for more than twenty years.