California ballot propositions explained | Election 2020

Sharing buttons:

Hi. I'm Daniel Hernandez.

I'm Melanie Mason.

I'm Jessica Chen

and this is the L.A. Times' guide

to California's

2020 propositions.

Back in 2004,

California voters approved selling bonds

for a state government stem cell research program.

But that funding has almost run out.

Proposition 14 would borrow an additional

$5.5 billion to continue stem cell research.

There would also be a few more rules

for how those research funds are spent.

Most of the funds would be spent on either

grants for conducting research

trails and programs

or startup costs for facilities.

The measure would also subsidize training programs

for students studying for careers in stem cell research.

$1.5 billion of the bonds would go towards

therapies and treatments for brain and nervous

system diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's,

and dementia.

Supporters say funding stem cell research

has the potential to help those suffering

from chronic disease and injury

and that the measure would improve public oversight

over the institute spending those funds.

Opponents say stem cell clinics have been

underregulated and California's money

would be better spent elsewhere.

Prop. 15 is about how much businesses and corporations

pay in California property taxes.

Since 1978, all property taxes have been based on

the purchase price of the property,

not its current value.

Prop. 15 would change that but only for

commercial and industrial properties.

The measure would require owners of these

properties to pay taxes that more accurately reflect

the present-day values.

Residential properties like your home

would not be affected.

That extra tax revenue would go to local

government services and schools.

The changes would come phased in over

three years.

Some smaller businesses would have a longer transition

period to the higher taxes.

Other business property owners could actually

be exempt from the new law.

Supporters including a long list of Democrats in

Congress, Joe Biden, the ACLU and several

unions say major corporations shouldn't get

the same tax benefits as homeowners.

Opponents say that Prop. 15 could discourage

companies from setting up shop in California.

California will get a do-over on affirmative action.

It’s been 24 years since California voters considered whether race,

ethnicity and gender should be considered in awarding government contracts

and admission to the state’s colleges and universities.

Back in 1996, such considerations were outlawed.

Proposition 16 would repeal that law,

allowing affirmative action to again be widely used in the state.

Those in favor say that systemic racism is more prevalent than ever.

In the wake of police brutality, social unrest and generations of racial inequity,

they say Prop, 16 would once again protect against such discrimination,

and it would offer equal opportunities in hiring and education.

Those opposed argue that Prop. 16 is itself a form of racism

– giving special treatment based on race rather than individual merit and is a misguided attempt to rectify recent events.

In California, those convicted of felonies aren’t allowed to vote until they’ve completed their parole.

Proposition 17 would change that, allowing parolees to vote.

This measure was put on the ballot by the state Legislature and follows a trend in other states to restore voting rights to those on parole.

In California, this measure would affect about 40,000 parolees.

Those in favor of Prop. 17, including several Democrats in Congress, say parolees are often working, raising families and paying taxes,

so they should be able to vote.

Opponents, mostly Republicans and conservative activists, say parolees are still completing their sentences and have

yet to regain the trust of society, so they don’t deserve the privilege of voting.

If you turned 18 after the March 3rd Presidential primary

you missed your chance to pick your favorite

candidate for November's election.

Proposition 18 would change that.

This amendment to the California constitution

would allow 17 year-olds to register and vote

in primary elections

as long as they turn 18 by the general election in November.

Supporters say more young voters will get engaged

with the issues and come out to vote

if they can participate in the full election cycle,

including those primaries held earlier in the year.

Those opposed say that 17 year-olds

are still considered children

and are under the strong influence of their parents and teachers

which means it's less likely that

they would express their own views in voting.

Proposition 18 was introduced by the California State Legislature

and would be considered a constitutional amendment.

At least 18 other states already have similar laws on the books.

When you move to a new home, you have to pay property taxes based on how much you paid for that home.

But some older Californians who might like to move to a new home can’t

because they pay property taxes based on their purchase years ago

-- which might  make it extra expensive for them to move.

Proposition 19 would change that.

It would allow any Californians age 55 and older

to buy a new home and pay a reduced property tax, based on what they paid for their previous home.

The measure also extends the property tax break to severely disabled homeowners and those who lose their homes in a wildfire.

Prop. 19 also cracks down on low property taxes when a parent gives their home to a child.

It would require that the child actually live in the house – not use it as a rental or second home – to keep that low property tax payment.

If Prop. 19 passes, local governments could gain tens of millions of dollars of property tax revenue per year.

Most of the resulting revenues would go toward local firefighting efforts. 

In the last six years, Californians have voted twice to reduce the punishment for crimes like theft and drug crimes —

basically, those some would consider less serious than violent felonies.

But there’s been a lot of debate about whether reducing the prison population has increased crime.

Proposition 20 would undo parts of each of these previous measures. First, it would allow more theft-related crimes to be charged as felonies.

Then there’s the parole change: Those convicted of certain crimes now considered as “nonviolent” could not be considered for early parole.

It would also expand required DNA testing for some people convicted of theft and domestic violence.

And it would create two new crimes: serial theft and organized retail theft. Both crimes could result in jail time.

Supporters include law enforcement, victims’ rights groups and the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

Opponents, like former Gov. Jerry Brown and the ACLU, say the measure would extend the harm of our criminal justice system.

Another big issue on the ballot this year is rent control.

Since Governor Gavin Newsom

signed a new rent control law last year,

most California landlords cannot increase rent

more than 5% plus inflation each year.

But if Prop 21 passes,

cities and counties could be allowed to implement even stricter rent control policies.

The rules under Prop 21 depend on how old the building is.

If it’s more than 15 years old,

then new rent control could be imposed.

But rent could still go up when a new tenant moves in.

Now, there are some exceptions in Prop 21.

For example: only some single family homes would be subject to rent control.

Both supporters and opponents

say California lacks enough affordable housing,

but they disagree on whether Prop 21 is a step in the right direction.

Remember the controversy last year over AB 5, or Assembly Bill 5?

The law made it much harder for some companies to treat their workers as independent contractors, as opposed to employees.

This had a big impact on the gig economy, including companies like Uber and Lyft.

Enter Proposition 22.

It was put on the ballot thanks to signatures collected by a campaign organized by Uber and Lyft.

It would essentially exclude “app-based” drivers from AB 5, allowing companies to consider them independent contractors.

The measure promises some worker benefits, like an hourly wage slightly above the state minimum,

a monthly health insurance stipend for some drivers,

and new medical and disability benefits if a driver is injured on the job.

Opponents say billion-dollar corporations like Uber and Lyft shouldn’t be allowed to refuse their workers full-time employee benefits,

like Social Security, normal reimbursements for their costs, overtime pay and the right to organize.

There are 600 kidney dialysis centers in the state that serve more than 80,000 patients a month.

To accommodate these patients, the centers stay open long hours, and often on weekends.

This measure would require at least one physician to remain on-site during a dialysis center’s operating hours.

Prop. 23 states that centers must provide the same care for all patients, whether they use Medi-Cal or private insurance.

Clinics would be required to report patient infections to the state health department, which would assume a larger role in agreeing to changes to a clinic or its closure.

Opponents include just about all of the California healthcare industry, which insists costs will go up.

Supporters, mainly a labor union of healthcare workers, say it’s quality care that will go up.

Remember all the emails we got from companies

at the beginning of the year asking us to agree to their updated privacy policies?

Well, Prop 24 would make changes to California’s new consumer privacy law.

Under Prop 24,

consumers would have new rights to limit the sharing of their personal information

and to correct inaccurate information.

The ballot measure redefines what it means to share data

-- so that more companies would be subject to California’s existing privacy rules.

But consumers would still have to opt out

of having their data collected and disclosed to advertisers.

The measure also increases fines

for collecting data from children.

But opponents say consumers who choose privacy

still might unfairly pay higher prices

-- for example, those who share data will still get special access to discounts.

Those in favor say that Californians

will still have more control over their information if Prop 24 passes.

Those opposed,

including the ACLU of California,

say the measure doesn't do enough to protect consumer data on social media platforms

and when used by big tech.

If you’ve heard about the issue of cash bail,

it’s probably because the issue is not a new one.

Two years ago, the state legislature passed a law abolishing it.

But before the law could go into effect,

companies representing the bail industry

gathered enough signatures to call for a referendum

-- meaning the law is on hold until voters decide to accept or reject it this fall.

If Prop 25 does pass, it would eliminate cash bail,

which requires suspects to pay a cash bond

to be released from jail while waiting for their trial.

Instead, suspects awaiting trial would be detained based on new risk assessments,

like if a judge thinks they might be a danger to the community.

Those in favor of Prop 25, including California’s chief justice and civil rights groups,

say the cash bail system has too often has been based on the ability to pay

rather than public safety.

Those opposed argue that the use of formulas

to determine who qualifies for release

prior to trial could be problematic.