AMERICANS FOR NONSMOKERS RIGHTS v. STATE

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Court of Appeal, Third District, California.

AMERICANS FOR NONSMOKERS' RIGHTS et al., Plaintiffs and Respondents, v. The STATE of California et al., Defendants and Appellants.

AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION OF CALIFORNIA et al., Plaintiffs and Respondents, v. Pete WILSON, as Governor, etc., et al., Defendants and Appellants.

Nos. C022275, C022389.

Decided: December 13, 1996

Daniel E. Lungren, Attorney General, Floyd D. Shimomura, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Linda A. Cabatic, Supervising Deputy Attorney General, and Keith Yamanaka, Deputy Attorney General, for The State of California, Pete Wilson, Kathleen Connell, and Matt Fong, Dennis Eckhart, Supervising Deputy Attorney General, and Thomas R. Yanger, Deputy Attorney General, for Sandra R. Smoley and S. Kimberly Belshe, Defendants and Appellants. Mark Pertschuk, Fredric D. Woocher, Michael J. Strumwasser, Raleigh H. Levine, and Strumwasser & Woocher, Santa Monica, for Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights and Julia Carol, Plaintiffs and Respondents, No. C022275. Diane Perlite, Pleasant Hill, George Waters, and Olson, Hagel, Fong, Leidigh, Waters & Fishburn, Sacramento, for American Lung Association of California, American Cancer Society, California Division, American Heart Association, John Petitt, M.D., Shannon Petitt, Loretta Pigg, Susan Romig, Senator Nicholas C. Petris, Senator Diane Watson, and Senator Tom Hayden, Plaintiffs and Respondents, No. C022389.

In these two appeals consolidated for decision, we conclude that Senate Bill No. 493 (SB 493;  Stats.1995, ch. 194) properly amends Proposition 99 (a 1988 initiative measure entitled the “Tobacco Tax and Health Protection Act of 1988”;  Rev. & Tax.Code, § 30121 et seq.;   hereafter, the Act).

The Legislature is authorized to amend the Act, so long as the amendment is consistent with the purposes of the Act and receives a four-fifths vote in both houses of the state Legislature.  (Rev. & Tax.Code, § 30130.)   In SB 493, the Legislature reduced the percentage of tobacco tax moneys allocated to the Act's Health Education and Research Accounts and correspondingly increased the percentage of tax moneys allocated to the Act's Physician Services and Unallocated Accounts.  (Rev. & Tax.Code, § 30124;  Stats.1995, ch. 194, § 3.)

The four-fifths vote requirement was met in SB 493 and is not at issue here.   The principal issue is whether these percentage changes in the Act's accounts are legally consistent with the Act. Our standard of review on this issue was recently formulated in Amwest Surety Ins. Co. v. Wilson (1995) 11 Cal.4th 1243, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 12, 906 P.2d 1112 (Amwest ), a decision that was not available for the trial court to use.   Under that standard, we conclude SB 493 is valid because SB 493 reasonably can be construed as being consistent with the purposes of the Act. Accordingly, we reverse.

BACKGROUND

The Act is an initiative measure approved by the voters in November 1988.   (Rev. & Tax.Code, § 30121 et seq.;   all further undesignated section references are to the Revenue and Taxation Code unless otherwise noted.) 1  The Act imposes additional taxes on cigarette and tobacco product distributors. (§ 30123.)   For example, the Act imposes an additional excise tax of 25 cents on a standard pack of cigarettes. (§ 30123, subd. (a).)  The Act creates a Cigarette and Tobacco Products Surtax Fund in the state treasury and deposits its taxes into that fund. (§ 30122, subd. (a);  hereafter, sections and subdivisions will be referenced in the form, § 30122(a) or section 30122(a).)

The Cigarette and Tobacco Products Surtax Fund (the Fund) consists of six separate accounts:  the Health Education Account, the Hospital Services Account, the Physician Services Account, the Research Account, the Public Resources Account, and the Unallocated Account. (§ 30122(b).)   At issue here are the Health Education, Physician Services, Research, and Unallocated Accounts.

SB 493 amended section 30124, which dictates, in percentage terms, how much each account in the Fund will receive.  Section 30124(a) states that “all moneys raised pursuant to the taxes imposed by [the Act] shall be deposited into the [F]und as provided in [section 30124(b) ].”  Section 30124(b) specifies that “[m]oneys shall be deposited in the [F]und according to” certain percentages.   SB 493 changed those percentages as follows:

These reallocations to the Physician Services and to the Unallocated Accounts were used to pay for medical services for indigent persons, primarily children.  (1995 Stats., ch. 194, §§ 11–16.) 2

SB 493 did not change the percentages allocated to the Fund's two remaining accounts, the Hospital Services Account and the Public Resources Account.   These two accounts, respectively, are allocated 35 percent and 5 percent.   (1995 Stats., ch. 194, § 3.)

Section 30122(a) is the only codified part of the Act setting forth explicit purposes.  Section 30122(a) states in part:  “(a) Moneys in the [F]und may only be appropriated for the following purposes:  [¶] (1) Tobacco-related school and community health education programs.  [¶] (2) Tobacco-related disease research.  [¶] (3) Medical and hospital care and treatment of patients who cannot afford to pay for those services, and for whom payment will not be made through any private coverage or by any program funded in whole or in part by the federal government.  [¶] (4) Programs for fire prevention;  environmental conservation;  protection, restoration, enhancement, and maintenance of fish, waterfowl, and wildlife habitat areas;  and enhancement of state and local park and recreation purposes.”

Under section 30122(b), the Health Education Account “shall only be available for appropriation for programs for the prevention and reduction of tobacco use, primarily among children, through school and community health education programs”;  the Physician Services Account “shall only be available for appropriation for payment to physicians for services to patients who cannot afford to pay for those services, and for whom payment for physician services will not be made through private coverage or by any program funded in whole or in part by the federal government”;  the Research Account “shall only be available for appropriation for tobacco-related disease research”;  and the Unallocated Account “shall be available for appropriation for any purpose specified in [section 30122(a) ].” (§ 30122(b)(1), (b)(3), (b)(4), (b)(6).)

SB 493 was challenged by, among others, the American Lung Association and Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights (hereafter, the challengers).   The challengers sought a preliminary injunction to enjoin the percentage reductions to the Fund's Health Education and Research Accounts made by SB 493 and to enjoin the corresponding allocations to the Physician Services and the Unallocated Accounts.   The trial court issued the requested preliminary injunction, concluding that the percentages set forth in SB 493 are not consistent with the purposes of the Act.

DISCUSSION

On appeal, the principal issue is whether SB 493 is consistent with the purposes of the Act. Also at issue is whether SB 493 violates the single subject rule or related aspects of it by appropriating money and substantively amending existing law, or by containing more than one item of appropriation.

1. SB 493's Consistency with the Act

Article II, section 10, subdivision (c) of the California Constitution states in part that the Legislature “may amend ․ an initiative statute by another statute that becomes effective only when approved by the [voters] unless the initiative statute permits amendment ․ without their approval.”

 The voters permitted the Act's amendment by the Legislature without their approval but only under certain conditions.   This is proper.  (See Amwest, supra, 11 Cal.4th at p. 1251, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 12, 906 P.2d 1112;  California Common Cause v. Fair Political Practices Com. (1990) 221 Cal.App.3d 647, 652, 269 Cal.Rptr. 873.)   In section 30130, the voters stated:  “This article [article 2, setting forth the codified part of the Act, sections 30121 through 30130] may be amended only by vote of four-fifths of the membership of both houses of the Legislature.   All amendments to this article must be consistent with its purposes.”

The issue is whether SB 493 is consistent with the purposes of the Act.

 Our standard of review for this issue was recently formulated in Amwest, supra, 11 Cal.4th 1243, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 12, 906 P.2d 1112.   The question in Amwest was whether the Legislature properly amended Proposition 103 (the Insurance Rate Reduction and Reform Act, an initiative measure passed in 1988) by enacting Insurance Code section 1861.135.  Section 1861.135 exempted surety insurance from the statutory rate rollback and rate approval provisions of Proposition 103.   The Legislature was authorized in Proposition 103 to amend the proposition, but only to “further [the proposition's] purposes.”  (At p. 1247, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 12, 906 P.2d 1112.)

The Amwest court held that Insurance Code section 1861.135 was invalid because it could not be said, “by any reasonable construction,” that the section furthered the purposes of Proposition 103.  (11 Cal.4th at p. 1256, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 12, 906 P.2d 1112.)   The court reasoned essentially as follows:  Surety insurance had been regulated before Proposition 103 was adopted;  Proposition 103 did not alter the types of insurance that were regulated, but altered only the method of regulation.  (Id. at p. 1260, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 12, 906 P.2d 1112.)

The Amwest court found the road to this “reasonable construction” standard of review by driving between a deferential standard of review and a de novo standard of review.   The deferential standard was rejected because it “might well have the ironic and unfortunate consequence of causing the drafters of future initiatives to hesitate to grant even a limited authority to the Legislature to amend those initiatives․  As a result, the Legislature would be prohibited from making even minor, technical alterations to an initiative to correct drafting errors or facilitate the initiative's operation in changed circumstances.”  (11 Cal.4th at p. 1256, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 12, 906 P.2d 1112.)   The de novo standard fell short because it failed to account for the strong presumption that the Legislature acts within its authority.  (Id. at pp. 1253, 1256, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 12, 906 P.2d 1112.)   Using the deferential and de novo standards as guideposts, the Amwest court fashioned the appropriate standard of review:  “[S]tarting with the presumption that the Legislature acted within its authority, we shall uphold the validity of section 1861.135 if, by any reasonable construction, it can be said that the statute furthers the purposes of Proposition 103.”  (Id. at p. 1256, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 12, 906 P.2d 1112.)

Under the Amwest standard we must conclude SB 493 is valid if, by any reasonable construction, it can be said that SB 493 is consistent with the purposes of the Act. We conclude that SB 493 reasonably can be construed as being consistent with the purposes of the Act.

We reach this conclusion in the context of reviewing the issuance of a preliminary injunction.   In deciding whether to issue a preliminary injunction, a trial court must weigh two interrelated factors:  (1) the likelihood that the moving party will prevail on the merits, and (2) the relative interim harm to the parties from issuance or nonissuance of the injunction.  (Butt v. State of California (1992) 4 Cal.4th 668, 677–678, 15 Cal.Rptr.2d 480, 842 P.2d 1240.)   Our review is limited to whether the trial court abused its discretion.  (Id. at p. 678, 15 Cal.Rptr.2d 480, 842 P.2d 1240.)

Relative interim harm is not at issue.   The principal focus in these preliminary injunction proceedings, up to now, has been whether the percentage changes in the Fund's accounts made by SB 493 are inconsistent with the purposes of the Act as a matter of legal interpretation, that is, as a matter of law.   Based on our legal interpretation that SB 493 reasonably can be construed as being consistent with the purposes of the Act, we conclude the trial court abused its discretion in finding that the challengers are likely to win on the merits.

This conclusion is made on the state of the record before us.   This conclusion does not foreclose the challengers from submitting evidence at trial to show that the percentage changes in the Fund's accounts made by SB 493 rendered SB 493 inconsistent with the purposes of the Act as a matter of fact.   An example of a factual challenge—mentioned simply to illustrate the point and not as an expression of any views on the matter—might be if the Legislature reduced one of the Fund's accounts to such a level that the account's reason for being in the Act could not be carried out.   Another potential factual challenge might be based on section 30125.  Section 30125 states in part:  “Funds expended pursuant to this article ․ shall be used to supplement existing levels of service and not to fund existing levels of service.”   Factual challenges are not before us, however.   What is before us is whether, by any reasonable construction, it can be said that SB 493 is consistent with the purposes of the Act. For reasons we shall now explain, we conclude it can.

 We start with section 30130, which authorizes the Legislature to amend the Act. Section 30130 states in part that “[a]ll amendments to this article must be consistent with its purposes.”  Section 30125 specifies that “[f]unds expended pursuant to this article shall be used only for the purposes expressed in this article ․” The article referred to in sections 30130 and 30125 is article 2 of chapter 2 of part 13 of the Revenue and Taxation Code. Article 2 is the codified portion of the Act. (§§ 30121–30130.)  Part 13 governs cigarette taxation.

Section 30122(a) is part of article 2 and is the only codified part of the Act that contains an explicit statement of purposes.  Section 30122(a) creates the Fund and provides in part:  “The [F]und shall consist of all revenues deposited therein pursuant to this article.   Moneys in the [F]und may only be appropriated for the following purposes:  [¶] (1) Tobacco-related school and community health education programs.  [¶] (2) Tobacco-related disease research.  [¶] (3) Medical and hospital care and treatment of patients who cannot afford to pay for those services, and for whom payment will not be made through any private coverage or by any program funded in whole or in part by the federal government.  [¶] (4) Programs for fire prevention;  environmental conservation;  protection, restoration, enhancement, and maintenance of fish, waterfowl, and wildlife habitat areas;  and enhancement of state and local park and recreation purposes.”

Section 30122(b) sets up the six accounts comprising the Fund and directs how the money in each account is to be spent.   In directing this spending, section 30122(b) tracks the purposes set forth in section 30122(a), incorporating the section 30122(a) language setting forth those purposes.

Thus, sections 30130 and 30125 refer to “purposes” set forth in article 2. The only explicit purposes set forth in article 2 are those expressed in section 30122(a).  Section 30122(a) states the purposes for which the moneys in the Fund may be appropriated.

Section 30124(b), which dictates the percentage amount of the Fund each account is to receive, is not explicitly tied to the statement of purposes in section 30122(a).  Section 30124(b) is linked with section 30122(b).  As noted, section 30122(b) does not itself set forth a statement of purposes but tracks the purposes set forth in section 30122(a).

In light of this statutory structure, the Act reasonably can be construed as not placing in perpetuity the percentages set forth in section 30124(b).   A reasonable construction is that the percentages in section 30124(b) can be changed, as long as the moneys in the Fund are appropriated for the purposes expressed in section 30122(a).

This construction flows not just from a lawyerly reading of the Act. It flows from a healthy dose of common sense as well.   The Act contemplates a changing world and hopes to act positively in that regard.   For example, if the tobacco-related health education component of the Act reduced smoking dramatically, less funds would be needed for education.   If a cure for tobacco-related cancer were found, less funds would be needed for tobacco-related disease research.   Conversely, the incidence of smoking and tobacco disease could rise and more money would be needed for the educational and research purposes of the Act. Surely the Act does not contemplate 20 percent of the Fund going to the Health Education Account when the educational program has worked so well that few Californians smoke any longer.

In enacting SB 493, the Legislature made certain findings reflecting changing conditions in California.   These findings included in pertinent part:

“The growing percentage of uninsured persons in California has put increasing burdens to provide indigent medical care on public systems of health care, including Medi–Cal, county indigent care programs, and clinic programs.

“Since the purposes of the act include research, health, education, and medical care and treatment of indigents, it is critical that the cigarette and tobacco tax funds be allocated in ways that will serve the interests of all Californians in a manner consistent with the purposes specified in the act.

“Efforts to reduce overall smoking in California have led to a significant reduction in the consumption of tobacco.   Overall tobacco consumption in California declined 27 percent between 1988 and 1993.

“While overall smoking declined between 1988 and 1993, smoking levels among adolescents stayed constant.

“As a result of the decline in tobacco consumption, revenues received from the taxation of tobacco have been decreasing.

“Although all Californians may benefit from tobacco education, declining revenues compel placing a higher priority on prevention activities that reach our most vulnerable populations such as children, adolescents, and pregnant women.

“It is vital that scarce revenues be used to meet demands for services in the most efficient way possible.   The Legislature finds that cigarette and tobacco tax funds can be most effectively used in programs that address more than one of the purposes specified in the act.   Thus, efforts to curb tobacco use among medically indigent adolescents can be accomplished through an integrated system of health screening and tobacco education.   Efforts to educate pregnant women and children about the dangers of tobacco use can be effectively conducted by programs that provide health screenings or provide outreach services to these populations.[3]

“The purposes for which [the] Fund revenue may be appropriated are clearly and specifically stated in subdivision (a) of Section 30122 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

“[C]ontinued funding of research at the levels originally enacted would yield little additional insights regarding the effects of tobacco use sufficient to warrant continued expenditure level for research instead of expenditures for health care, screening, and outreach.   Thus, under current circumstances it is more important, at this time, to ensure that health education and indigent care programs are continued than it is to initiate new tobacco-related disease research.”  (Stats.1995, ch. 194, § 1(e)-(k), (q), (t).)

 While legislative findings are not binding on the courts, they are given great weight and will be upheld unless they are found to be unreasonable and arbitrary.  (Amwest, supra, 11 Cal.4th at p. 1252, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 12, 906 P.2d 1112.)

 The challengers look to the Unallocated Account, which received 25 percent of the Fund (under former section 30124(b)(6)) that could be used for any purpose specified in section 30122(a).  (Former § 30124(b)(6);  § 30122(b)(6).)   Citing the Act's original structure and language, they argue that the Unallocated Account is the Act's built-in legislative discretion and that the changing world contemplated by the Act is accounted for by the Unallocated Account.   If the Legislature can simply change the section 30124 percentages, the challengers contend, why is the discretionary Unallocated Account included in the Act.

The state (all defendants are collectively referred to as the state) counters that “[t]he Unallocated Account provides some flexibility to the Legislature to appropriate additional funds to [the Act's] programs, within the normal two-thirds-vote requirement for appropriations bills.  (See Cal. Const., art.   IV, § 12, subd. (d) [governing appropriations from the general fund;  some non-general fund appropriations may require only a majority vote].)  [The Act] may reasonably be interpreted to allow amendment when the need to fund programs serving a particular purpose of [the Act] is, in the Legislature's judgment, of such importance and of such magnitude that more additional funding is necessary than can be provided from the Unallocated Account.   To do this, however, [the Act] requires the more stringent, four-fifths vote by the Legislature. (§ 30130.)   Thus, contrary to [the challengers'] assertions, the Unallocated Account is not rendered superfluous by recognizing the Legislature's authority to amend the percentages of tobacco-tax money to be deposited in accounts.”

Moreover, the Unallocated Account cannot be used to decrease a percentage set forth in section 30124(b).   To use our example above, if the health education component of the Act (receiving 20 percent of the Fund under the original version of section 30124(b)(1)) works wonders and less funds are now needed for that endeavor, the Unallocated Account cannot be used to lower the 20 percent figure.   The Unallocated Account can be used only to augment an account or to decrease a previous augmentation.   Thus, the Unallocated Account does not give the Legislature unallocated discretion.

 However, we are not limited to the express statement of purpose set forth in the codified part of the Act. Where the purpose of an initiative measure is subject to varying interpretations, as here, evidence of its purpose may be drawn from many sources, including its uncodified portions and its ballot materials.  (See Amwest, supra, 11 Cal.4th at p. 1256, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 12, 906 P.2d 1112;  Legislature v. Eu (1991) 54 Cal.3d 492, 504, 286 Cal.Rptr. 283, 816 P.2d 1309.)

In passing the Act, the people made certain uncodified findings and declarations.   The people placed these in section 2 of the Act (hereafter, section 2).   Those findings and declarations are:

“(a) Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in America. [¶] (b) Tobacco-related diseases create immense suffering and personal loss, and a staggering economic cost which all Californians have to pay. [¶] (c) Tobacco-related diseases are a major burden on state and local governments by requiring them to provide medical care and health services. [¶] (d) Tobacco use causes substantial environmental damage, and property damage and loss of life due to fire. [¶] (e) To reduce the incidence of cancer, heart, and lung disease and to reduce the economic costs of tobacco use in California, it is the intent of the people of California to increase the state tax on cigarettes and tobacco products and do all of the following:  [¶] (1) Reduce smoking and other tobacco use among children.  [¶] (2) Support medical research into tobacco-related cancer, heart, and lung diseases.   [¶] (3) Treat people suffering from tobacco-related diseases.  [¶] (4) In recognition of the uncompensated costs of tobacco-related illness, support treatment of patients who cannot afford to pay for services.”

Our state high court, in Kennedy Wholesale, Inc. v. State Bd. of Equalization (1991) 53 Cal.3d 245, 279 Cal.Rptr. 325, 806 P.2d 1360, concluded from section 2 that “[t]he primary stated objective of [the Act], which includes all of the others, is ‘to reduce the economic costs of tobacco use in California․’ ”  (Id. at p. 253, 279 Cal.Rptr. 325, 806 P.2d 1360, incl. fn. 8.)

The findings and declarations comprising section 2 focus exclusively on tobacco use;  the codified purposes set forth in section 30122(a) do not.   Different reasonable constructions can arise from these different vantage points.   For at least four reasons, however, it would be a mistake to conclude that under section 2 and section 2's treatment in Kennedy, SB 493 cannot reasonably be said to be consistent with the purposes of the Act.

First, as noted, the codified purposes in section 30122(a) do not focus exclusively on tobacco use as does section 2. One of these codified purposes includes medical and hospital care and treatment of indigent patients, without requiring that such care and treatment be tobacco-related. (§ 30122(a)(3).)

Second, the ballot materials described this non-tobacco aspect of these indigent medical services in no uncertain terms.   The Legislative Analyst's ballot analysis of the Act stated that “[t]he medical care services qualifying for payment are not limited to the treatment of tobacco-related illnesses.”   The ballot arguments in favor of the Act noted:  “A YES VOTE FOR A 25–CENT TAX ON EVERY PACK OF CIGARETTES will pay for medical care for those who cannot afford it and take some of that burden off the taxpayer.  [¶] California's health care crisis is forcing some hospitals, clinics, trauma centers and emergency rooms to close.   Cities and towns throughout California cannot raise the money necessary to keep them open.   THE CLOSING OF HEALTH CARE FACILITIES PUTS EVERY INDIVIDUAL AND FAMILY IN JEOPARDY.  [¶] ․ [¶] VOTE YES ON 99 for medical care for people who cannot afford health care.  [¶] ․ [¶] THE TRUTH IS IT TAKES MONEY TO DELIVER MEDICAL CARE. Proposition 99 provides additional resources to care for those in need.”

Third, under section 1 of the Act, the Act itself “shall be known and may be cited as the Tobacco Tax and Health Protection Act of 1988.”  (Prop. 99, § 1, italics added.)

Finally, we must look at how Kennedy viewed the Act. Kennedy rejected an argument that the Act violates the constitutional single-subject rule covering initiative measures.  (Cal. Const., art.   II, § 8, subd. (d) [“An initiative measure embracing more than one subject may not be submitted to the electors or have any effect.”].) The Kennedy court reasoned as follows:

“Plaintiff argues that [the Act] violates the single-subject rule because the measure does not guarantee that every expenditure from the [F]und will be related to tobacco use.   To illustrate, moneys from the [F]und may in some cases be spent to assist indigent medical patients whose health problems are not due to smoking and to improve state parks that have not been damaged by fire.

“Obviously, it is possible to imagine expenditures that would fall within [the Act's] spending categories without addressing tobacco-related problems.   However, the measure's spending provisions direct new revenues more precisely to tobacco-related problems than if the electorate had simply omitted any such provisions.   We do not believe the voters' failure to require even greater precision invalidates the measure, since it is well established that an initiative may have ‘collateral effects' without violating the single-subject rule.”  (53 Cal.3d at p. 254, 279 Cal.Rptr. 325, 806 P.2d 1360, italics in original.)

Undoubtedly, the Act has a significant relationship with tobacco use.   If the Legislature were to amend the Act by directing all of the moneys in the Fund to the “enhancement of state and local park and recreation purposes” (a purpose stated in § 30122(a)), a strong case could be made that such an amendment cannot reasonably be construed as being consistent with the “purpose s ” of the Act. (§ 30130.)   SB 493 does not go to this extreme.   The challengers do note, however, that SB 493 reduces funding to the Health Education Account by 50 percent, and reduces funding to the Research Account by 80 percent.   The challengers go on to note that the Health Education and the Research Accounts are the only two accounts in the Act explicitly tied to curing problems caused by tobacco use.

While these numbers score points for the challengers, they do not add up to the whole story.   It is true that these reductions, especially the 80 percent reduction in the Research Account, are large.   But taking the Health Education and the Research Accounts together, they comprised 25 percent of the Fund in the original version of the Act and comprise 11 percent of the Fund under SB 493, a 56 percent reduction.   More significantly, the challengers have no problem with indigent medical care programs receiving 70 percent of the Fund under the original version of the Act (35 percent from the Hospital Services Account, 10 percent from the Physician Services Account, and 25 percent from the Unallocated Account).   Under SB 493, 84 percent of the Fund is now directed to indigent medical care.   That is simply a 20 percent increase.   Furthermore, as the SB 493 legislative findings note, many of the indigent medical care programs have a tobacco education component.  (Stats.1995, ch. 194, § 1(k), (l ).)

From these numbers, the challengers arrange another argument.   They argue that the focus of the Act is on the “front-end” of the system—through the Health Education and the Research Accounts—by preventing tobacco use problems before they arise.   Even assuming that research into tobacco-related diseases can be deemed in the “front-end” (see § 30122(a),(b)), the Health Education and the Research Accounts under the original version of the Act comprised but 25 percent of the Fund. Funds to the medical services accounts (Hospital Services and Physician Services) totaled 45 percent under the original version of the Act (and 70 percent with the undisputed Unallocated Account thrown in).   While an ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure, one can reasonably argue that this “front-end” focus is not as clear as the challengers would have it.   The view becomes even more fuzzy when the high cost of an ounce of mass media education covering a population as large as California's is acknowledged.

SB 493 reduced the percentage allocations of the Health Education and the Research Accounts in the Fund, but continued to fund those accounts.   The Legislature supported these reductions with findings.  (Stats.1995, ch. 194, § 1.)   We cannot say those findings are unreasonable and arbitrary as a matter of law.4  (Amwest, supra, 11 Cal.4th at p. 1252, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 12, 906 P.2d 1112.)   As a matter of legal interpretation on the record before us, we also conclude that SB 493 reasonably can be construed as being consistent with the purposes of the Act. We emphasize that, under Amwest, our job is not to choose the most reasonable construction.   Our job is to determine “if, by any reasonable construction, it can be said that [SB 493 is consistent with] the purposes of [the Act].” (Id. at p. 1256, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 12, 906 P.2d 1112, italics added.)   It is this standard of review that gives proper deference to the Legislature while making review of legislative amendments of initiative measures an authentic process.  (Id. at pp. 1255–1256, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 12, 906 P.2d 1112.)

 Against this legal backdrop, we conclude the trial court abused its discretion in issuing the preliminary injunction.

2. The Single Subject Rule and Related Issues

Also at issue is whether SB 493 violates the constitutional single subject rule or related aspects of it by appropriating money and substantively amending existing law, or by containing more than one item of appropriation.   We find no such violations.

 Article IV, section 9 of the California Constitution requires that every statute “embrace but one subject, which shall be expressed in its title.”   The single subject rule's primary purpose is to prevent “log-rolling” in the enactment of laws.  (Carmel Valley Fire Protection Dist. v. State of California (1987) 190 Cal.App.3d 521, 544, 234 Cal.Rptr. 795 (Carmel Valley ).)  “This disfavored practice occurs where a provision unrelated to a bill's main subject matter and title is included in it with the hope that the provision will remain unnoticed and unchallenged.”  (Ibid.) In order to minimize judicial interference in the Legislature's activities, however, the single subject rule is to be construed liberally.  (Ibid.) A provision violates the single subject rule only if it does not promote the main purpose of the act or does not have a necessary and natural connection with that purpose.  (Ibid.)

The challengers claim that SB 493 violates the single subject rule because the bill simultaneously makes appropriations and substantively amends existing law.   Annual budget bills and special appropriations bills “similar in kind” to annual budget bills have been invalidated under the single subject rule on this basis.  (Carmel Valley, supra, 190 Cal.App.3d at pp. 544–545, 234 Cal.Rptr. 795;  see also Association for Retarded Citizens v. Department of Developmental Services (1985) 38 Cal.3d 384, 394, 211 Cal.Rptr. 758, 696 P.2d 150;  Planned Parenthood Affiliates v. Swoap (1985) 173 Cal.App.3d 1187, 1198, 219 Cal.Rptr. 664.)

The reason for such invalidation was explained in Carmel Valley:  “[T]he annual budget bill [and a special appropriations bill similar in kind to an annual budget bill] is particularly susceptible to abuse of [the single subject] rule.   History tells us that the general appropriation bill presents a special temptation for the attachment of riders.   It is a necessary and often popular bill which is certain of passage.   If a rider can be attached to it, the rider can be adopted on the merits of the general appropriation bill without having to depend on its own merits for adoption.   Therefore, the annual budget bill must only concern the subject of appropriations to support the annual budget and may not constitutionally be used to substantively amend or change existing statutory law.”  (190 Cal.App.3d at p. 545, 234 Cal.Rptr. 795, quoting Planned Parenthood, supra, 173 Cal.App.3d at p. 1198, 219 Cal.Rptr. 664, and citing to Association for Retarded Citizens, supra, 38 Cal.3d at p. 394, 211 Cal.Rptr. 758, 696 P.2d 150;  citations and internal quotation marks omitted.)

The problem for the challengers is that SB 493 is neither an annual budget bill nor a special appropriations bill similar in kind to an annual budget bill.   The special appropriations bill in Carmel Valley deemed “similar in kind” to an annual budget bill was an “ ‘act making an appropriation to pay claims of local agencies and school districts for ․ reimbursement for specified state-mandated local costs, ․’ ” (190 Cal.App.3d at p. 544, 234 Cal.Rptr. 795.)   The special appropriations bill in Carmel Valley therefore covered the general appropriations subject of the state paying local governments for state-mandated costs.

Unlike the special appropriations bill in Carmel Valley, SB 493 amends, enacts, or repeals specific laws involving health care programs for indigents and appropriates money in furtherance of those amendments or enactments.   (Stats.1995, ch. 194.)   SB 493 satisfies the single subject rule by having as its common purpose the funding of health care programs for indigents from proper accounts within the Fund. To invalidate SB 493 on this appropriation/amendment basis would thrust the judiciary impermissibly into the legislative process.

 The challengers also claim that SB 493 violates article IV, section 12, subdivision (d) of the California Constitution, which specifies in part:  “No bill except the budget bill may contain more than one item of appropriation, and that for one certain, expressed purpose.”

As the challengers themselves point out, however, “[c]ourts have likened the one-item appropriations limit of Article IV, section 12(d) to the single-subject rule, and on occasion have allowed a statute to make more than one ‘allocation’ so long as the allocations are for a single purpose.”  (See California Teachers Assn. v. Cory (1984) 155 Cal.App.3d 494, 513, 202 Cal.Rptr. 611;  Metropolitan Water Dist. v. Marquardt (1963) 59 Cal.2d 159, 174–175, 28 Cal.Rptr. 724, 379 P.2d 28.)   One of those occasions is presented here.   As noted, SB 493 has as its common purpose the funding of indigent health care programs from the accounts within the Fund that can be used for such funding.

DISPOSITION

The order granting the preliminary injunction is reversed.   Appellants are awarded their costs on appeal.

FOOTNOTES

1.   The Act added article 2 to chapter 2 of part 13 (covering cigarette taxation) of the Revenue and Taxation Code;  article 2 comprises sections 30121 through 30130.   The sections most pertinent to our analysis are sections 30122, 30124, 30125 and 30130.Section 30122 provides:  “(a) The Cigarette and Tobacco Products Surtax Fund is hereby created in the State Treasury.   The fund shall consist of all revenues deposited therein pursuant to this article.   Moneys in the fund may only be appropriated for the following purposes:  [¶] (1) Tobacco-related school and community health education programs.  [¶] (2) Tobacco-related disease research.  [¶] (3) Medical and hospital care and treatment of patients who cannot afford to pay for those services, and for whom payment will not be made through any private coverage or by any program funded in whole or in part by the federal government.  [¶] (4) Programs for fire prevention;  environmental conservation;  protection, restoration, enhancement, and maintenance of fish, waterfowl, and wildlife habitat areas;  and enhancement of state and local park and recreation purposes. [¶] (b) The fund consists of six separate accounts, as follows:  [¶] (1) The Health Education Account, which shall only be available for appropriation for programs for the prevention and reduction of tobacco use, primarily among children, through school and community health education programs.  [¶] (2) The Hospital Services Account, which shall only be available for appropriation for payment to public and private hospitals licensed pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 1250 of the Health and Safety Code for the treatment of hospital patients who cannot afford to pay for that treatment and for whom payment for hospital services will not be made through private coverage or by any program funded in whole or in part by the federal government.  [¶] (3) The Physician Services Account, which shall only be available for appropriation for payment to physicians for services to patients who cannot afford to pay for those services, and for whom payment for physician services will not be made through private coverage or by any program funded in whole or in part by the federal government.  [¶] (4) The Research Account, which shall only be available for appropriation for tobacco-related disease research.  [¶] (5) The Public Resources Account, which shall only be available for appropriation in equal amounts for both of the following:  [¶] (A) Programs to protect, restore, enhance, or maintain fish, waterfowl, and wildlife habitat on an equally funded basis.  [¶] (B) Programs to enhance state and local park and recreation resources.  [¶] (6) The Unallocated Account, which shall be available for appropriation for any purpose specified in subdivision (a).”Section 30124, as originally enacted, stated:  “(a) With the exception of payments of refunds made pursuant to Article 1 (commencing with Section 30361) of Chapter 6, and reimbursement of the State Board of Equalization for expenses incurred in the administration and collection of the tax imposed by Section 30123, pursuant to its powers vested by this part, all moneys raised pursuant to the taxes imposed by Section 30123 shall be deposited into the fund as provided in subdivision (b). [¶] (b) Moneys shall be deposited in the fund according to the following formula:  [¶] (1) Twenty percent shall be deposited in the Health Education Account.  [¶] (2) Thirty-five percent shall be deposited in the Hospital Services Account.   [¶] (3) Ten percent shall be deposited in the Physician Services Account.   [¶] (4) Five percent shall be deposited in the Research Account.  [¶] (5) Five percent shall be deposited in the Public Resources Account.  [¶] (6) Twenty-five percent shall be deposited in the Unallocated Account. [¶] (c) Any amounts appropriated from any account specified in subdivision (b) which is not encumbered within the period prescribed by law shall revert to the account from which it was appropriated.”Section 30125 provides in part:  “Funds expended pursuant to this article shall be used only for the purposes expressed in this article and shall be used to supplement existing levels of service and not to fund existing levels of service.”Section 30130 specifies:  “This article may be amended only by vote of four-fifths of the membership of both houses of the Legislature.   All amendments to this article must be consistent with its purposes.”

2.   SB 493 has an operative lifespan of just under one year (unless the Legislature extends its life).  (Stats.1995, ch. 194, § 3;  § 30124(d).)   This limited longevity is irrelevant to our analysis.   As the trial court aptly noted, SB 493's validity cannot be grounded on an argument that “it's just inconsistent [with the purposes of the Act] for a little while․”SB 493, the parties agree, duplicates the appropriation amounts for the Act set forth in Assembly Bill No. 816.  (AB 816;  Stats.1994, ch. 195.)   We have concluded, in a separate published opinion, that this part of AB 816 was not enacted in a legally valid manner.  (See C020782 and C020783, filed December 13, 1996.)

3.   The tobacco education component of these indigent medical care programs may not qualify the programs as proper expenditures under the Health Education Account. (§ 30122(b)(1) [the Health Education Account “shall only be available for appropriation for programs for the prevention and reduction of tobacco use, primarily among children, through school and community health education programs”].)   That is not necessary, however.   SB 493 funds these indigent medical care programs from the broader-focused Physician Services, Hospital Services and Unallocated Accounts, not from the Health Education Account.   Appropriations from the Physician Services Account must be “for payment to physicians for services to patients who cannot afford to pay for those services, ․” (§ 30122(b)(3).)   Appropriations from the Hospital Services Account must be “for payment to ․ hospitals ․ for the treatment of hospital patients who cannot afford to pay for that treatment․” (§ 30122(b)(2).)   And the Unallocated Account is “available for appropriation for any purpose specified in [section 30122(a) ].” (§ 30122(b)(6).)

4.   We express no views on the validity of these findings as a matter of fact.   In these preliminary injunction proceedings, the trial court has not yet reviewed the evidence challenging the legislative findings.   As we noted earlier, the principal focus in these proceedings, up to now, has been whether the percentage changes in the Fund's accounts made by SB 493 are inconsistent with the purposes of the Act as a matter of law.

DAVIS, Associate Justice.

BLEASE, Acting P.J., and SCOTLAND, J., concur.