UC Law Journal


In November 1986 California voters passed the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, an innovative law that promised to provide greater protection from, and information about, carcinogens and reproductive toxins. The law's origin as an initiative, however, poses special problems of interpretation that may determine whether these goals are accomplished. Despite the great number of initiative measures in California elections, state courts have provided little guidance concerning the construction of initiative statutes. This Note analyzes court decisions that have interpreted initiatives and develops a test to assist those charged with the responsibility of construing an initiative statute. The Note then applies the test to the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, arguing that implementation and amendment of the Act must be done in furtherance of the Act's primary goals, protection and informing the public.

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