A California judge has blocked from being included on the March 2 election ballot a measure seeking to repeal the state's mandatory health insurance law. The action by Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly is a victory for doctors and labor unions, which supported the law, and a blow to business groups, which denounced it as a new tax on employers. In barring the referendum -- spearheaded by the California Chamber of Commerce and supported by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- Connelly ruled that the petitions used by backers to gather signatures violated election law because they failed to include a brief description of the subject matter at the top of most pages, as required. The judge also deemed the petitions to be "misleading" because they did not disclose that the new law would not require small employers to provide insurance unless given a tax break. The law, signed by former Gov. Gray Davis two days before his recall in October, expands health insurance to roughly 1 million of the state's 6.3 million uninsured by requiring businesses with 50 or more employees to buy coverage for workers and their families or pay into a state insurance fund. The chamber, which collected 620,000 signatures supporting the repeal initiative, said it will appeal the judge's decision. -- by Laura B. Benko
Judge blocks attempt to repeal Calif. insurance law
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