What is a Proposition?
A proposition is the name for a law or amendment to the California Constitution that is directly voted on by the citizens of California. This means that when you vote, you have the chance of directly choosing some laws for the state! In general, propositions get on the ballot through a petitioning process, so people collect signatures in order to put a law on the ballot. There are some other rules as well, and the California government can put propositions on the ballot, but most of the time they get there by signing petitions.
This year there are 7 propositions on the ballot, numbered 1, and then 26 through 31. Propositions are numbed in two-year cycles, so in 2020 we had propositions 14-25 and now we are picking back up with 26. Prop 1 is a constitutional amendment so it’s not really a prop, it’s a state measure. That’s why it goes first.
Here are the props on the November ballot:
Prop 1: Constitutional Right to Reproductive Freedom
California’s Constitution works in a similar way to the US Constitution, with a few major differences. Like the US Constitution, the state constitution is the highest law of the land and provides rules that a legislature or judicial body cannot override or ignore. If you want to amend, or add something to the US Constitution, there is a process to follow, first you need to get either 2/3 of both legislatures (House and Senate) or a constitutional convention called by 2/3 of the state legislatures (this has never happened.) Then you need to get 2/3 of the state legislatures to approve, or 2/3 of state conventions to ratify or approve. This process is difficult, and that is why there have only been 17 amendments (outside of the 10 Bill of Rights).
In California, you can amend the constitution by either a 2/3 vote in both houses of the California legislature, or by collecting enough signatures to put the amendment on the ballot. Either way, we, the citizens of California, have to vote on the amendments. This popular vote is a simple plurality vote, meaning the yes votes just need one more vote than no’s to be successful. This makes the California constitution particularly easy to change. There are over 513 amendments to the California constitution!
This prop was put on the ballot by the state legislature, which succeeded in a 2/3 vote to try to add it to the constitution. Now, we have to vote to see if we approve of the amendment.
The amendment is as follows:
The state shall not deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions, which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives. This section is intended to further the constitutional right to privacy guaranteed by Section 1, and the constitutional right to not be denied equal protection guaranteed by Section 7. Nothing herein narrows or limits the right to privacy or equal protection.
Overall, this is pretty straightforward, it enshrines a right of bodily reproductive autonomy, including abortion and contraception, in the California constitution.
California already has laws on the books making abortion and contraceptive access legal, and this constitutional amendment wouldn’t affect that. It would simply add an additional protection, making it more difficult for a future legislature or state government to overturn or circumvent these laws. In a way this is a symbolic move in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, but it does make California’s protections stronger by enshrining them in the constitution.
With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the right to reproductive care, which includes abortion, but also goes beyond to include access to contraceptives, and a whole host of other things, is increasingly under attack. And while states like Kansas have successfully voted to protect these rights, enshrining them in the California constitution seems like a no-brainer.
Prop 26: Allows In-Person Roulette, Dice Games, Sports Wagering on Tribal Lands
In 2018 Murphy v. NCAA the US Supreme Court struck down a federal law that prohibited sports betting. However, California still has laws that make sports betting in the state illegal. Additionally the state also bans other forms of betting including roulette and dice games.
This proposition would change this so that these additional forms of gambling, including sports betting, would be legal in the state, when done in-person at tribal casinos. It would also allow for additional in-person sports betting at the 4 private horse racetracks, where betting on horseracing is legal.
Additionally, as it stands now, tribal casinos do not pay taxes on any casino profits. This prop would create a new California Sports Wagering Fund (CSFW) which would require the racetracks to pay into a state fund. Tribal casinos would have to re-negotiate their contracts with the state if they would like to offer sports betting or new games, and this negotiation might come with a requirement to pay into the CSFW. This money would be used for education, and it would also would go into the state’s general fund, as well as support for gambling addiction and the enforcement of gambling laws.
This one is a bit tricky, and I recognize that it is a bit silly to make arbitrary distinctions about what exact type of gambling we are going to allow. All of the funding for this issue, on both sides, is coming from casinos who either want to pass this law to expand what they can offer or want to prevent this law because they think it will cut into their existing business. In my mind, this law seems unnecessary, it isn’t like the casinos aren’t making enough money without it.
Prop 27: Allows Online and Mobile Sports Wagering Outside Tribal Lands
This prop could be seen as a sort of companion prop to Prop 26. Again, the Supreme Court allowed sports betting in 2018, but California has a law making it illegal in the state. This prop would allow for online sports betting in the state. You have probably seen the result of this Supreme Court case in the millions of ads for sports betting apps like DraftKings, or in more broadcasts talking about betting lines and number before and during games (The Apple TV MLB broadcasts did this a lot). Currently you can do some online betting in California, things like fantasy football betting is in a strange legal grey area, but overt betting is illegal.
This prop would change that and make online and mobile sports betting legal in California. It would tie this betting to existing casinos, so either the casinos would have to develop their own online betting apps and websites, or they would partner with existing sites to offer betting in California. It would also establish a 10% tax on this online gambling, with the money earmarked for a special fund designed to stop homelessness.
The funding for this one is a bit trickier, as most of the major casinos are funding efforts to defeat the prop, while the major out-of-state online betting apps, like DraftKings and FanDuel are for it.
It seems to me like this is a prop where these major companies are smelling blood in the water and are trying to open up a huge new market for online betting in California. These companies are annoying and the fact that literally everyone, including both major parties in California are against it provides a good reason to be skeptical. The ability for this fund to actually provide meaningful money to homeless services is vague as the state would again have to negotiate with casinos, like they would in Prop 26 before they get any money. It is also worth noting that the problem of homelessness is not a problem of money, but a problem of political will. California has a giant budget surplus so the issue isn't having enough money. Nobody wants to do what is needed to actually fix the problem, which is to build more accessible, affordable housing, and lots of it. Homelessness is a housing problems and there have been books written by social scientists to prove this (one usefully titled Homelessness is a Housing Problem), so I don’t buy the solutionism of just throwing gambling money at the issue. It is also a huge law, taking up nearly 20 pages of the voter guide booklet (yes, they did mail me a voter guide book to Toronto!) with lots of requirements for independent commissions and regulatory agencies and conditions for disputes, so there is a lot of room for insider dealing or exploitable loopholes here.
Prop 28: Provides Additional Funding for Arts and Music Education in Public Schools
This prop is simple. It provides more money for arts education. About 1 billion dollars per year.
It provides 70% of that money to schools based on school enrollment, and then 30% to schools with “economically disadvantages pupils.”
This money doesn’t come from any new taxes, it just shuffles some existing money around. Currently 40% of revenue in California’s general fund must be spent on schools. So basically 40% of all incoming money to the state, through existing taxes and the like, must be spent on schools. In 2022 this was 101 billion. This proposition would say that 1% of this money given to schools must go to arts education. So its 1% of $101 billion or about $1 billion in 2022. This would also mean that this money would change based on the economy. If the state takes in more revenue, then schools, and thus arts, would get more. But if the state takes in less, then schools and thus arts, would get less.
This should be an easy yes. No new taxes, just move some money around so that schools can hire more band teachers or drama teachers or art teachers. More kids should be in band. Pass the prop. Also, literally nobody is funding a “no” campaign. Literally nobody. There isn’t an established “no” campaign, and there is no money being spent trying to defeat this one.
Prop 29: Requires On-Site Licensed Medical Professional At Kidney Dialysis Clinics and Establishes Other State Requirements
This prop is basically the same as the same one that got defeated in 2020. So I’ll just repost what I said then:
There are around 600 dialysis facilities in California, where individuals with renal failure can go to receive dialysis, a process that replicates the function of the kidneys to filter blood. Dialysis facilities are operated by for-profit corporations who specialize in owning and operating these facilities. They are often not associated with hospitals or other medical facilities.
This proposition would create several regulations that would apply to these facilities.
First, it would require a doctor, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant to be on-site during all hours that a patient receives treatment.
Second, it requires the center to report data on dialysis-related infections to the states and establishes penalties if they do not.
Third, it requires a dialysis center to receive permission from the state before closing or reducing services. This is aimed at preventing a situation where patients would not have easy access to dialysis.
Fourth, it prohibits dialysis centers from refusing services based on who is paying. Basically, the center can’t refuse to take Medicaid, Medicare or Medi-Cal.
This one is tricky. A number of possibly beneficial aspects are being overshadowed by one main requirement. The requirement to have a doctor at every facility, at all times, is probably unnecessary. However, the requirements to report data, and the requirement to take all forms of insurance are all good things. It is also complicated by the fact that this is part of a union fight aimed at unionizing dialysis workers, which seems to be a good thing, but also it seems like the unions are putting this on the ballot because they know it is bad and want to force the companies to negotiate with the union in exchange for not trying to pass these laws. However, most doctor and nursing organizations are in opposition, and they mostly focus on the doctor requirement. So, it seems like the good elements of this prop are overshadowed by the one large bad element.
Prop 30: Provides Funding for Programs to Reduce Air Pollution and Prevent Wildfires by Increasing Tax on Personal Income Over $2 Million
This prop is also tricky, not so much for what it does, but for who supports and opposes it, and why it is so contentious.
This prop raises taxes on individuals making more than $2 million per year, and then allocates this money to create subsides for zero-emission-vehicles (ZEVs) like electric cars, provide subsidized charging stations and other infrastructure, and also provide some money for wildfire relief. This would raise an estimated $3.5 to $5 billion annually
Overall, 45% of this money would go to help people buy new vehicles, 35% would go to charging stations and other infrastructure and 20% would go towards wildfire response and prevention.
Here’s why this is contentious. The biggest doner to the “yes” campaign is Lyft, while Gavin Newsom and the California Teachers Association is joining with the Republican Party to oppose it. Strange.
I think this has to do with a few different things. First, California already has a number of requirements to help push these ZEVs (it is also worth noting that electric cars might not be the climate change silver bullet, especially as opposed to things like expanding public transit, but that’s a different argument). For example, the state already allocated $10 billion over 5 years, or $2 billion per year, to support subsides and rebates for these vehicles and to create new infrastructure.
Also complicating this picture is the law that says that 90% Uber and Lyft drivers in California need to be driving ZEV’s by 2030.
So why is Lyft in favor of it, and Newsom opposed? This is just speculation, but some are calling this a cash grab by Lyft. If Lyft has to make sure that its drivers have electric cars, why wouldn’t they support a prop that has California help pay for electric cars, rather than them footing the bill themselves. It would also make California create and support an infrastructure that they could then use.
But why is Newsom against it? I looked at his campaign contributions from 2021 (the 2022 numbers aren’t out) and it doesn’t seem like he’s getting fossil fuel money, or car money (although state laws make this a bit hard to tell.) Perhaps he just wants to avoid being identified as raising taxes in a year where he is up for election?
While the question of Lyft’s support is questionable, they are also in a fight over their gig worker designation in California, so it is unclear if their situation will be the same in 2030. This seems like a hedging move by Lyft (and its notable that Uber isn’t also funding this). But on the upside, nearly doubling the yearly spending to improve the major impediment against electric vehicles, the charging infrastructure, would be very useful, and the extra wildfire money is an added bonus. I admit to being a bit skeptical about the utility of all of this, when California has a nearly $100 billion surplus that they could allocate to any number of things, and we are discussing a few hundred million dollars. Still, I like supporting electric vehicles, at least until we figure out a public transit solution.
Prop 31: Referendum on 2020 Law That Would Prohibit the Retail Sale of Certain Flavored Tobacco Products
In 2020 California passed a law that or prohibits the sale of flavored tobacco products in cigarettes, e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco. The exception to this is premium cigars, loose-leaf tobacco and hookah tobacco. However, this law did not go into effect, because this got enough signatures to qualify for the ballot and put the question before voters. If this goes into effect, the state is estimating a loss of $100 million dollars in lost tobacco tax revenue.
The impact of this is a bit tricky, as the federal government has already banned flavored cigarettes, (except menthol, which is under review at the FDA), so this is just supporting the existing law. Additionally, some local governments have also banned flavored e-cigarettes, so the passage of this law wouldn’t change anything in those local areas.
One of the major types of propositions is a referendum, where a law that was passed by the state legislature can be put on a ballot to see if voters want to approve or reject the law. This is one such law.
Overall, this prop is rather simple, a “yes” vote approves the law that was passed in 2020 banning some flavored tobacco, while a “no” vote rejects it.
Much of this is already banned either federally, or locally, so creating a single state-wide restriction would not be a huge change. Also banning flavoring makes it less likely for people, especially underage people to take up smoking in the first place, which is a good thing.
Senate-Full Term & Senate-Partial Term
Endorsement: Alex Padilla
So, Padilla is actually on the ballot twice (he was on the ballot twice in the primary as well). This is because he was appointed to fill Kamala Harris’ seat when she was elected Vice President. In California, when there is a vacancy in Congress, the governor can appoint a replacement, but there has to be a special election at the next election to see if they can finish out the term. However, Kamala Harris was originally supposed to be up for election in November anyway, so now we have to do this sort of dumb thing.
First, we have to vote to see if Padilla can keep being Senator until January 2023. Then we have to vote again to see if he can be Senator from January 2023 until January 2029. Padilla isn’t my favorite, but he’s the Democrat on the ballot.
Endorsement: Gavin Newsom
Newsom isn’t my favorite either, and I got mad at him over a bunch of Covid stuff, and how he wanted to placate everyone politically, rather than doing what was possibly unpopular, but best. But we have a giant surplus and I admit I do like him yelling at Greg Abbot in Texas and DeSantis in Florida. Also the Republican candidate is a maniac, so Newsom it is.
Endorsement: Eleni Kounalakis
Unlike the US government where the President and Vice President run on a ticket together, in California they each run for different elections. However the Lieutenant Governor doesn’t do all that much, so the standard democrat is good.
Secretary of State:
Endorsement: Shirley Weber
I’m not gonna bore you with all of this. Vote for the Democrat because the alternative is bad.
Endorsement: Malia Cohen
Endorsement: Fiona Ma
Endorsement: Rob Bonta
Endorsement: Ricardo Lara
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Endorsement: Tony Thurmond
He’s endorsed by one of my unions, the California Teacher’s Association, and focused on equity. The other guy running is a “school choice” candidate (read: Charter and Private school advocate), and not interested in public school policy.
California Supreme Court Justices
California’s supreme court is similar to the US Supreme Court. It is the highest court dealing with state law, and its decisions are only reviewable by the US Supreme Court. However, unlike the SCOTUS, the California supreme court justices are subject to approval elections. They are initially appointed by the governor, but they serve terms of 12 years, after which they must be re-elected. These elections are non-partisan approval elections. You either vote “yes” to give them another term, or “no” to reject them and have the governor choose someone else.
Currently on the supreme court but seeking to be appointed its chief justice. She was the first Latina on the supreme court and would be the first Latina Chief Justice.
She was appointed to the supreme court by Newsom earlier this year, and now is on the ballot to be promoted to Chief Justice because the current Chief Justice is retiring. Her only major decision was when she held Amazon liable for selling defective products.
Joshua P Groban
Groban was appointed to the court in 2019 by Jerry Brown and is now seeking to be confirmed in that position. Prior to that he worked in Jerry Brown’s administration and was a private lawyer working antitrust and intellectual property cases. There is not much information about his private practice, but nothing here is disqualifying.
Martin J. Jenkins
Jenkins was appointed in 2020 by Newsom and is the first openly gay justice. He was appointed to the federal district court by Clinton, but then was brought into the state court by Schwarzenegger. He has some major court cases, he allowed for disciplinary action against San Francisco police officers who sent racist texts in 2018. But he also prevented Jerry Brown from suing car companies for adding to global warming, although his decision basically said that its not the job of the court to fix global warming, it is the job of the legislature, which I think is fair.
Liu is the only one on the ballot who is effectively running for re-election. He was appointed in 2011 by Jerry Brown, and then won his election. He’s now up for another term. He was up for a federal court position when Obama was president but was one of the justices filibustered by Republicans. He also publicly took Samuel Alito to task when Alito was being appointed to the SCOTUS, saying that Alito sides with the police and prosecutors while minimizing their abuses, so he’s alright with me because Alito sucks.
ALL APPEALS COURT JUSTICES: YES
I researched all of them (and there were a LOT) and none of them had any red flags.
More Local Stuff:
I’m registered to vote in Long Beach, so this is where all my local races are.
Mayor Rex Richardson
Long Beach City Council – 5th District: Megan Kerr
Ian Patton is a NIMBY
Long Beach Community College Board of Trustees – Area 5: Juan Cepeda-Rizo
Cepeda-Rizo is endorsed by the union.
State Assembly – 69th district: Josh Lowenthal
I don’t like the nepotism, but Al Austin is endorsed by all the police unions.
US Representative- 42nd District: Robert Garcia
I think Garcia was a fine Long Beach mayor and will do fine in Congress
Measure LBC: YES
Political science research shows that when national and local elections are held on the same day, voter turnout is higher and you get more representative outcomes.
Measure E: YES
More police oversight is good and the Citizen Police Complain Commission is kind of a disaster.
Measure BB: YES
Public Utilities are good.
Measure Q: YES
Repair those classrooms.
Measure LBU: YES
Same as LBC, make the elections all on the same day.
Water Replenishment District Division 3: Gerrie Schipske
I liked her when she was on city council.
Sherriff: Robert Luna
Not a huge Luna fan, but dear god get rid of Villanueva. He is an active threat to democracy.
Superior Court Judge – 60: Anna Slotky Reitano
My general rule for judges. I don’t vote for prosecutors, if I can help it, and then try to support diversity on the court as much as possible.
Superior Court Judge – 67: Elizabeth Lashley-Haynes
Superior Court Judge – 70: Holly Hancock
Superior Court Judge – 90: Melissa Lyons
Superior Court Judge – 118: Carolyn “Jiyoung” Park
Superior Court Judge – 151: Patrick Hare
County Measure C: Yes
A tax on cannabis helps the county raise money. Good by me.