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This November, California voters will decide the fate of 17 ballot initiatives, including whether to legalize marijuana, repeal the death penalty and enact gun control measures regarding ammunition and magazine size.

Here, you’ll find a basic rundown of what each proposition is asking of voters, and when applicable, who is supporting the pro and con campaigns for each.

Proposition 51

Prop. 51 authorizes the issuance and sale of $9 billion in bonds for education and schools across the state. If approved, the state would control allocation of those funds to districts across California with the directive to repair schools, improve safety measures and expand classroom offerings.

For: California Republican and Democratic Parties, California Taxpayers Association, League of Women Voters of California, many education advocacy groups, and hundreds of city officials and chambers of commerce.

Against: California Gov. Jerry Brown and the Libertarian Party of California

Proposition 52

To fund its Medi-Cal program for children, low income and senior people, California hospitals pay a combined fee of about $3 billion every year in order to receive matching funds from the federal government. However, the state has diverted some of that money to its general fund. Prop. 52 ensures funds in this program are used only for the Medi-Cal program

For: California Republican and Democratic Parties, Sen. Pat Bates and dozens of hospitals and medical groups

Against: No major opponents

Proposition 53

This proposition requires voter approval for projects that cost more than $2 billion in revenue bonds—essentially bonds that are repaid by the users of the project (e.g. a toll booth to pay for a highway).

For: California Republican Party and numerous taxpayers’ associations.

Against: California Democratic Party, Gov. Jerry Brown, many labor and public service unions, and several water districts

Proposition 54

Prop. 54 would prohibit the state legislature from passing any bill until it had been published in print and online for 72 hours prior to the vote.

For: California Republican Party, League of Women Voters of California, several chambers of commerce

Against: California Democratic Party, California Labor Federation, California Federation of teachers and California Nurses Association

Proposition 55

This initiative extends temporary personal income tax increases on incomes over $250,000. The increases were approved in 2012 under Prop. 30, and has raised about $6 billion per year since. About 89 percent of the funds go to K-12 schools in the state. If Prop. 55 not approved, the tax increases approved in 2012 will be phased out.

For: California Democratic Part, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, dozens of teachers organizations

Against: California Republican Party, California Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles Times

Proposition 56

California currently assesses a .87-cent per pack excise tax on cigarettes. Prop. 56 would increase the tax by $2 per pack to $2.87. That tax would be levied on e-cigarettes and other tobacco products as well. Revenue from the tax would be used to enforce tobacco laws, train physicians and prevent dental diseases.

For: California Democratic Party, California State PTA dozens of labor groups.

Against: California Republican Party, Philip Morris USA, RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company (the latter two have raised a combined $56 million to fight the proposition)

Proposition 57

If passed, Prop. 57 would give people convicted of non-violent crimes more chances for parole. This is in response to a 2011 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that determined the state’s prisons were over-crowded, and piggybacks on Prop. 47, which reduced non-violent felonies to misdemeanors. It could affect up to 25,000 inmates.

For: California Democratic Party, Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, California State Law Enforcement Association, Chief Probation Officers of California

Against: California Republican Party, Rep. Bill Brough, dozens of district attorney and police organizations

Proposition 58

State rules passed in 1998 required those teaching in English-only classrooms to take one year of intensive English classes. Prop. 58 would lift that requirement, and for instance, allow bilingual instruction in a variety of classes. Parents would still have input over which non-English languages would be part of their schools’ programs.

For: California Democratic Party, Gov. Jerry Brown, California Teachers Association, California Federation of Teachers

Against: California Republican Party

Proposition 59

Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee ruled that political contributions are free speech, and so companies and organizations couldn’t be restrained from donating large amounts of money to political efforts. Prop. 59 would pressure California’s elected officials to work to overturn the ruling through proposing and ratifying amendments to the U.S. Constitution

For: California Democratic Party, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, California Teachers Association

Against: Dozens of state senators and assemblymen, including Bill Brough

Proposition 60

Prop. 60 would require actors in pornographic films shot in California to wear condoms. Condoms would not need to be visible in the films, but producers will have to prove they were used.

For: AIDS Healthcare Foundation, American Sexual Health Association

Proposition 61

The state of California spent close to $4 billion last year in prescription drug costs for its Medi-Cal program, which serves senior, children and low-income residents. The price of drugs can be negotiated with drug makers, and so Prop. 61 would prohibit the state from paying any more for prescription drugs than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays for the same drug.

For: U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, Robert Reich, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, California Nurses Association, Rev. Al Sharpton

Against: California Republican Party, California Medical Association, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Novartis, and several other major pharmaceutical companies.

Proposition 62

Prop. 62 repeals the death penalty in California, which has been in effect since 1978. Including California, 30 states allow the death penalty. If passed, Prop. 62 would make life in prison without possibility of parole the harshest punishment available.

For: Former President Jimmy Carter, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, California Democratic Party, California NAACP, several ACLU groups, select religious and humanist organizations

Against: California Republican Party, dozens of law enforcement advocacy groups, and dozens of district attorneys and sheriffs throughout California.

Proposition 63

This initiative would require people wishing to buy ammunition to obtain a permit from the state, and would effectively prohibit possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines. The permit would require a background check by the Department of Justice.

For: California Democratic Party, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland, and several law enforcement officials.

Against: California Republican Party, National Rifle Association, California Police Chiefs Association.

Proposition 64

If passed, Prop. 64 would allow adults 21 and older to possess and use marijuana for recreational (that is, non-medical) purposes. Smoking marijuana in public and while driving would be illegal, as would possession in school zones. Californians would be able to possess up to 28.5 grams at a time, and could cultivate six plants at home. Taxes would be levied on cultivation and retail sales of marijuana. Revenue would be used to fund drug research, youth programs and an initiative to help police determine whether or not a driver is high. Municipalities would be able to ban the sale of recreational marijuana, but they won’t receive a share of the tax revenue.

For: California Democratic Party, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, ACLU of California, California NAACP, California Nurses Association

Against: California Republican Party, Rep. Bill Brough and dozens of sheriffs, district attorneys and police organizations

Propositions 65 and 67

Propositions 65 and 67 are competing ballot measures, which would ratify a previous state senate bill to ban grocery stores and pharmacies from providing single-use plastic bags to its customers. Smaller grocers and liquor stores would be required to do so the following year. Stores would be able to charge .10 cents per reusable, compostable bag.

However, the two propositions differ in where the money is allocated. If Prop. 67 passes, revenue from the .10-cent sales would go back to the store to mitigate costs incurred from complying with the new rules. If Prop. 65 passes, a measure supported by the American Progressive Bag Alliance, the money would go to a dedicated environmental fund. Environmental groups, including Surfrider, claim Prop. 65’s supposed environmental fund is an effort to delay the ultimate phase-out of plastic bags.

If they both pass, the proposition with the greater number of votes would take effect. If they both fail, the single-use ban on plastic bags would not go into effect.

For Prop. 65: American Progressive Bag Alliance (a plastic bag industry group), California Republican Party,

For Prop. 67: California Democratic Party, Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Patagonia and several environmental groups

Proposition 66

If passed, Prop. 66 would continue the death penalty (competing against Prop. 62), but speed up appeals process and require inmates on death to work in order to pay their alleged victims’ families restitutions. If both 62 and 65 pass, the measure with more votes will prevail.

For: California Republican Party and dozens of sheriffs and law enforcement organizations

Against: California Democratic Party, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, the ACLU of California and numerous religious groups.


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About The Author Dana Point Times

comments (1)

  • Why would any person or group would oppose Proposition 54?

    I am, of course, being facetious. This is California, the land of politicians who say silly things, like this: “…but we have to pass the bill so that you can, eh, find out what’s in it, away from the ‘fog’ of the controversy”. (

    In other news, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said on Wednesday that “… the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable,” Gee, maybe “we” should’ve read the bill before passing it.

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