The SB 277 referendum final numbers fell short of the needed 365,880 signatures, which would have postponed the July 1 effective date and placed SB 277 on the California ballot during the Presidential election next November.
Activists fighting for medical freedom in California managed to obtain a reported 233,758, or 73% of the needed signatures — an incredible effort from a movement that barely existed just 8 months ago.
Sources close to the effort say two districts — Sacramento and San Bernadino — are still reporting missing petitions. The issue seems to stem around a soft deadline the week before called forth by referendum leadership requiring regional coordinators to submit all petitions in their possession to a third-party verification company.
Sources have informed the MSJ that the company retained to gather signatures for the effort has a reputation that is questionable, leaving some still calling for an investigation.
Even if petitions were tampered with, the amount claimed to be missing would not likely be enough for the effort to have reached its goal.
Turmoil, chaos and unaccountably seemed to plague the effort from the beginning. The referendum process was spearheaded by former California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly and Lauren Stephens — the latter of which had a failed bid for Congress in Wisconsin in 2012 and mysteriously appeared on the California political landscape just in time to orchestrate the SB 277 referendum effort.
The effort, which raised $170k in a go fund me account and had reportedly received a $150k check a week before the deadline, could have been enough to supplement the gap in signatures.
Several activists working inside the referendum claim Stephens was to blame for repeated mishandling of the process. No formal charges or reports have been filed yet.
Stephens has now filed a parental rights ballot initiative which some say could upset the effort already underway with parentalrights.org — a Virgnina-based organization that is in the process of developing a national parental rights bill, as well as assisting politicians state by state in drafting the same kind of legislation in each state.