While voters have plenty of important decisions to make when filling out their ballots this November, Californians will also vote on 11 propositions encompassing major topics of debate within the state.
Voters will decide on a selection of statewide ballot initiatives including proposals to create new bonds, change the state’s rent control policy, repeal the 2017 gas tax increase and bring about possible changes to daylight saving time. The nearly one dozen ballot measures are a decline from the 17 that appeared during the last presidential election, which included notable decisions like the legalization of recreational marijuana.
The number of propositions on this year’s ballot fell from 12 to 11 after Proposition 9, which would’ve asked voters to choose between splitting California into three separate states or keeping it whole, was removed from the ballot by order of the California Supreme Court. Of the 11 propositions, three were placed on the ballot by the State Legislature and eight came by way of petition signatures.
According to the California Secretary of State’s Office, a record number of voters will decide on the 11 remaining propositions. Nearly 1.5 million more people are registered to vote than were in the last midterm election in 2014 and more than 19 million Californians were registered to vote as of Sept. 7 — nearly 76 percent of all eligible voters in the state.
Those 19 million voters will be deciding on several propositions that revolve around housing — a topic that has gained traction this year as home prices and rent increase while available homes decrease. The first of those is Proposition 1, which would authorize bonds to fund specified housing assistance programs. Individuals with mental illness could also benefit if Proposition 2 is passed, which will authorize additional bonds to fund housing programs for them, while Proposition 10 would prohibit State law from limiting the kinds of rent control laws cities and counties could have.
Proposition 1 would borrow $4 billion for existing affordable housing programs for low-income residents, veterans, farmworkers, manufactured and mobile homes, infill and transient-oriented housing. Those in favor of the proposition claim it would help alleviate California’s homelessness crisis without raising taxes, but those opposed believe there are better approaches and bigger solutions required for such an extensive problem.
Proposition 2 would allow the state to use existing county mental health funds to pay for housing for those with mental illness who are homeless, which could amount to up to $5.6 billion. Homeless advocates, social workers, doctors and emergency responders are in favor of the initiative according to the California Official Voter Information Guide, while those in opposition to Proposition 2 believe the idea is faulty since it doesn’t require those living in provided housing to seek treatment.
Proposition 10 would restore authority to establish rent control in local communities, putting fair, annual limits on the amount landlords can raise rent and keeping tenants in their homes rather than being pushed into homelessness. Those opposed to the initiative believe it would make the housing crisis worse, allowing regulation of single-family homes and putting lawmakers in charge of housing.
There was public outcry in 2017 when the State Legislature passed Senate Bill 1, which raised taxes on gasoline 12 cents per gallon and increased vehicle registration fees between $25 and $175, depending on the car. If passed, Proposition 6 would repeal SB 1 and the Legislature would be required to get a majority of voters to approve new or increased state fuel and vehicle taxes in the future.
Passage of Proposition 6 would immediately lower gas prices, however, according to NoProp6.com, California Professional Firefighters, California Association of Highway Patrolmen, American Society of Civil Engineers and first responders urge a “no” vote on the initiative because it would jeopardize the safety of bridges and roads by eliminating $5 billion in infrastructure funding annually.
California could also see its daylight saving time come to an end depending on what voters decide this November. Proposition 7, if approved, would give Legislature the ability to change daylight saving time by two-thirds vote, if changes are consistent with federal law. Even if voters approve the initiative, daylight saving time would see no change unless Legislature acts.
Biannual time changes are said to be hazardous to the health and productivity of schoolchildren, the workforce and senior according to medical researchers and economists. Those against the proposition believe that changing daylight saving time would be bad for schoolchildren, as they would be going to school in the dark during winter.
Proposition 3 aims to provide funding for various water and environmental projects through general obligation bonds. If passed, the ballot measure would secure safe, reliable and clean drinking water for the state by repairing unsafe dams, providing drought protection, treating and reusing stormwater and improving the water quality in our ocean, bays and rivers while providing water for people, farms and the environment.
Those opposed to Proposition 3 believe it would give money to plenty of organizations, but wouldn’t produce a drop of new, usable water. Interest rates, opposition adds, will double the amount that has to be repaid to bond holders.
Between 1912 and 2017, a total of 376 initiatives qualified for the California ballot — 132 of those were approved by voters, while 241 were rejected and three were removed from the ballot by court order.
In addition to the measures above, California voters will also make decisions regarding:
Proposition 4: Authorizes bonds funding construction at hospitals providing children’s health care.
Proposition 5: Changes requirements for certain property owners to transfer their property tax base to replacement property.
Proposition 8: Regulates amounts outpatient kidney dialysis clinics charge for dialysis treatment.
Proposition 11: Requires private-sector emergency ambulance employees to remain on-call during work breaks. Eliminates certain employer liability.
Proposition 12: New standards for confinement of specified farm animals; bans sale of noncomplying products.
The League of Women Voters Stanislaus County is hosting an educational event from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday about the ballot measures. The event is free and open to the public and will be held in Sierra Hall, Room 132, West Campus of Modesto Junior College, 2201 Blue Gum Ave., Modesto.