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Propositions 35, 36 pass; Props 34, 37, 38 fail

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NOVEMBER 06, 2012

Prop. 34: Fail

Proposition 34, which aims to end the death penalty in California, failed with just over 47 percent of votes in favor of its passage.

Also known as the Savings Accountability and Full Enforcement for California Act, the proposition would have replaced the death penalty with a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for people found guilty of murder. This would retroactively apply to inmates already on death row in addition to newly convicted ones.

In addition to repealing the death penalty, Prop. 34 would have created a special fund appropriating $100 million in grants from the general fund directed toward local law enforcement agencies to help with the investigations of cases involving rape and homicide over the course of four years. Prisoners incarcerated for murder would work and have their wages deducted in order to pay restitution to victims.

Opponents of the proposition include former California governors Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian, the California Police Chiefs Association and Citizens Against Homicide, according to the Vote No on 34 website.

Proponents of the measure include Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, the University of California Student Association, the Harvey Milk Foundation and the ACLU of California, according to the Yes on 34 website.

— Andy Nguyen 

Prop. 35: Pass

Multiple news agencies have called the passage of Proposition 35 at the polls Tuesday, winning 83 percent of the recorded votes as of about 9:30 p.m.

The ballot measure aims to combat sex trafficking in California. It mandates increased officer training geared at fighting the trafficking and implements harsher criminal penalties for people convicted of sex trafficking. The measure increases prison terms for the crime to up to 15 years to life and requires convicted traffickers to register as sex offenders, disclose their internet accounts and pay fines up to $1,500,000, some of which will go toward victim services.

Human sex trafficking has become an increasingly prevalent crime in California, according to the argument for the measure. Supporters of Prop. 35 argued that the state has not taken adequate action against the trend and needs to increase law enforcement to prevent sex trafficking and forced labor.

Although repeatedly recognized as a well-intended proposition, opponents of Prop. 35 argued that the legislation will be largely ineffective. By taking a primarily criminal enforcement approach and conflating human trafficking with sexual exploitation, Prop. 35 will actually disempower victims, critics argued.

Key supporters of the proposition included Sen. Barbara Boxer, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, and celebrity Jada Pinkett Smith.

Opponents included Maxine Doogan, president of the Exotic Service Providers Legal Education and Research Project and the California Association for Criminal Justice.

— Alex Berryhill

Prop. 36: Pass

Proposition 36, which will amend the “Three Strikes” Law in California established in 1994, won 68.3 percent of the vote with about 28 percent of precincts reporting at around 10:50 p.m. and multiple news organizations calling its passage.

According to California’s official voter information guide, Prop. 36 will revise the current “three strikes” law to impose life sentences only when a new felony conviction is for a serious or violent offense and will allow some offenders whose third convictions are not serious or violent to appeal their sentences.

However, if prior convictions are for rape, murder or child molestation or the third conviction is from a sex or drug offense or illegal possession of firearms, felons will still receive life sentences.

The nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that the measure will save the state about $70 million annually after initial one-time costs to the state and various counties to implement re-sentencing provisions.

The measure is similar to Proposition 66, which was rejected by voters in 2004.

Opponents of the proposition included the California Police Chiefs Association, California State Sheriffs’ Association and the California District Attorneys Association.

Supporters of the measure included Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates.

 Alex Berryhill

Proposition 37: Fail

Proposition 37, also known as the Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food Initiative, failed with just under 47 percent of counted votes supporting the measure.

Had it succeeded, the proposition would have required the labeling of genetically engineered raw or processed foods offered for sale to consumers. Additionally, it would have prohibited these foods from being labeled or advertised as “natural.”

Had voters approved the measure, the state would likely have incurred annual costs ranging from a few hundred thousand dollars to more than $1 million from implementing this measure.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not currently require federal regulation of these kinds of foods, and the measure will be regulated by the California Department of Public Health if it passes.

Additionally, if the measure had passed, it would have largely relied on retailers, such as grocery stores, to ensure that food products they sell are in compliance with the standard, according to the state legislative analyst’s report.

The proposition’s state-level supporters included the California Nurses Association, the United Farm Workers of America and the Sierra Club, while local supporters included Mayor Tom Bates and Tyrone Hayes, a campus biology professor.

Monsanto, a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation, and DuPont, a chemical company, contributed substantial funding to the No on 37 campaign. Two campus professors — Jeremy Thorner, a professor of biochemistry, biophysics and structural biology, and David Zilberman, the Robinson Chair in the department of agriculture and resource economics — were also opposed to the measure.

— Megan Messerly 

Prop. 38: Fail

California voters overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 38, a tax initiative that would have provided funding for K-12 schools Tuesday.

By around 11 p.m., the initiative had received about 26 percent of the vote with just over 30 percent of precincts statewide partially reporting in results. Prop. 38 was drafted as an income tax increase to virtually all Californians and was estimated to raise about $10 billion annually for schools, early childhood programs and to pay down the state debt.

Backed by wealthy liberal lawyer Molly Munger, Prop. 38 was supported by the California State PTA and campaigned for using  more than $47 million of Munger’s own money.

The measure was as an alternative to Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30 — another tax initiative to fund the state’s public education institutions and services that would have directed money directly to schools, bypassing the state Legislature.

But, unlike Prop. 30, the measure would not have prevented $250 million in midyear budget cuts to the University of California.

The fate of Prop. 30 remains unclear, with 52.4 percent of counted votes in favor of the measure and 47.6 percent of votes opposed as of 1 a.m. Wednesday.

 Amruta Trivedi

Contact [email protected]

NOVEMBER 07, 2012