Propositions Overview : What Passed and What Didn’t
This year’s election has arguably been the most contentious and controversial in our nation’s history. The extreme rhetoric and multiple scandals dominated the media. But this rhetoric drowned out discussion about other election topics, such as the propositions on the ballot here in California. Many individuals were so focused on a potential Trump or Clinton presidency, they ignored the ballot propositions and the potential effects of their passage. Now that the election is over and the dust is starting to settle, we can look at what propositions failed and what propositions won. Here’s a rundown of all 17 ballot propositions, whether they passed or failed, and the effect of their possible passage or failure.
Proposition 51: K-12 and Community College Facilities. This propositions passed with 53.9% of the vote. The passage of this proposition allows the state to issue $9 billion in bonds with the goal to fund improvement and construction of school facilities for K-12 and community college facilities and buildings. $3 billion goes to construction of education facilities, $500 million for providing educational buildings to charter schools, $3 billion for modernization of current school buildings, $500 million for creating facilities that provide technical career knowledge and preparation and $2 billion for renovations, removal, construction and upgrading of community college facilities. Opponents of this bill, including Governor Jerry Brown, argued the bonds would further California’s debt, take away local control of education facilities and provide construction companies with more bond money they can use at their leisure.
Proposition 52: Medi-Cal Hospital Fee Program. Passed with 69.74%. Voter approval will now be required to change the use of fees hospitals drew from federal funding to fund Medi-Cal. This also continues funding the program through January 1st, and requires a two-thirds majority from the state legislature to end the program. Opponents, such as the Libertarian Party, alleged the fund would be misused by special interests and hospital CEOs.
Prop 53: Voter approval of revenue bonds. Did not pass with only 49%. The passage of the bill would have required voter approval on any revenue bonds totaling more than $2 billion that would be used for public infrastructure and would have increased taxes. This prop was hotly contested as arguments on one side favored voter approval of all projects while arguments on the other side alleged that statewide voter approval would take away control from local communities.
Prop 54: Legislative procedure requirements. Passed with 64% of the vote. Now the California state legislature cannot vote on any legislation that has not been in print and published on the internet 72 hours before the vote. This hopes to increase transparency in politics.
Prop 55: Extension of personal income taxes over $250,000. Passed with 62%. The income tax originally applied in 2012 is now extended for another 12 years. The original tax plan was said to only be temporary but this proposition extends it. The tax revenue would be used to fund healthcare and education.
Prop 56: Cigarette tax. Passed by 63%. This increases the tax on cigarettes by $2 per pack, with the additional revenue being funneled into tobacco prevention programs. Note this also applies to electronic cigarette products.
Prop 57: Parole for nonviolent offenders and juvenile trials. Passed by 63%. This increases the opportunities to obtain parole for nonviolent offenders and now allows judges to decide if juveniles should be tried as adults, a power prosecutors used to have. Leading up to the vote, controversy surrounded the definition of a non-violent offender as it included individuals convicted of certain forms of rape and assault.
Prop 58: Bilingual education in schools. Passed overwhelmingly with 72% of the vote. This repealed the 1998 prop 227 which banned non-English only classes being taught in public schools. This now allows school to have classes taught in languages other than English for students who do not speak English as a first language.
Prop 59: Campaign finance and the Citizens United ruling. Passed by 52%. This proposition isn’t so much a piece of legislation as it is an advisory opinion. The yes vote now means that the majority of Californians believe the state politicians should do anything in their power to overturn the Citizen’s United Supreme Court ruling, the controversial ruling that has been blamed for the rise of money in political speech.
Prop 60: Condoms in pornographic films. Did not pass with 54% voting no. This proposition had the distinction of being opposed by every major political party in California, meaning it had near universal opposition. It’s only major proponents were a few individual donors and an AIDS health group. The proposition would have required condoms to be worn in all films as well as adult film producers to pay for this costs and receive a state health license. The prop also allowed any California residents to enforce violations of these measures, which opponents argued would allow individual citizens to flood performers and producers with civil and criminal suits to harass them. There was also concern this proposition would force the large and lucrative adult film industry to move out of state to Arizona or Nevada, merely because certain individuals have a moral disagreement with pornographic films.
Prop 61: Prescription drug price standards. Did not pass. 53% voted no. This prop would have required state agencies to pay no more than the Veteran’s Affairs agency does for prescription drug prices. The VA traditionally paid the lowest out of any state or federal agency for prescription drugs. The opponents of this proposition, including numerous veteran advocacy groups, argued the passage would lead to increased prescription drug prices for all individuals, not just veterans.
Prop 62: Repeal the death penalty. Did not pass. 53% of voters voted to keep the death penalty. This is one of the bigger pieces of legislation on the ballot this year, as well as the first of two death penalty initiatives. The death penalty will continue to be used in California.
Prop 63: Background checks for ammo purchases. Passed by 62%. This proposition was heavily pushed by Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and opposed by California’s Republicans and Libertarians. This adds to the laundry list of gun control measures in California, which has among the toughest gun legislation in the nation. Now gun store owners must contact the Department of Justice to conduct a background check when an individual buys ammunition. Previous California legislation banned the purchase and manufacture of large-capacity magazines, but allowed an exemption for already owned large-capacity magazines. This proposition has repealed this exemption, enforcing a total ban on these magazines in the state. It is now a misdemeanor to sell ammo without a license and a felony to steal a firearm. It is also now a violation to purchase ammo outside the state and bringing it in without first having the ammunition delivered to a gun store in the state. Opponents of the proposition argued that this legislation only serves to inconvenience law-abiding gun owners and won’t affect crime, as they argue criminals do not purchase ammo legally, or they would smuggle it in from Nevada.
Prop 64: Marijuana legalization. Passed by 56%. Marijuana is now legal in California for recreational use, in addition to our previous medical marijuana. Individuals must now be at least 21 years of age to consume cannabis recreationally, and cannabis will be subject to certain sales and cultivation taxes. Consuming cannabis is not allowed while operating a vehicle or in a public place. Individuals are allowed to have up to 28.5 grams of marijuana up to 8 grams of marijuana in a concentrated form. Possession of cannabis around a school or other area frequented by children is still illegal. An individual can grow and cultivate up to 6 marijuana plants in their private homes as long as it is not visible to the public. Businesses can not sell within 600 feet of a school, day care or youth center. Large scale marijuana business are barred from obtaining a license to sell for the next five years to prevent the formation of a monopoly, which some have spoken out against. Local governments can ban the sale of marijuana within their municipalities if they so wish.
Prop 65: Carry-out bags. Did not pass. 55% voted no. This proposition would have redirected funds collected from the sale of carry-out bags sold by grocery stores to a fund set up by the wildlife conservation board. Opponents argued the proposition did little to actually increase the phasing out of plastic bags used in grocery stores.
Prop 66: Death penalty procedures. Voting was decided to be too close to call. 50.91% voted yes. 49.09% voted no. The proposition will not be put into effect for the time being. The proposition wished to implement various changes that were meant to speed up the death penalty procedure process and alleviate the crowding in death row.
Prop 67: Plastic bag ban. Passed with 52%. This bans the use of single-use carryout grocery bags. California has become the first state to do so.