California Propositions: Pros and Cons

Tired of Trump and Careless for Clinton? Here Are 17 CA Propositions You’ll Have a Say In

Voting for statewide propositions allows you to have a direct say in how your state is governed. In the 2016 election, California citizens will vote on 17 different ballot measures, on issues ranging from the death sentence to marijuana legalization and even condoms. Determining what these measures actually mean, and how to vote on them, can be difficult, as the language contained within them is often confusing or misleading. To help make sense of it all, here’s a cheat sheet for the California propositions that will be on your ballot Nov. 8.  

School Bonds, Prop 51— Approves $9 billion in governmental loans for development of K-12 public schools, charter schools, vocational schools, and CA Community Colleges.

Pro- Fix deteriorating schools and upgrade safety standards. Promote the development of affordable higher education.

Con- Unequal distribution will leave behind already disadvantaged schools. Will put California further into debt. Local bonds are more beneficial at allocating funds to schools.   

Medi-Cal Hospital Fee, Prop 52— This will require voter approval to use federal funds—that are suppose to be given to Medi-Cal patients—to other funds, ensuring the money is spent on low-income Californians healthcare.

Pro- The $3 billion generated each year by federal matching funds will permanently be given to low-income families, elderly and children will continue.

Con- There is a lack of accountability for how the money given to hospitals is spent.

State Revenue Bond Approval, Prop 53— This would require states to get voter approval before borrowing money on projects that exceed $2 billion.

Pro- Gives taxpayers a say in large government projects.

Con- Gives statewide control over local projects. No disaster or emergency exemption and could potentially halt needed repairs.

Legislative News Accessibility, Prop 54— Requires legislative bills to be posted on the internet 72 hours before voting. Also requires hearings are recorded and posted on internet.

Pro- Stops surprise legislation from passing without public knowledge and gives voters the ability to review actions made in meetings.

Con- Will give special interests ability to sway politicians before voting, especially compromising bipartisan bills.

Education and Health Care Tax, Prop 55— 12-year extension to the 2012 tax income tax increases on those making $250,000 or more a year. Revenues go toward K-12 schools, California Community Colleges, and healthcare.

Pro- $4 billion to $9 billion for schools and health care.

Con- Will extend income tax that was supposed to be temporary.

Cigarette Tax, Prop 56— Increases cigarettes taxes by $2.00. This also affects other tobacco and electronic cigarettes.

Pro- Revenue from these taxes will primarily be used on healthcare for low-income citizens.

Con- The $1 billion the tax will generate will be given to health insurance companies and special interests while only 13% helps smokers quit or prevents kids from starting.

Juvenile Criminal Sentencing and Non-Violent Parole, Prop 57— Considers early release on non-violent offenders and gives sentence reductions for rehabilitation efforts and education. Also requires juveniles to be heard in juvenile court before the possibility of being transferred to adult court.

Pro- Focuses on rehabilitation measures and protecting juvenile offenders, while keeping dangerous offenders in jail.

Con- Opponents fear it will release dangerous “non-violent” criminals and take rights away from victims.

Multilingual Education, Prop 58— Public schools have more control over how to teach English-learners, including bilingual education.

Pro- Allows children to learn in a way that best suits them.

Con- Requires more training in teachers.

Overturn Citizens United, Prop 59— Encourages elected officials to pursue overturning the 2010 Citizens United court decision, which permits unlimited indirect political spending.

Pro- Will give California officials our support in seeking increased regulations of campaign spending and takes power away from large corporations.

Con- Limits free speech.

Condoms in Adult Films, Prop 60— Requires adult film workers to wear condoms during sexual intercourse. Also requires producers to pay for testing and medical examinations.

Pro- Could reduces the transmissions of certain STIs.

Con- Undermines current safety regulations, violates privacy, exploits sex workers. Would give any Californian the ability to sue a sex worker or company for not requiring condom use. Disadvantages small production companies.

Prescription Drug Prices, Prop 61— Regulates drug prices to ensure their affordability.

Pro- State agencies would be forced to match prescription drug prices at the lowest cost, set by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Con- State could no longer negotiate prices. Could raise prices for veterans.

Repeal Death Penalty, Prop 62— Repeals the death penalty, applies retroactively to existing death sentences.

Pro- No offenders will be sentenced to death, prisoners would work and pay restitution during their life sentence.

Con- The death penalty saves taxpayer dollars (when combined with Prop 66).  

Ammunition Sales, Prop 63— Creates stricter requirements on selling or purchasing ammunition and makes it more difficult for certain individuals to purchase firearms.

Pro- Improve public safety and keep ammunition out of dangerous hands.

Con- Further invasions of privacy for purchasing ammunition.

Marijuana Legalization, Prop 64— Legalizes recreational marijuana use for adults over 21, imposes state taxes on sales, establishes standards for products. Adults could grow, possess, and use marijuana for recreation. Creates strict protections for children and penalizes impaired driving.

Pro- Reduces imprisonment of petty drug possession.

Con- Weed under one ounce is already decriminalized for everyone, not just those under 21, state Congress could stop medical covered costs, taxes can go to special interest groups.

Plastic Bag Tax, Prop 65— This proposition would take the $.10 charge at certain grocery stores and redirect profits to certain environmental agencies.

Pro- Rather than grocers profiting off carry-out bag taxes, environmental agencies would receive the money.

Con- The current plastic bag ban is better for the environment than a 10 cent tax. Prop 65 may override the pre-existing plastic bag ban if it receives more votes. Sponsored by the American Progressive Bag Alliance, mostly just large plastic bag companies.

Death Penalty, Prop 66– Changes court procedure for hearing death penalty challenges by limiting who can hear cases and limiting number of petitions.

Pro- Prop 66 would streamline death penalty cases by creating less appeals.

Con- Restricts appeals and increases risk of innocent executions.

Plastic Bags, Prop 67—Vote on whether or not to uphold the pre-existing plastic bag ban enacted in 2014.

Pro- Reduces environmentally harmful plastic pollution.

Con- Forces shoppers to pay $.10 for a recycled paper bag at grocery stores or bring your own canvas bags.

For more in-depth information visit California’s Official Voter Information Guide.