Propositions Passed in California

Understanding California Propositions


Photo Courtesy of KSHB

Californians voted on 12 propositions Tuesday, 5 of which passed

Linsey Towles, The Scroll, Co-Editor and Chief

While millions headed to the polls to cast their votes for the presidential election, they also casted votes for a wide array of propositions that appeared on the California ballot. A proposition is a piece of proposed legislation to either be approved or rejected by eligible voters, and in this election year there were 12 propositions on the ballot. 

Here are the propositions that were passed, and what they mean: 

Proposition 17:

Proposition 17 was decisively passed in California on Tuesday, restoring the right to vote for felons on parole. The proposition will change the state Constitution to include an estimated 50,000 people on parole for convicted felon charges. Prior to the passing of Proposition 17, Californian felons who completed their sentence were denied the right to vote until after the completion of parole. 

Supporters of 17 argued this specific population has paid their debt to society and should be given the right to vote on their representatives to shape policies that affect their lives. Organizations who supported this proposition include the League of Women Voters in California, Californians for Safety and Justice and individuals Governor Gavin Newsom and Democratic Assemblymember Kevin McCarthy. Opponents include Crime Victims United of California and Elections Integrity Project California. 

The proposition garnered 59 percent of the vote after 11.5 million ballots were counted

“This is a victory for democracy and justice,” said Taina Vargas-Edmond, chair of the Yes On Prop. 17 campaign. 

Proposition 22:

Proposition 22 impacts drivers for Uber, Lyft and other app-based ride sharing companies, classifying them as independent contractors. This proposition denies drivers protections that labor unions pushed for such as minimum wage, overtime, health insurance and reimbursement. 

The proposition largely comes as a response to the law known as AB5 that expanded a 2018 ruling by the California Supreme Court that limited businesses ability to classify workers as independent contractors 

The large app-based driving companies, Uber and Lyft, along with other similar companies spent 200 million to circumvent California lawmakers to preserve their standard business model that had kept drivers from being employees eligible for benefits and job protections. 

Opponents argue that drivers are employees to these billion dollar companies and therefore should receive employee benefits. Supporters of the measure argue for the flexibility and freedom of the workers with the current system. San Francisco-based Uber and Lyft also threatened to pull their services from California if the measure failed, receiving additional support from DoorDash, Postmates and Instacart.  

The proposition passed with 58 percent of 11.5 million votes. 

Labor unions are still promising a fight for what they call driver’s rights: “The end of this campaign is only the beginning in the fight to ensure gig workers are provided fair wages, sick pay and care when they’re hurt at work,” said Art Pulaski of the California Labor Federation in a statement.

Proposition 24:

Building off of the Consumer Privacy Act, Proposition 24 expands the provision of the act to create the California Privacy Protection Agency. The approved measure ensures and enforces the protection of Californian’s digital data and information. 

Fines for companies that violate children’s privacy will be faced triple the fines with Proposition 24. A new agency will be created to enforce the law and include an annual budget of 10 million dollars 

Proponents of the measure state that big businesses will be held accountable for violations to a more severe degree and loopholes that companies such as Facebook, Google and Spotify have “exploited” will be closed. Supporters include Consumer Reports, Common Sense Media and Consumer Watchdog. 

Opponents argue that it is too soon to rewrite a law that just took effect, referring back to the 2018 Consumer Privacy Act and that the 52 page initiative was too long for voters to understand. American Civil Liberties Union of California, the Consumer Federation of California and Public Citizen all opposed 24. 

Proposition 24 passed with 56 percent of 11.5 million votes. 

Proposition 14:

Medicinal science and research won with the passing of Proposition 14 that issues 5.5 billion general obligation bonds for stem cell research institutes. The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, known as CIRM, is the center for stem cell studies and trials created in 2004. 

Supporters of the measure said that the bond would fill a void in crucial grant funding that could allow for the research of new treatments and cures for chronic disease and conditions including cancer, spinal cord injuries, Alzhiemers, Parkinsons and heart disease. The 2004 bond and CIRM have advanced research and treatment for more than 75 diseases. 

Proponents argued that the state should not take on new debt in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, an argument also expressed by CIRM board member Jeff Sheehy. With interest, Proposition 14 will cost California 260 million dollars per year, or 7.8 billion dollars over the next 30 years, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office. The state is still paying off the 3 billion dollar stem cell bond from 2004, which will cost an additional $3 billion in interest.

Proposition 14 passed with 51 percent of the votes from 11.5 votes casted. 

Proposition 19:

The last proposition on the list of measures passed in California for this year’s election is Proposition 19, which changes property tax rules and grants continued tax breaks for older homeowners. The measure allows for homeowners over the age of 55 and wildfire/disaster victims to transfer their primary residence tax to a replacement residence. Prior to the measure, persons over 55 or with severe disabilities could only transfer their tax assessments once, but with 19 this has been increased to three times. 

The tax break provided when a parent passes a home or property to an adult child will be limited with this measure. Additional revenue or net savings resulting from the ballot measure to fund wildfire agencies and counties.

Supporters of the proposition approved of the continued protection of elderly and disabled homeowners, as well as protective services for wildfire and disaster victims. They also claim that the measure would close a loophole often exploited by wealthy out of state investors: “If you look at statistics in Los Angeles County, as many of 63 percent (of inherited properties) were used as second residences or rental properties,” said Becky Warren, spokeswoman for the Yes on 19 campaign. This relates to the limited tax break on inherited properties the measure would implement. 

Those who opposed 19 argued against the inevitable tax  increase as tax revenue is expected to increase by hundreds of millions of dollars each year, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. Seventy-five percent of the tax revenue from the amendment would be allocated for firefighting, 15 percent would go to a fund for reimbursing counties for whatever tax revenue they lose as a result of the amendment.

“This is a billion dollar tax increase on California families,” said Susan Shelley, vice president of communications at the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association. 

Proposition 19 garnered 51 percent of 11.5 million votes.