The Governor today vetoed SB 1633 by Senator Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), a bill sponsored by Western Center for Law and Poverty (WCLP), and supported by Health Access California, Consumers Union, and many other consumer groups working together against medical debt.
This consumer protection bill attempted to remedy a growing problem, as identified by legal services advocates around the state. Some dentists signing people up for credit to pay for their treatment, but a few are charging them (with interest!) before the patients gets the service, or other dubious practices (signing people up under anathesia!). With the good work of Elizabeth Landsberg and others at WCLP, a compromise was reached with the dentists association, it had Republican Senator Sam Aanestad, a dentist, as a co-author, and it passed the Senate 35-3, and the Assembly 79-0. Arbor Day legislation doesn’t get votes like that.
So what was the problem? Here’s the veto message.
The historic delay in passing the 2008-2009 State Budget has forced me to prioritize the bills sent to my desk at the end of the year’s legislative session. Given the delay, I am only signing bills that are the highest priority for California. This bill does not meet that standard and I cannot sign it at this time.
That’s the weakest excuse I’ve ever heard. The budget delay made me do it? What an abdication of responsibility.
What’s the real reason? Pique? Politics? Phooey.