Propositions on the CA ballot
based on info at https://calmatters.org/election-2020-guide/
PROPOSITION 14: Have California continue funding stem cell research, by borrowing up to $5.5 billion.
Prop. 14 would generate the money to keep open the state’s own stem cell agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and expand its research capacity. That would include dedicating $1.5 billion for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, epilepsy, and other brain and central nervous system diseases. The rest of the money would go for other research, medical training, building new research facilities and expanding treatment access.
The state would sell investors bonds worth $5.5 billion, and taxpayers would then pay back that money, with interest, over the next 30 years. Estimated cost: $7.8 billion.
PROP 15: Hike property taxes on big business, raising $ for schools and local governments.
Now, owners of real estate pay property taxes based on the price they originally paid— typically a lot less than its current worth. If this passes, property taxes for large businesses would be levied on the property’s current higher assessed value, netting $6.5-11.5 billion — 60% for cities, counties and special districts, and 40% for schools and community colleges. Properties like Disneyland and other corporate owned building have been the main beneficiaries of the old Prop. 13 that claimed to protect homeowners from higher taxes as their homes increased in value, because corporate property never changes hands or gets taxed at the new assessed value, whereas most homes have been.
Not affected: homeowners, and businesses with under $3 million in CA property. Farmland would be exempt. Analysis by the Legislative Analyst’s Office couldn’t determine if buildings and improvements on that land would be exempt too.
PROP 16: Restore affirmative action in California — meaning universities and government offices could factor in race, gender or ethnicity in making hiring, spending and admissions decisions.
This has been illegal in California since 1996, when voters approved Prop 209 banning affirmative action. An example of how Prop. 16 might work: When California did allow affirmative action, state offices set goals for how many contracts they awarded to women-owned and minority-owned businesses. But it wouldn’t create racial quotas in university admissions. The US Supreme Court banned those in 1978.
PROP 17: Allow people on parole in California to vote.
It would allow parolees to run for office if they’re registered to vote and haven’t been convicted of perjury or bribery. California now prohibits state prisoners and parolees from voting. People serving time in county jails can vote, unless they’re transferring to a state or federal prison, or serving time for a parole violation. Dc and 16 states allow people to vote once they’ve finished their prison sentences. Vermont and Maine let people vote while in prison. CA already allows probationers and federal parolees in CA to vote.
PROP 18: Allow 17-year-olds to vote in primary and special elections if they’ll be 18 and eligible by the next general election.
Currently, voters must be 18 to participate in any local, state or federal election. This constitutional amendment would also pave the way for 17-year-olds who qualify to vote under this proposition to seek office, because the law says only registered voters can run for elected positions. This is a half-measure; it doesn’t really lower the voting age to 18 for general elections, but since CA’s presidential primary was moved much earlier to try to impact the selection, it would allow those who can vote in Nov. to vote the previous March. Really lowering the voting age to 16 or 17 would make a dent in the racial skew of CA’s electorate compared to its population since older voters are more predominantly white than younger ones; the majority of 16- and 17-year-olds in CA are youth of color.
PROP 19: Those 55 or older get a property tax break buying a new home. To fund that, it curtails a separate tax break on homes inherited from parents and grandparents.
Typically when Californians sell a house and buy a new home, property taxes shoot up, because property taxes are based on the value of your home when you bought it. Boomers who bought a bungalow after Woodstock are paying less in taxes than the tech yuppies who bought an identical bungalow last year. This prop would allow the Boomer couple to buy a new house in the state and retain their relatively low property taxes.
Under current law, if you inherit a Malibu estate you can rent it out yet still pay property tax at the parents’ rates. This prop would mean adult heirs who want to keep their artificially low tax need to live in their inherited digs. New revenue from closing the inheritance tax break could generate billions for schools, local governments and the state. A big chunk would go to firefighters and cover the reduced revenue from the new tax break in this proposition.
PROP 20: Increase penalties for property crimes and repeat parole violations — and make it more difficult for some convicts to qualify for early parole.
It would give DAs new flexibility to charge some property crimes of more than $250, such as “serial shoplifting” and carjacking, as felonies. It increases penalties for violating parole three times, making more likely a return to jail or prison.
It would require DNA samples from people convicted of certain misdemeanors — including shoplifting, forgery and illegal drug possession — to be stored in a state database, and double the number of felonies that disqualify prison inmates from being able to apply for early parole consideration. This is being backed heavily by cop and prison guard unions, prosecutors, and big supermarket chains, trying to reverse previous propositions that sought to reduce penalties and mass incarceration for some offenses.
PROP 21: Allow cities to pass rent control measures on rental housing more than 15 years old.
Last year, CA capped annual rent increases at around 8%, pegged on top of inflation. This prop would eliminate part of the Costa-Hawkins ban on cities enacting their own rent control laws for single-family homes or rental housing first occupied in the past 25 years, or preventing landlords from raising the rent to market rates when a tenant leaves. Prop 10, which tried to repeal Costa-Hawkins, won a majority in LA but failed state-wide.
There are exemptions built into Prop. 21. Cities still wouldn’t be able to cap rent increases by “mom-and-pop landlords,” who own no more than two small properties such as single-family homes or condos. If the measure passes, cities and the state may lose revenue, because landlords will pay lower property taxes if the rent controls reduce the assessed value of the property.
PROP 22: Exempt gig companies like Uber and Lyft from requiring them to treat workers as employees.
Since January, state law has required gig workers in many industries to be classified as employees and get benefits such as overtime, health care, sick leave, unemployment insurance and workers’ comp. If this measure passes, companies that employ drivers through apps—Lyft, Uber, DoorDash and Instacart—could keep workers classified as contractors and offer narrower benefits, including pay at least 120% of minimum wage, health care subsidies and accident insurance.
Benefits under Prop. 22 would be tied to drivers’ “engaged time” completing passenger routes, excluding any wait time on apps between rides. The measure also includes consumer safety changes such as more driver background checks and zero tolerance for drug or alcohol violations.
PROP 23: Require kidney dialysis clinics to have at least one physician present during operating hours, and report infection data to the state.
It also would require that operators get approval from the state’s health department before closing a clinic, and prohibit clinics from discriminating against patients based on insurance type. The number of people who require dialysis tcontinues to grow; about 80,000 Californians depend on it. That also means a boom in the dialysis industry.
Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, has sought to organize these companies. Two years ago, an SEIU initiative that would have limited clinics’ profits was defeated by a heavy ad campaign by the clinics, so this is round two.
PROP 24: Change California’s data privacy law:
By letting you tell businesses to limit the use of sensitive data, such as your exact location, health information, race and religion
By prohibiting businesses from holding onto your data for longer than necessary
By authorizing a fine up to $7,500 for companies violating children’s privacy rights
By creating a new state agency to enforce this law, investigate violations and assess penalties
By reducing the number of businesses that have to comply, making it apply only to companies that buy or sell data of at least 100,000 households a year.
This is being pushed by Alastair Mactaggart, a real estate developer who began advocating for consumer privacy a few years ago and helped get a state law passed in 2018, which he feels doesn’t have enough teeth to protect privacy.
PROP 25: A referendum on a state law passed last year that would transform how people get out of jail awaiting trial — California would replace cash bail with an algorithm judges use to allow pre-trial release.
Under cash bail, you put up cash or property or pay bail bond companies for an insurance bond at steep rates or wait for trial in jail. DAs use jail as a way to force plea deals, and those jailed awaiting trial are likely to lose jobs and suffer other harms. This measure was put on the ballot by bail bond and insurance companies to try to reverse the law. A “yes” vote upholds a 2018 law that sought to eliminate cash bail and replace it with an algorithm to assess a person’s risk for not appearing at trial — the higher the risk, the less likely they are to be released. A “no” vote would eliminate that law. Not affected: People accused of crimes outside the state court system. Progressives are split, because many found that law put too much power in the hands of judges and in a racially-biased algorithm; others want to uphold the elimination of cash bail and work on a legislative ‘fix’.