The Santa Barbara League of Women Voters presented a summary of state propositions and ballot arguments during a Thursday forum.
It also shared resources for researching more about the seven measures on November’s ballot, including the policy and financial impacts, arguments for and against each one, and campaign financing.
“Be careful and thoughtful; it’s difficult to change voter-approved laws,” moderator Shane Stark cautioned at the beginning of the virtual event.
The California Secretary of State’s website has the complete ballot text for each qualified proposition here: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/qualified-ballot-measures.
CalMatters has a voter guide for each proposition here: https://calmatters.org/california-voter-guide-2022/.
The League of Women Voters has a voter guide here: https://votersedge.org/ca.
Proposition 1: Constitutional Right to Reproductive Freedom
The right to privacy, including reproductive freedom, is in the California Constitution, but the right to abortion is not explicit, Stark explained.
The U.S. Supreme Court overruled the federal right to abortion and left the question of abortion rights to the states.
California’s legislature proposed an amendment to the state constitution to declare a fundamental right to reproductive freedom, including the right to abortion and the right to choose or refuse contraception, Stark said.
Supporters say Proposition 1 would protect reproductive rights and existing laws and put them directly into the constitution. Opponents say the move is a waste of money and would allow late-term abortions in more instances.
2 Propositions on Sports Betting and Gambling
The California Constitution prohibits gambling except for recognized tribes that have the exclusive right to offer certain types of gambling, including slot machines and some card games. Sports betting is not legal in California, except for horse racing.
Proposition 26 would allow in-person sports betting only at tribal casinos and four specific horse tracks in California, and allow the tribal casinos to offer roulette and dice games.
Supporters say taxing sports betting would increase state revenue and allow tribes to fund more essential services. They argue that the measure would protect against underage gambling by requiring people to be physically present to make bets, Stark said.
Opponents argue that legalizing more types of gambling is bad for public health and safety. They argue that some casinos allow 18-year-olds to participate and that could encourage young people to develop gambling additions. The measure could revive the horse racing industry, which they argue endangers horses.
Proposition 27 would allow online and mobile sports betting across the state, except on tribal lands.
Supporters argue that revenues would be used to support programs for homeless residents, mental health and gambling addiction programs. Some proceeds would go to tribes that aren’t involved in sports betting.
Recognized tribes and gaming companies could offer the sports betting.
Opponents say the measure was promoted by out-of-state companies such as DraftKings to legalize online and mobile sports betting. Opponents argue that online and mobile sports betting escalates the risks of underage gambling, drives business away from tribal casinos, and turns every phone and computer into a gambling device.
If both gambling-related propositions were passed by voters, both could go into effect and it’s likely a state court would have to work out provisions, Stark said.
Both propositions could generate millions of dollars annually for the state.
Proposition 28: Provides Additional Funding for Arts and Music Education in Public Schools
Proposition 28 proposes making the state set aside additional funding specifically for arts and music teachers and supply costs. It would specifically provide 1% of education funds beyond the usual funding amount. It has an estimated financial impact of $1 billion of state money per year, above the existing constitutional education funding requirements.
Supporters say arts and music should be considered fundamental parts of K-12 education and that the money would fund more jobs for teachers.
No formal argument was filed against the proposition, but opponents argue that it’s “ballot box budgeting” and could impact funding for other school subjects, according to the League of Women Voters forum.
Proposition 29: Requires On-Site Licensed Medical Professional at Kidney Dialysis Clinics and Establishes Other State Requirements
Proposition 29 is the third such initiative on the ballot in recent years, Stark said, and it’s related to the controversy between health care worker unions and the two largest dialysis center companies in California.
Dialysis is a treatment to filter wastes and water from the blood for patients with kidney disease.
Proposition 29 would require that a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant be present during patient treatments.
Supporters say dialysis is dangerous and that clinics should also have one of these types of health care providers on site to help. They argue that clinics don’t invent enough in patient care and safety despite being profitable.
Opponents say the change could take health care providers away from hospitals and emergency rooms, and that the clinics already have trained staff on site to monitor people. Opponents also argue that the staffing requirement could increase costs for clinics and cause some to reduce hours or close.
Proposition 30: Provides Funding for Programs to Reduce Air Pollution and Prevent Wildfires By Increasing Tax on Personal Income Over $2 Million
LWV member Dianne Black said Proposition 30 would increase the income tax by 1.75% for personal income above $2 million. The revenues would go to zero emission vehicle programs and wildfire response.
Supporters say existing programs are inadequate to address poor air quality from car exhaust and wildfire smoke; that this funding would make zero emissions cars more affordable; and that it will help fund wildfire prevention and response.
The tax increase would result in $3.5 billion to $5 billion per year, she said.
Opponents say the state is already spending billions of dollars on these goals and there’s no guarantee the programs would make zero-emission vehicles affordable. They also argue that state income taxes are already too high, and an increase could cause people to move to lower tax states.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has criticized the measure and accused Lyft of supporting it to funnel government revenues to their company, Black said. In response to a participant question, Black said he likely called that company out because it’s a major funder of the proposition.
The state has mandated all rideshare companies to transition to 90% zero-emission vehicles by 2030. California has also mandated that by 2035, 100% of new cars and light trucks sold in California will be zero-emission vehicles.
Proposition 31: Referendum on 2020 Law That Would Prohibit the Retail Sale of Certain Flavored Tobacco Products
The California legislature passed a law banning flavored tobacco sales in 2020, but it has not gone into effect. If Proposition 31 passes, the ban will go into effect.
Supporters say the ban would help public health, and opponents say adults who use flavored tobacco would have no choice in the products they buy.
The City of Goleta has a similar measure on its November ballot.
The state ban has exemptions for hookah, loose leaf tobacco and premium cigars, while the proposed city ban has no exemptions.