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Yes or No? California Voters Are Deciding These 7 Statewide Ballot Measures

Californians will decide seven ballot propositions Nov. 8 that ask voters to settle matters of abortion rights, sports betting, dialysis clinic rules, flavored tobacco sales and more.

Seven is a relatively short list for voters in the nation’s most populous state who are regularly asked to decide a raft of measures in the General Election that cover a broad spectrum of topics. In 2020, for example, voters were confronted with nearly twice that number.

Six of the seven props were placed on the ballot by supporters who gathered enough verified petition signatures. One was added to the ballot by the state Legislature.

Here’s what to know about the seven statewide ballot measures in California that are part of the Nov. 8 election.

Prop 1: Abortion Rights in the California Constitution

This ballot measure, the only one placed on the ballot by the state Legislature, would amend the California Constitution to make reproductive freedom a fundamental right. It is a response to the June 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision that the U.S. Constitution does not protect the right to abortion, which essentially left the matter up to states by striking down Roe v. Wade.

California has some of the most robust protections in the country and already protects reproductive rights under privacy laws. This measure goes further by amending the state Constitution to explicitly prohibit the state from denying or interfering with reproductive freedom, including decisions about whether to have an abortion and choose or refuse contraceptives.

“Prop 1 will protect peoples’ fundamental right to control their own body and make their own decisions about their own reproductive healthcare, by explicitly adding the right to abortion and the right to use contraceptives into the California Constitution,” Yes on 1 said in a statement.

Prop 1 ensures abortion protections could not be changed without hearing from voters.

Opponents of Prop 1 say the state already has sufficient guarantees under existing California law. They claim the language is too broad and doesn’t limit when abortions can be performed.

Prop 1 Official Secretary of State Summary: Amends California Constitution to expressly include an individual’s fundamental right to reproductive freedom, which includes the fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and the fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives. This amendment does not narrow or limit the existing rights to privacy and equal protection under the California Constitution. Fiscal Impact: No direct fiscal effect because reproductive rights already are protected by state law.

What a “Yes” vote on Prop 1 means: The California Constitution would be changed to expressly include existing rights to reproductive freedom—such as the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion and use contraceptives.

What a “No” vote on Prop 1 means: The California Constitution would not be changed to expressly include existing rights to reproductive freedom. These rights, however, would continue to exist under other state law.

Prop 26: Tribal Casinos Sports Betting

There are two sports betting measures on the ballot. Prop 26 would allow in-person sports betting at tribal casinos and California’s four horse race tracks. Tribal casinos also could start offering roulette and dice games, including craps.

Supporters say Prop 26 provides revenue for tribal education, healthcare and other services.

“This measure is the most responsible approach to authorizing sports betting in California: all bets must be placed in-person at a tribal casino with safeguards in place to prevent underage and illegal gambling,” according to Yes on Prop 26. “It will help create jobs and economic opportunities that support Indian self-reliance, while benefiting all Californians, generating tens of millions of dollars annually in new revenues for public schools, wildfire prevention and other state priorities.”

Opponents call it a massive expansion of gambling that will lead to more underage gambling and addition. They claim it’s an effort by wealthy gaming tribes to expand a monopoly on gambling to include sports betting.

“The five wealthy Southern California tribal casinos behind Prop 26 have become some of the most powerful special interests in the state,” according to No on Prop 26. “Now they are pushing to guarantee themselves a virtual monopoly on all gaming in California by giving private lawyers the powers of the Attorney General to bury their licensed cardroom competitors with frivolous lawsuits.”

Prop 26 Official Secretary of State Summary: Allows sports wagering at certain horseracing tracks; private lawsuits to enforce certain gambling laws. Directs revenues to General Fund, problem-gambling programs, enforcement. Fiscal Impact: Increased state revenues, possibly reaching tens of millions of dollars annually. Some of these revenues would support increased state regulatory and enforcement costs that could reach the low tens of millions of dollars annually.

What a “Yes” vote on Prop 26 means: Four racetracks could offer in-person sports betting. Racetracks would pay the state a share of sports bets made. Tribal casinos could offer in-person sports betting, roulette, and games played with dice (such as craps) if permitted by individual tribal gambling agreements with the state. Tribes would be required to support state sports betting regulatory costs at casinos. People and entities would have a new way to seek enforcement of certain state gambling laws.

What a “No” vote on Prop 26 means: Sports betting would continue to be illegal in California. Tribal casinos would continue to be unable to offer roulette and games played with dice. No changes would be made to the way state gambling laws are enforced.

Proposition 27: Allowing Online Sports Betting

This measure would ok licensed tribes and gaming companies to offer mobile and online sports betting in California. Gaming companies, such as FanDuel and DraftKings, would need to be affiliated with a tribe. Tribes and gambling companies would pay 10 percent of bets made every month to the state. Money would be used to combat homelessness and help people with gambling addictions.

Supporters argue Prop 27 would fund housing, mental health and addition treatment. They say it includes rules about protecting minors, audits and oversight from the top state prosecutor’s office.

“Eighty-five percent of all revenues raised will be placed in a trust account to fund homelessness solutions and mental health priorities – such as housing and substance abuse treatment – across California,” according to Yes on 27. “This funding can only legally be spent on these priorities. The initiative requires the California State Auditor to conduct regular audits of all programs receiving funding to ensure every dollar is accounted for. Any state or local agency that misuses the funds can be compelled to return the misappropriated revenue. Fifteen percent of all revenue raised will be set aside to support Tribal communities.”

Opponents call Prop 27 a “deceptive scheme” funded by out-of-state gambling companies. They say 90 percent of profits would go to out-of-state corporations.

“Proposition 27 is not about helping the homeless, it’s about 90% of the profits from online sports betting going to large out-of-state corporations as well as a deceptive attack on tribal sovereignty,” said Roger Salazar, a spokesperson for the No on 27 campaign.

Prop 27 is opposed both the California Republican and Democratic parties.

Prop 27 Official Secretary of State Summary: Allows Indian tribes and affiliated businesses to operate online/mobile sports wagering outside tribal lands. Directs revenues to regulatory costs, homelessness programs, nonparticipating tribes. Fiscal Impact: Increased state revenues, possibly in the hundreds of millions of dollars but not likely to exceed $500 million annually. Some revenues would support state regulatory costs, possibly reaching the mid-tens of millions of dollars annually.

What a “Yes” vote on Prop 27 means: Licensed tribes or gambling companies could offer online sports betting over the Internet and mobile devices to people 21 years of age and older on non-tribal lands in California. Those offering online sports betting would be required to pay the state a share of sports bets made. A new state unit would be created to regulate online sports betting. New ways to reduce illegal online sports betting would be available.

What a “No” vote on Prop 27 means: Sports betting would continue to be illegal in California. No changes would be made to the way state gambling laws are enforced.

Proposition 28: Funds for Arts and Music Education

This measure would provide funds for music and arts programs in all preschool and K-12 public schools, including charters. The bulk of the money would be used to hire teachers and staff.

The measure would add up to $1 billion per year from the state’s general fund to arts education, according to legislative analyst estimates. Programs that could benefit include traditional art, theater, dance and music classes, plus graphic design, computer coding, animation, music composition and script writing.

The effort has some star-power behind it, including Barbra Streisand and Los Angeles-born rappers will.i.am and Dr. Dre.

“Arts and music education plays a critical role in the development of students in K-12 and beyond,” according to Yes on 28. “Unfortunately, only 1 in 5 public schools have a full-time accredited arts or music teacher. Without raising any new taxes, Prop 28 would rectify this by making the largest investment in arts and music education in the country, helping put students on the path towards a successful future with a good-paying job.”

There is no organized opposition to the measure.

Prop 28 Official Secretary of State Summary: Provides additional funding from state General Fund for arts and music education in all K–12 public schools (including charter schools). Fiscal Impact: Increased state costs of about $1 billion annually, beginning next year, for arts education in public schools.

What a “Yes” vote on Prop 28 means: The state would provide additional funding specifically for arts education in public schools. This amount would be above the constitutionally required amount of funding for public schools and community colleges.

What a “No” vote on Prop 28 means: Funding for arts education in public schools would continue to depend on state and local budget decisions.

Proposition 29: New Rules for Dialysis Clinics

This might sound familiar to anyone who voted in a recent statewide election. Prop 29 is the third dialysis clinic initiative to make the ballot in the last four years. Previous attempts to increase restrictions kidney dialysis centers failed.

So what’s this one all about? The 2022 measure would require clinics to have a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant on site during treatment hours.

Dialysis clinic companies say that would add to the financial burden because of the number of doctors required at every clinic because most are open for most of the day. Ultimately, that could lead some clinics to close, opponents say, adding that clinics are already regulated by state and federal rules and patients are assigned nephrologists who oversee care.

“Prop 29 is opposed by the California Medical Association, American Nurses AssociationCalifornia, patients, and many others because it would jeopardize the lives of dialysis patients by forcing hundreds of dialysis clinics to cut back services or shut down – making it more difficult for dialysis patients to access their life-saving treatments,” No on Prop 29 said in a statement.

Supporters claim patients need more care during regular visit. All three dialysis clinic measures have been backed by unions representing health care workers.

“Most dialysis patients are medically fragile and often have other health issues,” Yes On 29 said in a statement. “Currently, when serious problems occur most clinics just call 911, which puts patients at risk and contributes to ER overcrowding.”

Once again, it is one of the most expensive measures. Total spending by both sides has added up to about $90 million, state records show, with the vast majority of spending from opponents.

Prop 29 Official Secretary of State Summary: Requires physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant on site during treatment. Requires clinics to: disclose physicians’ ownership interests; report infection data. Fiscal Impact: Increased state and local government costs likely in the tens of millions of dollars annually.

What a “Yes” vote on Prop 29 means: Chronic dialysis clinics would be required to have a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant on-site during all patient treatment hours.

What a “No” vote on Prop 29 means: Chronic dialysis clinics would not be required to have a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant on-site during all patient treatment hours.

Proposition 30: Millionaires Tax for EVs

Californians making more than $2 million per year would face a 1.75-percent personal income tax increase per year under this measure that has Democrats divided.

The tax dollars would help fund climate programs, creating a new stream of revenue for the subsidization of zero-emissions vehicles. About 80 percent of the money would establish rebates for zero-emission vehicle buyers and to build charging stations. A smaller portion of the tax money would be used to help hire and train firefighters.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is opposed to Proposition 30, calling it a giveaway for rideshare company and major prop funder Lyft. Rideshare companies must ensure all their car trips are zero-emission by 2030.

“The state of California recently ruled that 90% of rideshare vehicles must be electric vehicles by 2030,” according to No on Prop 30. “Lyft is trying to force the taxpayers to foot the bill – rather than spend their own corporate money to support their drivers and comply with the new law. Lyft wants voters to believe Prop 30 is about clean air and wildfires instead of what it actually is: Prop 30 is a flawed and corporate carveout scheme to further line the pockets of Silicon Valley tech billionaires.”

Supporters include the California Democratic Party and many environmental groups, who claim California needs more money to accelerate a transition to electric cars and lower planet-warming emissions. The money would allow the state to build out more of much-needed EV infrastructure, supporters say.

“Proposition 30 is the climate action ballot initiative that will help millions of Californians afford electric vehicles, create a statewide EV charging network, and reduce catastrophic wildfires by funding forest management, more firefighters, and firefighting equipment,” according to Yes on Prop 30. “The measure generates approximately $100 billion over 20 years for these critical programs by taxing only those who can most afford it — Californians with personal income over $2 million per year.”

Prop 30 Official Secretary of State Summary: Allocates tax revenues to zero-emission vehicle purchase incentives, vehicle charging stations, and wildfire prevention. Fiscal Impact: Increased state tax revenue ranging from $3.5 billion to $5 billion annually, with the new funding used to support zero-emission vehicle programs and wildfire response and prevention activities.

What a “Yes” vote on Prop 30 means: Taxpayers would pay an additional tax of 1.75 percent on personal income above $2 million annually. The revenue collected from this additional tax would support zero-emission vehicle programs and wildfire response and prevention activities.

What a “No” vote on Prop 30 means: No change would be made to taxes on personal income above $2 million annually.

Proposition 31: Uphold the Flavored Tobacco Ban

A ‘Yes’ vote on Prop 31 upholds a stalled 2020 law that bans the sale of some flavored tobacco products. A ‘No’ vote overturns it.

That 2020 law hasn’t gone into effect because Prop 31 qualified for the California ballot. If the law is upheld, California would become the second state the enact such legislation alongside Massachusetts. Los Angeles, San Diego and other cities already have bans.

Supporters of the ban include doctors, child welfare advocates and the state’s Democratic Party.

Tobacco giants, including R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA, spent $20 million on a campaign that gathered enough signatures for the ballot measure. A repeal of the law also has support form the California Republican party, which says it would result in a loss in tax revenue. The independent Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates it could cost the state tens of millions of dollars to around $100 million annually.

It’s already illegal for retailers to sell tobacco to anyone under 21. But advocates of the ban say flavored cigarettes and vaping cartridges are still too easy for teens to obtain. The ban wouldn’t make it a crime to possess such products, but retailers who sold them to kids could be fined up to $250.

The ban passed the Legislature with bipartisan support. It also would ban the sale of pods for vape pens, tank-based systems and chewing tobacco, with exceptions for hookahs, some cigars and loose-leaf tobacco.

Prop 31 Official Secretary of State Summary: A “Yes” vote approves, and a “No” vote rejects, a 2020 law prohibiting retail sale of certain flavored tobacco products. Fiscal Impact: Decreased state tobacco tax revenues ranging from tens of millions of dollars annually to around $100 million annually.

What a “Yes” vote on Prop 31 means:  In-person stores and vending machines could not sell most flavored tobacco products and tobacco product flavor enhancers.

What a “No” vote on Prop 31 means: In-person stores and vending machines could continue to sell flavored tobacco products and tobacco product flavor enhancers, as allowed under other federal, state, and local rules.

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