Californians will be voting on 17 ballot propositions this Nov. 8. The State Hornets brief guide summarizes them. (Photo by Mark Buckawicki/Wikimedia Commons)
Californians will be voting on 17 ballot propositions this Nov. 8. The State Hornet’s brief guide summarizes them. (Photo by Mark Buckawicki/Wikimedia Commons)

The State Hornet’s guide to this year’s ballot propositions

The Nov. 8 ballot contains 17 statewide propositions, on issues ranging from Medi-Cal funding to hot button social issues including marijuana legalization, gun control, pornography and the death penalty.

In order to help you when you go to the polls (or vote by mail), The State Hornet has prepared this voter guide about some of the most talked about propositions.

Election Info

Last day to register to vote: Oct. 24
Last day to request a vote by mail ballot: Nov. 1
Last day to mail your ballot: Nov. 8
To vote in person, go to your voting place on Nov. 8 between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Election Terms

Proposition – A blanket term for any ballot measure that can be voted on. An initiative and a referendum are propositions.
Initiative – A statute or a constitutional amendment initiated by citizens to bypass their state legislature.
Referendum – A statute or a constitutional amendment initiated by the legislature. 

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Proposition 51 — Public School Bonds
A bond is a financial instrument that allows an investor to lend money to a borrower.
A Yes vote allows the state to borrow $9 Billion in bonds for upkeep and building on public school and community college campuses.
A No vote rejects those bonds.

Proposition 52 — Healthcare
Medi-Cal is a state program that provides health coverage to Californians below 138 percent of the poverty line, or one-third of California’s population.
A Yes vote continues a fee, set to expire in 2018, that the state charges hospitals in order to fund Medi-Cal.
A No vote would let the fee expire unless the legislature votes to renew it.

Proposition 53 — Elections
A Yes vote would require voter approval on future bonds that would cost over $2 Billion and require taxes or fees.
A No vote would allow those bonds to be approved without voter approval.

Proposition 54 — Public notification of bills
A Yes vote requires that future legislative bills be printed and online for 72 hours before the State Senate or Assembly could approve them.
A No vote makes no changes to the current legislative process.

Proposition 55 — Taxes
A Yes vote continues tax increases on people who make over $250,000 that were passed in 2012.
A No vote allows those tax rates to expire in 2019.

Proposition 56 — Tobacco tax
A Yes vote increases the state tax on a pack of cigarettes from 87 cents to $2.87. Additional taxes will be levied on other tobacco products and e-cigarettes.
A No vote makes no changes to the current taxes.

Proposition  57 — Juvenile Court
A Yes vote would allow earlier parole consideration for nonviolent offenders and give juvenile defendants a hearing in court before they could be tried as adults.
A No vote makes no changes to the current criminal justice system.

Proposition 58 — Multilingual Education
Proposition 227 (1998) – Required “English to be taught in English” by teaching English-learner students in public schools in English unless the student was exempted by special conditions and a parental waiver.
A Yes vote repeals Proposition 227 (1998).
A No vote makes no changes to the current system.

Proposition 59 — Money in politics
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is a 2010 Supreme Court case that overturned laws against spending by nonprofit corporations in all U.S. elections. The Court held that such restrictions violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
A Yes vote asks California legislators to do what they can to oppose the Court’s ruling, including proposing and ratifying an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling. Proposition 59 is only a request, however, and does not require legislators to take action.
A No vote makes no changes to the current law.

Proposition 60 — Condoms in porngraphy

A Yes vote closes loopholes in current law, requiring that performers in pornography wear a condom, and that it be visible, during every scene of an adult film production and that porn producers pay for vaccinations, testing and medical examinations for STDs.

“Porn producers refuse to provide a safe workplace for their performers,” according to advocacy group Yes on Prop 60. “As a result, thousands of workers have been exposed to serious and life-threatening diseases. It is time to hold the pornographers accountable.”

A No vote would continue the current health and safety standards on pornographic film sets.

“The legislation proposed by this bill would also open up performers and others affiliated with the adult film industry to harassment and lawsuits,” according to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. “Prop 60 specifies that citizens would be able to file lawsuits against producers if they believe condoms weren’t used in the making of a particular film.”

Proposition 61 — Drug prices
A Yes vote requires that the state spend no more money on particular prescription drugs than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs would.
A No vote would make no changes to the current law.

Propositions 62 & 66 — Death penalty

On Proposition 62, a Yes vote repeals the death penalty in California and replaces all existing death sentences with life in prison without the possibility of parole. A No vote makes no changes to the present law.
On Proposition 66, a Yes vote limits the amount of  appeals for people who have been sentenced to death. A No vote makes no changes to the current law.

Proposition 63 — Firearms and ammunition sales

A Yes vote requires individuals to pass a background check and obtain Department of Justice authorization to buy ammunition and limits who is exempt from limitation on the amount of ammunition an individual can possess.
A No vote makes no changes to the current law.

Proposition 64 — Marijuana
A Yes vote allows adults 21 years old and over to grow, own and use marijuana for recreational purposes. The state would gain at least hundreds of million dollars annually from tax revenue.

“Our current marijuana laws have undermined many of the things conservatives hold dear – individual freedom, limited government and the right to privacy,” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Costa Mesa, said. “This measure is a necessary reform which will end the failed system of marijuana prohibition in our state.”

A No vote makes no changes to the current law.

“Recent numbers out of Colorado show that marijuana related traffic deaths have increased almost 50 percent since 2013,” according to a press release from the California Association of Highway Patrolmen. “We will continue to educate media, local and state leaders, but most importantly we tell California voters that Prop 64 did not get it right.”

Proposition 65 and 67 –– Shopping bags

On Proposition 65, a Yes vote requires the revenue from selling carryout bags to be given to a state fund to support certain environmental projects. A No vote means the revenue from sales can be given to any purpose.

On Proposition 67, a Yes vote prohibits grocery stores, convenience stores, large pharmacies, and liquor stores from providing single-use plastic carryout bags. A No vote allows stores to continue to provide single-use plastic bags free of charge unless otherwise stated by a local law.

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