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Los Angeles, California

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Elaine Mandel
Elaine Mandel
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Governor Schwarzenegger Flip-Flops on Corporate Responsibility Laws

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California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ties to Big Business are in evidence again as the Governor flip-flops and vetos two bills he used to support.

Court judgments punishing corporations that do things wrong sounds good, right? Not to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, in a turnaround applauded by the business community, has vetoed two measures he once sponsored to boost state revenue by collecting money from wrongdoers in civil court.

Governor Schwarzenegger used to be in favor of this bill – which would allow “punitive” damages, damages that are meant to punish corporations and other defendants for their wrongful conduct, to be shared between the injured plaintiff and the State of California . But now Schwarzenegger flip-flopped and vetoed the bill.

Business groups that have been among the governor’s strongest supporters, including the state Chamber of Commerce and the Civil Justice Association of California, opposed both measures and had urged Schwarzenegger to veto them.

Since Governor Schwarzenegger has been in office, he’s vetoed 20-25% of all the bills that have come to his desk for signature. In the past few months – leading up to next month’s election for governor – Arnold the Moderate has been seen a lot, signing bills like the last month’s environmental protection bill. But now we’re again seeing the real Arnold, Arnold the Conservative – who’s siding with Big Business yet again. And, if he’s re-elected in November, it’s going to be that pro-Big Business, anti-little guy conservative, not the moderate Republican, who the people of California are going to have in power for the next four years. We’ll be seeing lots more of the Arnold who vetoed extending workers compensation benefits to injured workers and a lot less of that pre-election governor who’s recently been trying to curry favor with the voters by championing issues that are popular with voters, like prescription drugs.

Think long and hard before you vote on November 7, 2006. Four years is a long time.