California Ballot Measures - 2022 Update
By: Bella Mendoza
This election, California voters will have the opportunity to decide on many crucial measures. Some of the most important and controversial being Prop 1 and 27 .
In Prop 1, voters will decide on whether Californians have the right to abortion and contraception. After the overturning of Roe v. Wade, this measure holds national implications. If passed, California will set an example for other states on how to navigate a post-Dodds political climate and protect the rights of its citizens.
Prop 27 will heavily affect Native American populations. This measure will decide if California will legalize online gambling and betting. Many Native Americans worry that this measure will undermine Casinos and contribute to a decrease in profits as well as a rise in underage gambling and addiction.
Another interesting detail to point out is Lyft’s heavy support of Prop 30. Through Prop 30, Lyft is attempting to make taxpayers pay for the company’s transition to electric cars. Although Prop 30 seems like a progressive way to decrease car pollution, it’s more likely a corporate tax grab.
This year’s election will be interesting, so it’s important to stay informed on these ballot measures.
Prop 1: Guarantee Abortion Rights in State Constitution
This November the Californian public will vote on measures pertaining to women's right to reproductive freedom. Proposition 1, is an amendment to the State Constitution that would enshrine a fundamental right to reproductive freedom in California. If passed, it would guarantee the right for women to choose to have an abortion and the right to choose or refuse contraception.
Background: On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned, a nearly 50 year precedent that allowed women to have the right to reproductive freedom, including the choice to have an abortion and to obtain contraception. In 1973’s Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to privacy is inferred in the First Amendment, allowing women nationwide to have autonomy over their body. However, this past June, this was taken away from millions of women across this nation. As a result, numerous conservative states enacted ‘Trigger Laws’ which l imposed all out bans or severe restrictions. California went in the opposite direction; instead of creating laws that prohibit or limit abortions and certain forms of contraception. Law-makers want to protect this freedom and enshrine it in the state constitution, making California a sanctuary state where women across the nation can flock to if seeking an aborrtion.
Due to this Supreme Court decision, many people are afraid that the right to privacy is in danger. Although it is not explicitly defined in the Constitution, it has historically been perceived as protecting reproductive freedoms; however, this recent court decision puts this at risk. By cementing this right into the state’s constitution, it demonstrates California’s desire to move forward, not backward, in the fight for reproductive rights.
Arguments in Favor: Those in favor of this proposition want to protect reproductive rights in California. These individuals claim that reproductive health is a medical priority and a personal decision, and should not be politicized.
Groups supporting: Abortion rights groups (including Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and NARAL Pro-Choice California), California Medical Association, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, League of Women Voters of California, SEIU California, Equality California, Gov. Gavin Newsom, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla and other Democratic statewide elected officials, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and dozens of other Democratic legislators, California Democratic Party, Health Care for All-California
Arguments against: Those against Pop. 1 claim that it is not necessary to include reproductive rights in the state constitution, and if passed, broad language in the bill could lead to years of costly court battles to clear it up. They also raise other concerns about late-term abortion and if this measure would overide limitations on abortion after 24 weeks.
Groups against: California Alliance of Pregnancy Care, Pacific Justice Institute, California Catholic Conference, International Faith Based Coalition, California Republican Party
Prop 26: Legalize Sports Betting at Tribal Casinos
If passed, Prop 26 would legalize sports betting at Tribal casinos and the state's four horse tracks. There would be an age restriction of 21 or older and would be written into contracts with the state. This would also create new ways of enforcing some game laws, which would allow anyone to bring about a lawsuit if they believe these laws have been violated and if the state Justice Department declines to get involved.
Background: In 2018, in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Supreme Court legalized commercial sports betting. As a result, numerous states created legislation legalizing sports betting. This November, California follows suit.
If trends from other states continue in California, sports betting could be very lucrative. Last year, Americans spent more than $57 billion on sports betting, which would be extremely profitable for the state, but also raises concerns about gambling addiction.
This law could potentially generate tens of millions of dollars to the state, as it might require tribes to pay more to local officials for permits and from new private lawsuits that could result from it. This money would go into California’s discretionary fund and help finance problem gaming (i.e. resources for addiction) , mental health research, schools, and gambling regulations.
Arguments in favor: Those in favor believe this bill will bring more business to Tribal Casinos, increasing their self sufficiency. This would in return, help create jobs and help various tribes pay for essential services like education. Along with this, those who support this proposition claim that it eliminates underage gambling as people need to be physically at the casino to place bets.
Groups supporting: 27 tribes and tribal organizations (led by tribes with casinos including Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria), Pechanga Band of Indians, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, NAACP, California-Hawaii state conference, Labor leader Dolores Huerta, and Communications Workers of America, Lieutenant Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, Treasurer Fiona Ma, California Young Democrats, and many local Democratic committees, California District Attorneys Association
Arguments against: Those against this legislation claim that the unique mechanisms in this law would lead tribal casinos to bring lawsuits against competing card rooms, eventually driving them out of business. They also claim that it will revive an already dying industry – horse racing, putting more animals at risk.
Groups against: Cities including Clovis, Commerce, Compton, and Huntington Park, California Republican Party, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees California, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals chapters and local humane societies, California Black Chamber of Commerce, and California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
** If both prop 26 and 27 get passed, it is possible that both could go into effect, but most likely a court would have to intervene and decide**
Prop 27: Legalize Sports Betting Online
Another sports betting initiative is on the ballot this November, but instead of just legalizing in person sports betting, Prop 27 wants to legalize online betting as well. If passed, this would allow for licensed tribes and gaming companies to offer mobile and online sports betting for those over the age of 21 and outside of Native American Tribal lands. However, gaming companies are only eligible to offer online betting if they have made a deal with a native tribe.
This legislation would create a new division in California’s Justice Department to regulate online sports betting. This division would not only regulate the rules, but also decide/ approve any new forms of gamling (such as those on award shows or video games).
This, like other propositions, can be very lucrative to the state, as it can generate several hundreds of millions of dollars. The majority of these funds (85%) would go to address homlessness and housing issues in California, and 15% would go to other tribes that are not directly associated with betting.
Arguments in Favor: Those who are in favor of this legislation believe it would create a more permanent source of funding for tribes, and also make a significant impact to decrease homlesness in California.
Groups who support: FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and four other gaming companies (which are funding the measure), Three Native American tribes(Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe, Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians, and Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians, Mayors of Fresno, Sacramento, Oakland, and Long Beach), some homelessness advocates, (Bay Area Community Services and Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness), and Major League Baseball
Arguments Against: Those who are against this initiative claim that it would make any form of technology into a gambling device, creating more and worsening gambling addictions. Along with this, they believe that it would decrease tribes sovereignty as they would have to relinquish some of their rights to partner up with big sporting companies. They also claim that it will encourage underage gaming as it is harder to regulate age restrictions online.
Groups against: 50 Native American tribes and tribal organizations, California Democratic Party, California Republican Party, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, California Teachers Association, Communication Workers of America, United Food and Commercial Workers, labor leader Dolores Huerta, Homelessness and housing advocates (including Coalition on Homelessness San Francisco and California Coalition for Rural Housing)
** If both prop 26 and 27 get passed, it is possible that both could go into effect, but most likely a court would have to intervene and decide**
Prop 28: Funding for Art and Music Programs at Schools
This proposition would require California to allocate at least 1% of the funding from Prop 98 to be distributed for music and art programs in schools.
Background: Prop 98 was in November 1988, that guaranteed money for public school and community colleges from the state budget. This legislation was designed to guarantee that there is a minimum level of funding for public schools and that a minimum of the state budget is allocated to them.
If this legislation passes, there would be an estimated $1billion set aside for art and music programs. Schools with a high proportion of students from low-income families would receive more funding than others, prioritizing creativity. This bill would require school districts to spend 80% of their new funding on hiring art and music teachers and require them to publish annual reports on how they choose to spend the rest of the budget they are allocated.
Oftentimes, when school districts receive budget cuts art and music programs are the first to go, resulting in students losing a creative outlet. Supporters believe that by giving a place where students can express themselves creatively can lead to a sense of belonging, helping improve other subjects in school, including math and reading.
Argument in favor: The creation of art and music programs give students a creative outlet where they can express themselves and help find their true passions. Supporters believe that these programs could help address the mental health crisis facing youth in California and can help them recover from the damage of the pandemic and virtual learning.
Groups who support: SEIU California, California Democratic Party, local art organizations, local music and art education groups
Argument against: Funding for art and music education in public schools should continue to depend on state and local budget decisions and should not receive additional funding from the budget allocated from Prop 98.
Groups against: there are no official opposition filed for this proposition
Comparing and Contrasting Prop 27 & Prop 28
Prop 29: New Rules on Dialysis Clinics
If passed, proposition 29 would require kidney dialysis clinics to have at least a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner with at least six months of relevant experiences to be available on site (or in some cases via telehealth) at all times. It would also require that clinics report all infection data to the state and to publicly list physicians that have ownership interest of 5% or more in a clinic. This bill would also forbid dialysis clinics from closing or reducing their services/hours without state approval and refuse treatment to individuals based on their insurance.
Background: Starting in 2018 with Proposition 8, Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, a labor union, has been fighting to reform dialysis clinics and make the booming industry more transparent and safe for patients. This is the third time this bill is on the ballot as labor unions continue to advocate for better conditions for workers and patients.
There are roughly 650 dialysis clinics statewide and roughly 80,0000 consistently receiving dialysis. Over the past year, analysts project that these clinics make roughly $3.5 billion a year with two for-profit companies owning and/or operating three-fourths of the clinics.
Argument in favor: Those in support of this proposition believe that dialysis clinics lack in patient care and solely focus on being profitable. These clinics do not invest enough time or money in these patients which can lead to serious medical complications. By not having trained physicians or nurse practitioners on sight at all times can be extremely dangerous for patients, as long hours of blood filtration can lead at risk patients in vulnerable situations. Having these trained personnel on staff can reduce hospitalizations. Also, the required reporting would lead to more transparency in this high-profit business.
Groups supporting: Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, California Democratic Party, California Labor Federation
Argument against: Opponents to this measure claim that the extra staffing is unnecessary as clinics provide quality care and already have professional staff that are equipped with troubleshooting dangerous situations. Adding new physicians and extra employees, will lead to increased costs for clinics, which can lead to reduced hours or even closure of some health centers, which can be deadly to some dialysis patients. California’s have stopped similar propositions from passing in the past, as they knew the potentially dangerous bills like these can have, and now isn’t the time to have it finally be passed.
Groups against: DaVita Inc, Fresenius Medical Care, American Academy of Nephrology PAs, American Nurses Association, California Medical Association, California Chamber of Commerce, California Republican Party
This proposal on the November 8 ballot hopes to impose a 1.75% tax on individuals who make over $2 million a year to raise money to help California buy zero-emission vehicles, build electric charging stations, and increase the hiring of firefighters to reduce the spread of inevitable wildfires. This proposal would help California meet its ambitious goals of raising $5 billion annually over the course of 20 years to decrease CO2 emission.
Background: On August 25, 2022 California approved the Advanced Clean Cars rule that will require that all vehicles sold in California by 2035 be zero-emission. This initiative has allowed other propositions to pop up revolving around climate change and advocating for clean air. Along with this, CA is requiring that by 2030, all ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft use zero- emission vehicles for 90% of their customer base.
Due to this new ride-sharing policy, Lyft has essentially funded this whole bill, putting in $25 million into this measure. Instead of Lyft funding these electrical charging stations itself, they are relying on tax-payers to fund them.
Governor Gavin Newsom is a major opponent to this proposition, as he believes that it is ““one company’s cynical scheme to grab a huge taxpayer-funded subsidy” and can raise concerns about the state budget and displace set aside funding for education. This is because of a constitutional limit put on state appropriations that could potentially require California to reduce funding to other programs to increase the budget of other new spending, like this proposition.
Many environmental companies support this bill as they claim it will help decrease the amount of CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere and help CA reach its ambitious goals of becoming a zero-emission state by 2035.
Argument in Favor: Supporters believe that Proposition 30 will generate the funding needed to decrease CO2 emission in CA and lead to less air pollution overall. It will decrease the number of gasoline powered vehicles by encouraging people to buy electric. Along with this, it would also help state infrastructure prepare for the influx of electric vehicles they will see in the next 10 years. Lastly, it would provide more resources to fighights to prevent and fight wildfires that are bound to occur due to changes in the climate.
Groups that support: Cal Fire Local 2881, California State Association of Electrical Workers, Unite HERE, California Democratic Party, Lyft, State Building and Construction Trades Council, California Environmental Voters
Argument against: Those against this bill claim that this bill is unnecessary and that this tax increase will further exacerbate the effects of high inflation and gas prices. California being a state that already has the nation’s highest income tax and very high cost of living, taxes should not be raised. By increasing their taxes, it could potentially drive these wealthy residents out of the state, potentially jeopardizing other state funded programs. Opponents believe that there are already measures in place that make CA able to meet their ambitious zero-emission goal, such as Newsom’s $10 billion investment to fight climate change.
Groups against: Gov. Gavin Newsom, California Republican Party, California Teachers Association, California Chamber of Commerce, California Small Business Association, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, State Treasurer Fiona Ma