California Proposition 97, Restoration of Cal-OSHA (1988)

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California Proposition 97 was on the November 8, 1988 statewide ballot in California as an initiated state statute, where it was approved.

Proposition 97 required the Governor of California and DIR to take steps to restore state operation of the private-sector Cal-OSHA program. Proposition 97 also required the Governor to: (1) propose sufficient funds in the budget submitted to the Legislature to minimize the risk to workers from industrial injuries, illnesses and exposure to toxic substances, and (2) seek the maximum level of federal funds to support the costs of administering the state plan.

Election results

Proposition 97
Approveda Yes 4,776,182 53.71%

Text of measure


The ballot title was:

State Occupational Safety and Health Plan. Initiative Statute.


The official summary said:

"Federal law permits states to enforce occupational safety and health standards in private sector employment pursuant to federally approved state plan. California has had such a state plan and has occupational safety laws regulating private and public employment. In 1987, the Governor took action to withdraw the plan and to reduce its funding. This measure requires funds to be budgeted for the state plan and requires steps be taken to prevent withdrawal of federal approval of the plan or, if withdrawn, to require submission of new plan. Other changes are made."

Fiscal impact

See also: Fiscal impact statement

The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said:

  • "The fiscal effect of this measure would depend on how the California Supreme Court rules on the state's obligation to conduct a private-sector Cal-OSHA program."
  • "If the Court Finds No Existing Obligation to Operate the Program. If the court rules that the Governor legally terminated the private-sector Cal-OSHA program, this measure would impose new costs on the state by requiring it to restore the program. Reestablishing the program would cost about $23 million annually. About half of these costs ($11.5 million) would be paid from the State General Fund and the balance from the federal funds. This estimate assumes that the state's previous level of Cal-OSHA activity would be sufficient to minimize risks to workers, and that the state would receive matching federal funds. In addition to the $11.5 million in state costs to reestablish the Cal-OSHA program, the state also could incur costs due to the "concurrent jurisdiction" provision. If the state authorized the enforcement of state work-place health and safety standards for mines and tunnels, it would incur annual General Fund costs of about $700,000. Thus, total state costs under this measure could exceed $12 million annually. The reestablishment of a private-sector Cal-OSHA program also would result in additional state revenues from the collection of fines imposed on violators of health and safety laws. It is estimated that these additional General Fund revenues would total approximately $1.6 million annually."
  • "If the Court Finds an Existing State Obligation to Operate the Program. If the court rules that the state is already legally obligated to fund the private-sector Cal-OSHA program, the program would be reestablished regardless of this measure. Consequently, the Cal-OSHA provisions of this measure would have little or no effect. The "concurrent jurisdiction" provision, however, could have a fiscal impact. If the state authorized the enforcement of state workplace health and safety standards for mines and tunnels, it would incur annual General Fund costs of about $700,000."

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