Californians to vote on 7 ballot measures in November
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California voters will weigh in on seven ballot measures this fall, the fewest to appear on a statewide general election ballot since 2014.
Thursday was the deadline to qualify the measures for the November ballot. Secretary of State Shirley Weber has confirmed that seven questions will appear in November. Six are ballot initiatives that supporters have collected enough signatures to place before voters and one was placed on the ballot by the state legislature.
Two other initiatives that had qualified were withdrawn after state lawmakers reached a compromise and passed legislation before the deadline. Lawmakers also dismissed a possible question about whether to remove involuntary servitude as a punishment for a crime from the state constitution.
This year’s ballot measures ask voters to weigh in on a variety of issues, including abortion, sports betting and school funding.
This question placed on the ballot by the state legislature asks voters to change the state constitution to guarantee the right to abortion and contraceptives. Last month, the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, letting states decide whether or not to allow abortions. California is run by Democrats who support abortion rights, so the laws here aren’t going to change any time soon. But California’s abortion rights are based on the right to privacy enshrined in the state constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade concluded that the right to privacy does not guarantee the right to abortion, regarding proponents that state abortion laws might be vulnerable in state courts. This amendment, known as the first proposal, would leave no doubt that abortion is legal in California.
Two ballot initiatives would amend the California constitution to make sports betting legal in California. But they would do it in different ways. Both would only allow federally recognized Native American tribes to run sports betting operations. The key question is how people would be allowed to place bets.
One initiative, Proposition 26, would allow people to bet on sports at private racetracks on Native American lands in four counties. Part of a 10% tax would help pay for gambling law enforcement and programs to help addicts. This measure is supported by some Native American tribes.
Another measure, Proposition 27, would allow people to use their phones to place sports bets. A tax would first pay for regulatory costs, while 85% of what remains would go to homeless assistance programs while the remaining 15% would go to non-participating Native American tribes. This measure is supported by some sports betting companies.
If both initiatives pass, the one with the most votes will become law.
Arts, music in public schools
This initiative, Proposition 28, would require lawmakers to use 1% of all state funding for public schools for music and arts education programs. This would represent between $800 million and $1 billion each year, according to a nonpartisan analysis by the Office of the Legislative Analyst. For schools with 500 or more students, at least 80% of the money should be spent on employing teachers while the rest could be used for training, supplies and educational partnerships. The initiative was put on the ballot by the group Californians for Arts and Music Education in Public Schools.
Raise taxes on the rich
This measure, Proposition 30, would raise taxes on the wealthy and use the money for wildfire prevention programs and incentives to help people buy electric cars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The initiative, funded by a coalition of ridesharing companies, labor and environmental groups; would increase taxes by 1.75% for people with at least $2 million in personal income per year. This would bring in between $3 billion and $4.5 billion in new revenue each year. Of that money, 45% would go to rebates and other incentives for buying electric cars, 35% to charging stations and 20% to forest fire prevention programs, with a focus on hiring. and firefighter training.
This initiative, Proposition 31, asks voters whether a 2020 law banning the sale of certain flavored tobacco products in California should go into effect or be struck down. When the state legislature passes a law, voters have the power to prevent it from taking effect if they can collect enough signatures to put a referendum on the ballot. That’s what tobacco companies did after lawmakers passed a law in 2020 banning certain flavored tobacco products, arguing the products were designed to appeal to children. The law has been delayed until voters can decide in November.
This measure, Proposition 29, would require the presence of a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant during treatment at an outpatient kidney dialysis clinic. This will be the third consecutive general election where voters have been asked this question. The two previous measures failed. This measure is again supported by the unions representing health care workers. And again, the kidney dialysis companies are against it. Some have suggested that the subtext of these ballot initiatives reflects a broader battle by unions trying to organize workers at the state’s more than 600 kidney dialysis clinics.