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Past Elections

Noviebre 2014 Los Propuestos en Espanol

November 2014 Propositions 1 and 2 Unbiased Analysis

As a California citizen, you are a stakeholder in a $110 Billion budget this year. In November, you will be asked how to spend that money in the form of several ballot measures. Here is impartial background on a couple of important questions you'll be asked.

Propositions 1: Should bonds be sold for water projects? Click to see a 4 minute video on Prop 1
  • Two thirds of the water used by Californians comes from mountains in the Sierra Nevada, feeding the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers. Eighty percent of the water from this area goes to agricultural land in the Central Valley and the rest is used by individuals. Over the years, dams, canals and pumping stations were built to avoid floods in wet years and to ensure people and farms get water in drought years.
  • Bonds are the way the state borrows money for long term projects. The cost of expensive projects, expected to last a long time, are spread out over many years to many different taxpayers.People, like you and me, can buy bonds and the state pays them back with interest, usually about 5% over 30 years. Today California is making payments on $87 Billion of outstanding bonds and an additional $29 Billion already approved by voters have not been sold yet. This year, California will make $5 Billion of payments on bonds.
  • If passed, Proposition 1 would authorize the sale of $7.1 Billion in bonds for water quality projects. Over half of the money would be spent on dams and the rest to restore watersheds, to improve water quality and for flood protection. Funds from this proposition may not be used to build canals or tunnels to move water around the Delta.
  • People who favor this measure say that since the large water projects of the mid-1990's, California's population has doubled and yet there are the same natural limits on our water supply.
  • People who oppose the measure say too much of the money is focused on building dams when groundwater + especially in the Central Valley + is not regulated and beyond recovery.

    Proposition 2: Should the state Constitution be amended to change how state pays down debt and saves money in reserves? Click to see a 4 minute video on Prop 2

  • State Reserves are currently $70 Billion, mostly due to the tax increase for the top 1% earners approved by voters in 2012. This top 1% now pay more than half of the taxes collected in our state. One third of the income of that same top 1% comes from investments taxed through capital gains, like the stock market. While the governor is allowed to put as much as $3 Billion a year into the Reserve, this year was the first time in several years that money was transferred to reserves due to the recession. Currently no minimum is required to be transferred to or kept in reserves. This measure requires the governor to put between $800 Million and $2 Billion into reserves each year depending on Capital Gains tax revenue. The measure also sets the maximum reserves at $11 Billion (10% of budget) instead of the $8 Billion (5% of budget) current maximum.
  • State Debts, which are mostly pensions for retired state workers, total $300 Billion. This measure requires a minimum of $800 Million per year be applied toward state debt for 15 years. In years when capital gains taxes are above average, debt payments could be as high as $2 billion. This measure also increases the maximum amount held in reserves from $8 Billion to $11 Billion.
  • School reserves kept by local school districts have no reserve requirement at the state level. This measure requires a state reserve for schools and community colleges. The measure also sets a maximum reserve at local schools of between 3% - 10% depending on the size of the district.
  • People who support this measure say it shields the budget from the volatility of capital gains tax.
  • People who oppose this measure say taxes should not be raised without a fiscally realistic plan going forward for public employee pensions which are unsustainable even with this measure.

Regardless of how you decide to vote, as my partner and fellow stakeholder in this $110 Billion budget, I need you to vote. It is the way we have to directly influence the budget that we all make possible with our tax dollars.

Nov 2014 Unbiased Analysis of Propositions 45 & 46

Health care, at one time ignored in State politics, is now a big business in California with over $200 billion spent yearly and growing. Two items on the November ballot, Propositions 45 and 46 are both related to health care. As we spend directly out-of-pocket and indirectly through taxes on this growing industry, it is important we understand the unbiased pros and cons of both of the proposals.

Proposition 45

  • Rates for automobile and homeowners insurance in our state are approved by the Insurance Commissioner. State agencies comment on whether rate changes filed by Health insurance companies are reasonable, but no one has the authority to approve or reject health care rate changes today.
  • Proposition 45 applies only to employees who buy their health insurance through a small business and to people who buy directly from an insurance company. Californians with health insurance from government jobs and those working at large companies are not affected by this measure. If Prop 45 passes, the state Insurance Commissioner would approve rates for people buying policies directly from an insurance company and for employees getting insurance through small business employers. Payments made on rates that took effect November 6, 2012 would be refunded unless the Insurance Commissioner approved those rates. This measure also prohibits insurance companies from using credit history or lack of prior insurance to determine rates or eligibility.
  • People who support Prop 45 say it will limit health insurance costs the same way auto insurance costs are limited. Over half of the $516,000 which supports this measure, was contributed by the Consumer Watchdog organization.
  • People against this measure say it adds another level of bureaucracy to the approval of rate changes. Adding to their concern is the fact that health insurance companies are the major contributors toward the $37.6 million against this measure.

Proposition 46
  • The current $250,000 cap on medical malpractice lawsuits set in 1975 would be raised to $1.1 million and adjusted for inflation over time under Prop 46. The cap applies only to pain and suffering lawsuits. Medical bills and loss of income attributed to malpractice have no cap now and would not change if Prop 46 passed.
  • Also under Prop 46, nurses and doctors would be required to check a patient's historical use of highly abused drugs before giving those same drugs to that same patient. The Center for Disease Control reports that the quantity of Vicodin, OxyContin, Opana and methadone sold to health professionals in 2010 is four times higher than in 2000. More deaths are now due to prescription drugs than illegal drugs.
  • Hospitals would be required to randomly test doctors for drug and alcohol abuse if Prop 46 passes. Testing would also be done following mistakes made by doctors while on the job. Government currently spends $20 billion on public employee health benefits and $17 billion on Medi-Cal. This measure would increase government malpractice costs by tens of millions of dollars for medical insurance provided to public employees and other recipients.
  • Supporters say Prop 46 would stop patients from receiving prescription painkillers from multiple doctors who are not currently required to check the prescription history of a patient. They also say other professions involved in public safety like pilots, policemen and fire fighters commonly require drug testing. There is a total of $1.9 million dollars contributed in support of this measure from Consumer Attorneys of California, Consumer Watchdog and several law groups.
  • People opposed to Prop 46 say the real intent of this measure is to increase the malpractice cap to benefit lawyers. They also say that access to a person's prescription history is an invasion of privacy. Almost all of the $90 million contributed to oppose the measure is from doctors groups and insurance firms. The huge difference in contributions to competing sides of both of these propositions + $516,000 FOR vs. $37 million AGAINST Prop 45 and $1.9 million FOR vs. $90 million AGAINST Prop 46, will be obvious in the media in the coming days.

Your local branch of the League of Women Voters has impartial information on the November 2014 election page from a one line summary to the actual text of the law and several levels of detail in between. To influence this $200 billion industry, the trick is finding unbiased information so your vote reflects your beliefs.

Nov 2014 Unbiased Analysis of Propositions 47 & 48

Voting no for a ballot proposition usually means your vote is not counted toward those wanting a change. That will be true for all propositions in November except the last one, Proposition 48. Special attention is given to the referendum in this summary of the two ballot propositions appearing at the end of your ballot.

Proposition 47: Should California reduce penalties for non-violent crimes and invest in programs for crime prevention?

  • Most felons go to state prison for violent and serious crimes like murder and rape as well as for non-violent or serious crimes like possession of illegal drugs for personal use. Misdemeanor offenders, on the other hand, go to county jail for things like assault and public drunkenness. With prisons at 140% of capacity, California is under federal mandate to reduce the prison population by 2,300 inmates by February 2016. In comparison, county jails are an average of 10% over capacity. District Attorneys, judges and police officers are more likely to release prisoners early and reduce jail time if jails and prisons are overcrowded.
  • Prop 47 proposes reducing non-serious and nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors. Offenders with prior serious or violent convictions and registered sex offenders would not qualify for reduced sentences under this measure. Sentences would be automatically reduced for the 7,000 inmates currently qualified to apply. Released felons who qualify would also be allowed to change their convictions to misdemeanors.
  • Several hundred million dollars saved from Prop 47 changes would be spent on programs for mental health, drug abuse treatment, truancy and dropout prevention, and for victim services.
  • Supporters say California's prison population grew to twice its capacity in the decade following the Three Strikes law and that Prop 47 reserves space for offenders who are the greatest danger to the public. Supporters also say counties are better equipped than state prisons to provide mental health services to inmates. Over $4 million has been contributed to support this measure.
  • Opponents say Prop 47 would populate jails with dangerous felons who should be in prison and that it burdens the criminal justice system with resentencing. They say it would put more people in county intervention programs and jails. Police and Correctional Organizations have contributed $43,000 to oppose this measure.

Proposition 48: Should recently signed agreements between the State of California and two Indian tribes be allowed to go into effect? Click to see a 4 minute video on Prop 48
  • The October 1988 Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act allows tribal casinos on land owned by tribes at that time and allows exceptions for land acquired after 1988 if it is in the tribe's best interest and is not harmful to the surrounding community. In 2012 California signed an agreement with the North Fork Rancheria of the Mono Tribe, to build a casino in Madera County 38 miles from tribe's reservation. Another tribe, the Wiyot, was prohibited from opening a casino on their tribal lands near Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge because of negative environmental impact. Instead, the Wiyot tribe receives 3% of North Fork casino's profits, amounting to $6 Million annually over 20 years. Annual payments under this agreement to state and local governments will average $1.5 million over the next 20 years. Madera County will receive $30 million.
  • Stand Up for California, a casino watchdog organization in Sacramento, led the referendum process to put Prop 48 on the ballot. North Fork Rancheria argues that the current agreement approved by the federal government and state legislature is not subject to Referendum.
  • Supporters say the North Fork casino has local support and would create over 4,000 jobs. The North Fork tribe contributed $379,000 to YES on this measure. A YES vote for Prop 48 means keep the current state agreements.
  • Opponents say casinos should only be located on land owned in 1988 and the current agreement opens the door to an avalanche of off-reservation casinos. Over $7 million was contributed by other tribal groups to NO on this measure. A NO vote would cancel the existing state agreement with North Fork and Wiyot Indian tribes. Money from the top ten contributors is updated regularly on the FPPC website for all campaigns. Remember the trick question on your ballot! The Proposition 48 referendum is YES to stay the same and NO to make a change.

Nov 2014 Governor Candidates Debate Video

The California Channel provides a 56 minute video of a debate between Governor Brown and Neel Kashkari. Click here to watch the video

2014 Roseville City Council Candidate Forum

Click below to view the Roseville City Council Candidate held in September 2014 and moderated by LWVPC:

Part 1 - 42 minutes

Part 2 - 36 minutes

Pictures from the forum

June 3, 2014 Election Results

Pros & Cons of Ballot Measures from November 2012

Margot Fulmer, Nancy Tilcock and Carol Cramer at Water Forum
A YES vote for Prop 31-39 was for a change and a NO was to keep things the same.
Prop 40 was the reverse: A YES vote for Prop 40 was to keep things the same and a NO vote was for change.

Prop 30 & 38 conflict. Both could fail, but both could not pass. See a comparison by clicking here

For Pros & Cons of each ballot measure, click any of the measures below...

Prop 30: TAX INCREASE FOR EDUCATION Change constitution to increase income tax for people earning over $250K for 7 years and increase sales tax for 4 years. Conflicts with 38.

Prop 31: LOCAL GOVERNMENT PLANS AND STATE BUDGET CYCLE Authorize local government to distribute funds for state funded programs and change budget cycle from 1 year to 2 years.

Prop 32: PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES Ban payroll deductions by unions and ban corporations and unions from making contributions directly to California political candidates.

Prop 33: AUTO INSURANCE BREAK Allow drivers to get a discount for having continuous coverage even if they change insurers.

Prop 34: REPEAL DEATH PENALTY Eliminate the death penalty and replace it with life in prison without parole.

Prop 35: HUMAN TRAFFICKING PENALTIES Increase human trafficking penalties and require those convicted to register as sex offenders.

Prop 36: LIFE SENTENCE FOR 3 STRIKES Life sentence would only be handed down if the 3rd felony is a serious or violent crime.

Prop 37: GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS Require retailers to label food to indicate if the food contains genetically engineered ingredients.

Prop 38: TEMPORARY TAX FOR EDUCATION Increase income tax for 12 years on anyone earning more than $7,300/year on a sliding scale based on income. Conflicts with 30.

Prop 39: TAXES FOR MULTI-STATE BUSINESSES Require businesses to pay taxes based on their sales in California, instead of allowing them a choice of how they are taxed.

Prop 40: REPEAL STATE SENATE DISTRICT MAPS Veto State Senate district boundaries by voting NO or approve the districts used in the November 2012 and June 2012 elections by voting YES.

For a pdf copy of Pros and Cons for all ballot measures, click here
For the Legislative Analysts Office description of each measure, click here

unbiased News Articles authored by LWVPC Explaining Nov 2012 Ballot Propositions

Money Behind the Measures in the November 2012 Election

Do you want to know who paid how much for each ballot measure?
"Click here to see the list of people who donated to each ballot measure and how much they donated."

Local Ballot Measures from November 2012 Election

Measures H - City of Lincoln requires majority vote to pass.
Shall the office of the City Treasurer be appointive? If the above measure fails, which of the following candidates do you vote for to hold the office of City Treasurer?.

Measure J - Truckee Donner Recreation & Park District requires 2/3 voter approval to pass.
Shall Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District issue $8.52 million in bonds to improve local parks?

"For more information on local measures, click here"

Ballot Measure Videos from the November 2012 Election

Watch a 20 minute video explaining ballot measures by clicking here

Watch a 16 minute video explaining California budget and propositions 30 & 38, which propose increased taxes by "clicking here"

Voter Information from the Secretary of State for Previous Elections

More Information

For more information on past elections in California: preparing to vote, voting (in person, by mail, if you've moved), voting rights, take a friend to vote, results of past elections, etc.