Manufacturers back down on lead-paint California ballot measure

The San Francisco Chronicle, Melody Gutierrez

SACRAMENTO — Besieged by negative publicity about a ballot measure that would have had California taxpayers pick up the bill for cleaning up lead-paint contamination in homes, paint manufacturers withdrew the measure Thursday in favor of a deal with the Legislature.

“I must admit, I didn’t think we would be here at this moment, and I am very glad we are,” said Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco. “We’ve been grappling with this in recent weeks. There have been many late nights.”

As part of the deal sought by paint manufacturers, lawmakers carrying bills to hold companies accountable will no longer pursue the legislation. Those bills, which were introduced in response to the ballot measure, would have removed hurdles from holding paint companies legally liable and made it easier for property owners to sue companies for cleanup costs.