Election results: How the propositions affect you

Jake Abbott

The Graduate Association of Students in Public Policy and Administration co-hosted a non-partisan voter information forum providing presentations for six propositions on the November ballot in the Alumni Hall at Sacramento State on Thursday.

The graduate program organized the event five days before election day to inform the campus community about what the propositions will change if approved.

Proposition 1, the Water Bond, would authorize $7.12 billion in General Obligation bonds for water projects in preparation of future dry spells in the state.

California’s General Fund will pay back the issued bonds to investors, plus interest, over a period of time.

Angela Marin, Public Policy and Administration program graduate, spoke about Prop. 1 and the opposing viewpoints on the water bond initiative.

“They[supporters] argue that the water bond will help increase water supplies,” Marin said. “It would be promoting water supply reliability.”

Support for the proposition raised over $16.8 million for campaign funding, according to the California Secretary of State office. The opposition to Prop. 1 raised $97,999 as of Oct. 31.

“Opponents, on the other hand, is a smaller list but they mainly oppose on the basis of the funding for large infrastructure projects,” Marin said.

Proposition 2, the Rainy Day Budget Stabilization Fund Act, requires an annual transfer of 1.5 percent from general fund tax revenue to the state’s budget reserve fund.

The fund would be used for repaying state debts and budget stabilization.

Jennifer Krebs, second-year student in GASPPA, said there is a provision in the measure that would put a statewide cap on how much school districts can hold in their own reserve funds.

“Governor Brown is leading the support effort under the name of fiscal prudence,” Krebs said.

If the proposition is approved, a new reserve fund would be made for K-12 and community colleges, which would receive funding only in years of high state revenue gains.

“Local school districts are concerned that by capping how much they can save, it will really tie their hands in the future if they come across financial difficulties,” she said.

Proposition 45, the Public Notice Required for Insurance Company Rates Initiative, would require health insurers to gain approval from an insurance commissioner before making changes to insurance rates.

“It’s estimated that it would result in administrative costs to the state,” Krebs said. “Those costs would be passed along to the insurance providers, and it’s likely they could be passed along to the consumers in the form of fees.”

Opponents of Prop. 45 raised about $57 million in campaign funding, while supporters raised $6.2 million.

“The supporters say that it would be good to consolidate power,” she said. “Opponents say it would be a disaster and it would cause extra expenses for the rate payers.”

Proposition 46, the Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Cap and Drug Testing of Doctors Initiative, would increase cap for lawsuits regarding pain and suffering damages from $250,000 to $1.1 million and would require hospitals to test certain physicians randomly for alcohol and drugs.

If the proposition is approved by voters, it would also require health care providers to consult the state prescription drug history database before prescribing certain medication with a tendency for addiction, such as vicodin or adderall.

Kara Corches, first-year graduate student presenter, said there are trade-offs to every proposition on the ballot.

“For this one, you have drug testing for doctors and perhaps further prevention of addiction,” Corches said. “But on the other hand, you may have increased medical costs that are passed down to the government and consumers. So those are choices you need to weigh when casting your ballot.”

Proposition 47, the Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative, would reclassify non-violent and non-serious property and drug crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Anyone with a previous conviction of a violent felony would not be eligible for re-sentencing. There are currently around 10,000 inmates who might be eligible for reclassification, according to Californians for Safety and Justice.

Terra Thorne, third-year student in GASPPA, explained the potential fiscal impact of Prop. 47.

“The LAO [Legislative Analyst’s Office] has estimated that criminal justice savings from passing the proposition could be in the hundreds of millions,” Thorne said. “Most of those savings would be from reduced incarceration costs.”

If the proposition is approved, savings would be spent on school truancy and dropout prevention, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and victim services.

“If you vote yes on Prop. 47, it means that you are supporting the changes of these crimes from felonies or wobblers down to misdemeanors,” Thorne said. “If you vote no on the measure, you are basically rejecting the proposed changes and the penalties for these crimes will not be reduced.”

Proposition 48, the Referendum on Indian Gaming Compacts, would allow two Indian tribes to build casinos on state land in return for annual payments averaging around $10 million to state and local governments over a 20-year period.

If approved, the proposition would ratify a gaming compact between the state and the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians and the Wiyot Tribe.

Supporters of Prop. 48 say it will be a one-time deal and help out an economically-struggling area. This would be the first casino in California built anywhere other than on reservation land.

“So the voters have to decide if this is okay for a one-time deal,” Krebs said, “or if this would just be the first step in allowing a new wave of casinos to be built wherever we want on tribal land.”