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California election results: Insurance, electricity initiatives backed by major corporations are rejected

June 9, 2010 |  8:33 am

California voters rejected the two initiatives put on Tuesday's ballot by major corporations -- Proposition 16, requiring voter approval before cities can get into the electricity business, and Proposition 17, giving auto insurance companies more leeway in setting rates.

With most of the vote counted Wednesday morning, both measures trailed by more than 150,000 votes -- margins that, for all practical purposes, are insurmountable.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. spent $46 million on its campaign for Proposition 16, which would have required local government agencies to obtain approval of two-thirds of voters before providing electricity service to new customers.

The measure also would have called for a two-thirds vote before the expansion of service beyond current coverage areas if public funds or bonds were used.

The measure was opposed by several groups, including Consumer Watchdog, which said PG&E was protecting its turf and electricity customers would suffer.

Proposition 17 would have allowed automobile insurance companies to base their prices in part on a driver's history of insurance coverage, authorizing discounts for those who have kept their coverage even if they changed insurance companies.

The measure, on which Mercury Insurance spent $16 million, would have allowed companies to increase the cost of insurance for drivers who have not maintained continuous insurance coverage.

-- Phil Willon in Los Angeles