San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee signals veto on David Campos’ health care amendment 

Mayor Ed Lee is poised to issue his first veto since coming into office in January, and this one carries with it some serious ramifications. Lee, who is running for mayor against 10 other main contenders, is seen as the front runner. Lee has basically avoided controversial decisions while in office so far, and has attempted to play the role of a consensus builder, which includes playing up his “progressive” roots.

Scroll down to see video of Mayor Ed Lee talking to The San Francisco Examiner editorial board about Healthy SF and the proposals.

Now Lee could be forced to make a tough decision, and one that could impact the mayor’s race. On Tuesday, Lee stopped short of uttering the “veto” word, but he said: “I’d have to consider all the authority I have to do the right thing.” His comments came hours before the Board of Supervisors votes on Supervisor David Campos’ legislation to amend the Health Care Security Ordinance.

Lee called on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to postpone the vote on Campos’ legislation, but Campos said he won’t delay. The reasons he has given for not delaying are twofold, one that the legislation has been debated since May and workers deserve this fix right away. Lee agrees with Campos that there is a loophole in the Health Care Security Ordinance, but they don’t agree on the fix.

Campos wants to amend the law to prevent businesses from taking back at the end of the year money put into health care reimbursement accounts, which is one way hundreds of businesses comply with the city health care law that requires employers spending a certain amount of money per worker per hour worked.

The debate began when a recent city report found that in 2010, 80 percent of medical reimbursement account funds — or $50.1 million — were not spent on employees’ medical costs, but instead returned to employers.

Campos’ legislation is strongly backed by the San Francisco Labor Council. It is strongly opposed by business advocates. And the politics around the vote are only intensifying. State senator and mayoral candidate Leland Yee attempted to capitalize politically on Tuesday’s vote. He issued a statement that said: “If Ed Lee vetoes this legislation, one of my first acts as Mayor will be to reverse his veto and sign this legislation into law.”

If Lee does veto the bill, he is expected to succeed, since it takes eight votes to override a mayoral veto, and Campos has just six supporters of his proposal.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com


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