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Countywide : High Court Won’t Hear Measure M Suit

The state Supreme Court on Friday refused to hear a challenge to Orange County’s Measure M, the half-cent sales-tax hike for transportation projects approved by voters in November.

Without comment, the justices ordered the case transferred to the 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana.

Measure M opponents had asked the state’s highest tribunal to hear the challenge without waiting for it to go through lower courts. The opponents had argued that it should be consolidated with a case the Supreme Court was considering that involves the validity of San Diego County’s new jail tax.

The plaintiffs in the Measure M challenge--Drivers for Highway Safety and Citizens Against Unfair Taxation--claimed, among other arguments, that the ballot measure is unconstitutional because it was subjected to a simple majority vote requirement instead of passage by a two-thirds majority.

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Clayton H. Parker, attorney for the Orange County Transportation Commission, said the appellate court will either decide to hear arguments or send the case to Superior Court.

Parker said he is hopeful that “these (appellate) justices have to travel on our crowded roads in Orange County.”

Measure M is expected to raise $3.1 billion over a 20-year period.


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