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State November 2016 election propositions

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OCTOBER 21, 2016

Prop. 51: Funding public school building modernization

Proposition 51 is an effort to allocate funds for the modernization and construction of buildings in public schools through the sale of bonds.

If passed, the total cost of the proposition is expected to be $17.6 billion.

Yes on 51 claims that the funding would repair buildings and increase the overall quality of school facilities. For most projects, the schools receiving grants must contribute a percentage of the costs. If the schools do not have adequate local funding, the government may cover as much as needed to pay for these projects.

Opponents of Prop. 51 argue that the potential benefits do not justify the cost given that California is currently under a lot of debt.

If passed, the expected costs of $500 million per year would not exceed half of one percent of the state’s General Fund budget.

— Hyunkyu Michael Lee, staff writer

Prop. 52: Extending statute imposing charges on private hospitals

If Proposition 52 is passed, it would indefinitely extend an existing statute that imposes charges on most private hospitals.

This fee, which generates $3 billion a year, is used to fund Medi-Cal healthcare services, children’s health coverage and care for uninsured patients. If the measure does not pass, the statute would end Jan. 1, 2018.

Any revenue raised by the passage of the proposition is intended to increase state savings, provide more revenue for low-income Californians to pay hospital fees and provide grants to public hospitals.

The measure also makes it more difficult to change the statute, and critics argue it would decrease the accountability of how the money is allocated.

— Anderson Lanham, assistant news editor

Prop. 53: Public review of major bonds           

Proposition 53 would require voter approval before any revenue bonds are issued or sold by California for projects where the bond amount exceeds $2 billion.

The state and local fiscal effects are not known; however, there will probably not be very many projects that require a bond more than $2 billion dollars. In the instance where this does occur, the costs would depend on the actions of the government and on voter response from the voting requirement.

Supporters of the proposition believe that the bond would prevent politicians from borrowing substantial sums from the state for projects without constituents’ opinions or approvals.

Opponents of Prop. 53 would argue these state bonds should still be allowed to be issued without voter approval because it could limit local government control on local projects that would then require a statewide vote. Likewise, Vote No on Prop 53 argues that the measure does not allow for exceptions in cases of emergencies or disasters.

— Brenna Smith, assistant news editor

Prop. 54: Requiring California legislature bills online 3 days before vote

If passed, Proposition 54 would enforce that a bill be available online 72 hours before the Legislature votes on it and that the Legislature record its public meetings online.

The infrastructure necessary for the recording is estimated to have a one-time cost of $1 million to $2 million, with an additional $1 million a year to maintain.

Steven Maviglio, a political consultant, said the proposition would limit the Legislature and give special interest groups more time to influence votes.

“Secrecy gives special interests more power,” said Mary Ellen Grant, a spokeswoman for Yes on 54. “Transparency levels the playing field.”

— Hyunkyu Michael Lee, staff writer

Prop. 55: Extending income tax of wealthy

Proposition 55 would add another 12 years to a tax increase voters passed in 2012 for incomes of more than $250,000.

A “no” vote would allow the one to three percent tax increase for the wealthy — passed in 2012 through Proposition 30 — to start phasing out in 2018. The surtax is estimated to raise $4 billion and $9 billion per year, and spending is devoted largely to California schools and colleges. In certain years, Medi-Cal and other health programs would receive $2 billion.

When Prop. 30 was initially presented, Gov. Jerry Brown had advertised the increase as a temporary stopgap solution for a state still recovering from the recession. Prop. 55 is supported by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and a coalition of teacher and health unions.

The tax impacts a fraction of Californians: 1.5 percent of state residents have a single income filing of at least $263,000 or a joint income filing of at least $526,000.

— Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks, city news editor

Prop. 56: Increasing tax on cigarette products

If passed, Proposition 56 would increase the cigarette tax by $2 per pack, with comparable increases on electronic cigarettes containing nicotine and other products.

The new tax could bring in over $1 billion in 2017-18 if put into effect.

According to Jim Knox, the vice president of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the tax would not affect Americans who do not use tobacco products.

“The measure specifies where the revenue would go,” says Knox, “and that would be to the … state Medi-Cal program.”

A vote against the proposition would maintain the current taxes on tobacco products.

— Hyunkyu Michael Lee, staff writer

Prop. 57: Reforming prison parole system

A “yes” vote for Proposition 57 would increase parole and good behavior opportunities for nonviolent felons, while also removing a current law that allows prosecutors to decide whether a juvenile is tried as an adult in court. As many as 25,000 inmates could end up serving shorter sentences.

The proposition, backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, is an attempt to mitigate the “unintended consequences” of a sentencing overhaul he signed almost four decades ago which set predetermined sentences crimes. In 2011, the state’s prisons were so overcrowded that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it violated the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

In 2014, voters approved a state ballot measure that reduced some nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors and provided more inmates a better chance for parole consideration.

Opponents of Prop. 57, however, argue that it is a poorly drafted measure. In addition, they fear California’s relatively broad definition of “nonviolent” crime, such as certain rapes and sexual assaults, might allow many criminals to be released early.

— Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks, city news editor

Prop. 58: Allowing non-English classrooms in public schools

If passed, Proposition 58 would allow non-English languages to be used in California public school classes.

The proposition would allow public schools to establish dual-language programs for English learners. The program is not expected to have any substantial fiscal costs on the state government as well as local costs.

“Extensive research has shown that students who choose to participate in multilingual education attain high levels of academic achievement,” said Inez Kaminski, a spokesperson for Yes on 58.

Opponents of proposition argue that instead of having a fully dual-language classroom, the proposition would allow for classroom instruction with little to no English.

— Hyunkyu Michael Lee, staff writer

Prop. 59: Citizen input on Citizens United

A “yes” vote for Proposition 59 sends a message to California officials to repeal the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision through a possible Constitutional amendment.

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that political contributions and spending were protected under the First Amendment as free speech, allowing for nonprofit corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money in election campaigns.

The California proposition is not legally binding, and is largely considered a way of gauging the public’s opinion on campaign spending in politics.

— Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks, city news editor

Prop. 60: Requiring condoms in porn

Proposition 60 would require that adult film stars wear condoms and take other protective measures when filming pornographic films. The measure would also require the producers cover the cost of performers’ sexually transmitted infection tests and related health examinations.

“The need to strengthen existing law is particularly urgent now because the adult film industry is struggling to make profits,” reads the official argument in favor of the proposition. “As a result, pornographers are more likely than ever to resist condom use.”

The state is a major producer of porn films. Under California law, adult film stars are already required to wear condoms, though enforcement is typically applied when workers submit complaints with the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

The proposition is widely opposed, including by both the California Democratic Party and the California Republican Party. Many fear the proposition could cost the state millions in lawsuits, and would potentially threaten the safety and privacy of adult performers working.

— Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks, city news editor

Prop. 61: Restricting cost of prescription drugs statewide

A vote in favor of Proposition 61 would prohibit California from purchasing any prescription drug from a drug manufacturer at a higher price than the lowest drug price paid by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

This measure could potentially save the state an unknown sum based on how the proposition is implemented and the response of drug manufacturers in terms of provisions and pricing.

Opponents to Prop. 61 argue that the proposition could harm veterans and restrict patient access to drugs.

Supporters of Prop. 61 believe the measure could put an end to drug companies price-gouging their customers as it could decrease the prices of all drugs statewide.

— Brenna Smith, assistant news editor

Prop. 62: Repealing death penalty

Prop. 66: Speeding up death penalty process

Proposition 62 aims to repeal the death penalty and instead replace death row with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Proposition 66 would change the appeals process for challenging death sentences for more than 700 inmates.

If Prop. 62 is passed, the complete removal of the death penalty enacted is expected to reduce costs within a few years by about $150 million per year. Prop. 66’s overall potential fiscal impact is not yet known, but if passed, the state could save prisons 10s of millions every year.

“Prop. 66 will help clear some of the roadblocks that have created the environment that has allowed 10 years to go by without an execution,” said President of the Klass Kids Foundation Marc Klass, who is against Prop. 62.

According to Klass, Prop. 66 would help with the appeals process by giving inmates access to more lawyers and more judges as well as prevent inmates from sending unnecessary appeals.

“(Prop. 66) will only make the California death penalty system even worse and increase the amount of money that we already pay,” alleged No on Prop 66 campaign manager Ana Zamora.

She said Prop. 66 will not increase the quality of access to the courts but instead only add layers of appeals and limit the ability to present new evidence.

Zamora said by fully repealing the death penalty, California will save money and ensure that no innocent person is executed. According to Klass, there is no price on justice and the cost of maintaining the death penalty is worth it.

Both agreed that the death penalty is a failed institution overall as only 13 people have been executed in the past 30 years, the last of which was in 2006.

— Hyunkyu Michael Lee, staff writer

Prop. 63: Increasing ammunition purchase regulations

A vote for Proposition 63 would increase regulations surrounding the purchase of ammunition.

If passed, the proposition would prohibit possession of large capacity ammunition and require a background check and an authorization by the Department of Justice to purchase ammunition. Regulation surrounding the selling of guns and ammunition will also increase.

Yes on Prop 63 argues these measures will improve public safety and help reduce gun violence by making the purchase of guns more difficult.

No on Prop 63 considers the measures in the proposition a violation of citizen’s constitutional rights and believes that the proposition would not make it any more difficult for criminals to obtain these weapons, leaving the public without its own defenses.

The costs for the proposition, if passed, are expected to be in the 10s of millions annually as new processes must be put in place to enforce the regulations laid out in the proposition.

— Hyunkyu Michael Lee, staff writer

Prop. 64: Legalizing recreational marijuana

If passed, Proposition 64 would legalize marijuana use for non-medical reasons.

Adults 21 or older would be able to grow, possess and use marijuana without a medical card. The state would regulate the production and sale of non-medical marijuana and tax the both non-medical and medical marijuana.

Supporters of Prop. 64 compare the potentially new marijuana market to the alcohol industry, resulting in the drug being regulated, taxed, tracked and controlled. According to these supporters, the revenue could be as high as $1 billion annually, much of which would be appropriated for programs such as teenage drug prevention and treatment and law enforcement training.

Opponents of Prop. 64 argue that the proposition fails to ensure public safety. The campaign states the legalization of ads promoting marijuana use would be detrimental to public health, adding that the proposition fails to have any standard for marijuana-impaired driving, making DUI tests more difficult.

— Hyunkyu Michael Lee, staff writer

Prop. 65: Using bag sale revenue for environment projects

Prop. 67: Banning single-use plastic bags

Votes in favor of Proposition 65 would require that stores charge for carry-out bags and put the revenue from those bags into a state fund. If passed, Proposition 67 would approve a statute that prohibits stores from providing single-use plastic bags.

Prop. 65, unliked Prop. 67, does not ban plastic bags.

Prop. 65 requires that a law prohibiting certain bags and requiring a minimum charge for other bags must be in effect statewide for the state fund to grow. As no such law currently exists, if Prop. 65 passes, the state would see no change in revenue without the law. If both propositions are passed, Prop. 67 could act as the needed law.

If both are passed, where the money from the sale of these bags goes will depend on which proposition gets more votes. If Prop. 67 gets more votes, the stores would receive the money. If Prop. 65 does, the state fund would receive the money.

Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, wrote in the official California voter guide that Prop. 67 will do more for the environment by eliminating plastic completely than Prop. 65 would.

Yes on Prop 65 supporters argue that it would be better to dedicate any fees on the bags to environmental projects, such as drought mitigation and wildlife habitat restoration.

Murray said in an interview with The Daily Californian that the minimum 10 cent charge on bags would go to cover the cost of the bag and and costs incurred in enacting the new policy.

According to the official voter guide, it is unclear whether Prop. 67 would actually enforce this.

— Hyunkyu Michael Lee, staff writer

Contact The Daily Californian News Staff at 


OCTOBER 23, 2016

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