Haven’t voted yet? Well, you’re running out of time. Here’s a quick rundown of California’s propositions on the ballot this year
Proposition 14 would allow the state to sell bonds to fund stem cell research. Stem cells are cells that have not yet chosen an organ to major in. They can be injected into a liver, heart or other organ of your choice. They are regeneration cells, and have the potential to treat diseases including Alzheimer’s, HIV/AIDS, diabetes and cancer. Stem cells are most effective when harvested from fertilized human eggs that are four to five days old, causing some controversy in people who care about that sort of thing. Vote yes to authorize the state to sell bonds to raise money for this research, or no to not fund the research.
This is a tax bill that will increase taxes for corporations, cut taxes for home-based business and raise money for schools. Vote yes.
Affirmative action is legal in 42 states, but was voted out of California in the 90s. Enrollment of minorities at competitive universities dropped as a result. The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson and many lost Black lives have brought racial inequalities into a starker light, making affirmative action more appealing. Opponents say California is already doing enough and that it would be “reverse racism,” which is not a thing. Vote yes to approve affirmative action.
Restores voting rights for people on parole. Currently, a person who is in jail or has completed their sentence and related parole can vote. Felons in state prison or on parole cannot. People on parole have committed serious crimes, such as murder, rape, robbery, arson, or kidnapping. After their prison term, they are assigned a parole officer and must follow strict rules. This bill will also allow parolees to run for office if they haven’t been convicted of perjury or bribery. Vote yes to restore voting rights or no to keep restrictions.
Vote yes to grant 17-year-olds the right to vote in primary elections if they turn 18 in the next general election. This does not mean that a 17-year-old will be able to vote in the general election, but if they turn 18 on or before election day, they can vote in the primary before the general election.
A property tax that increases the tax rate on inherited properties if the person inheriting it does not live there. It would also expand moving for seniors by allowing them to transfer the lower tax rate of their old homes into a new place up to three times throughout the state. Currently, they can only move once within the same county to keep the tax rate of the first property when they bought it. It would generate a few million dollars per year, 75 percent of which would go to fund fire protection. Vote yes to increase taxes on wealthy families.
This would revive tough-on-crime by reclassifying property crimes as ‘wobblers’ that are either misdemeanors or felonies. It would boost penalties for parole violations, and require DNA samples for misdemeanor property crimes. It would also create a new list of offenses that deny eligibility for early parole, including domestic violence, which isn’t currently classified as a violent crime. That is a problem. I don’t blame you if you skip this one, but vote no to not be tough-on-crime, or yes to be tough-on-crime.
This would repeal parts of the Costa-Hawkins Act, which limited local rent control laws across California. A yes vote would allow cities to enact stronger rent control laws on most properties older than 15 years, and cap rent increases for new tenants at 15 percent with no increase for three years. A no vote would maintain current rent control laws.
VOTE NO. Proposition 22 would classify app-based drivers as independent contractors, who are only paid while driving, but not while waiting. They do not have full health insurance. Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart have spent $170 million to back this because they profit from not classifying their employees as such. A no vote would force the state to classify drivers as a special category, neither independent contractors nor regular employees.
Would add more requirements for dialysis clinics, including having at least one physician on-site, report infection data, have state approval before closing and prohibit insurance discrimination. Vote yes for more requirements or no to not add requirements.
Amends data protection laws and establishes a new state agency to enforce them. Critics say this would keep the current system, where a consumer has to opt out to protect their data. An alternative would be setting ‘don’t sell my data’ as the default, and companies would have to ask them to opt-in. Vote yes to amend the current data protection laws, or no to keep the current data protection system.
Vote yes to replace cash bail with risk assessment based on public safety and flight risk. Defendants who can’t pay bail are nine times more likely to plead guilty despite innocence. Opponents say that the risk assessment tool can be overridden by a judge, who may be in favor of locking more people up, especially if they are Black. The Public Policy Institute Of California predicts that 142,000 people per year would spend less time in jail under Prop 25.
Vote yes to raise fire protection funds. The funds would pay to unfreeze eight firefighting positions and reopen a third fire station. It would address aging equipment as needed. Paid for by renewing the three percent Utility Users Tax.