A woman casts her vote while wearing a mask at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. Credit: Los Angeles County/Twitter.

Checking in on California’s 12 Propositions

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This year, California voters are deciding the fate of 12 propositions, many of them in tight races that could go either way. We’ve summarized each one and how it’s currently faring based on available polls.

Proposition 14: In 2004, Californians approved the sale of $3 billion in general obligation bonds to fund stem cell research in the state. Now, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has less than $30 million left and needs more. Proposition 14 would authorize $5.5 billion in state bonds for stem cell and other medical research, of which $1.5 billion would be dedicated to brain-related diseases.

Capitol Weekly has been polling mail-in voters since Oct. 13, removing responses from those who said they skipped or didn’t remember how they voted on a proposition. On Proposition 14, they found voters leaned toward yes, with 58% of the vote.

Proposition 15: If approved, taxes on commercial and industrial properties would be based on current market value, not purchase price. Small businesses and farms would be exempt, but taxes would go up for most commercial properties over $3 million. The money generated would go to public schools, community colleges and local government services. Advocates see a boon for schools thanks to wealthy property owners, while opponents worry developers could pass the burden to tenants.

According to a Berkeley IGS Poll, Proposition 15 could go either way. Researchers found that 49% of voters were in favor of Proposition 15, while 42% were opposed and 9% were undecided. Per Ballotpedia, average support for the proposition comes with 49.92% of the vote, while the opposition comes in at 39.99%. Though the margins are narrow overall, only one poll reported more voters opposed to the proposition.

Proposition 16: This one would repeal Proposition 209, which banned affirmative action in California in 1996, and reinstate it. If approved, government agencies and public universities would be able to consider diversity — in race, sex, color, ethnicity and national origin — when making decisions related to hiring, admissions and contracting. Advocates say this would level the playing field for people of color and women, while opponents claim Proposition 16 is inherently discriminatory, and some worry it will hurt Asian American students.

This proposition is trailing in support, according to the Berkeley IGS Poll, which shows just 38% of respondents voting yes, with 49% voting no and 13% undecided. Ballotpedia’s average is currently 37.33% in favor to 43% opposed, though some polls are quite close. In a poll of 1,701 residents by the Public Policy Insitute of California — conducted Oct. 9-18 — 49% of respondents supported the proposition, while 45% opposed it.

Proposition 17: If approved, parolees who have finished their prison term would be allowed to vote. Capitol Weekly’s poll shows an overwhelming lead here, with 69% of respondents supporting Proposition 17, with just 31% opposing it.

Proposition 18: If approved, Proposition 18 would allow eligible residents who are 17 years old to vote in primary and special elections if they’ll turn 18 by the next general election. Capitol Weekly’s poll shows 59% of respondents supported the proposition, while 41% opposed it.

Proposition 19: There’s a lot going on here. Homeowners who are over 55, disabled, or who were the victims of a wildfire or other disaster would be able to transfer their primary residence’s lower tax rate to any new residence. At the same time, people who inherit homes will only get to keep that property’s tax rate if they make it their primary residence. If they rent it out, they’ll have to pay today’s rates. The money generated would fund firefighting efforts in the state. Capitol Weekly’s poll shows a tight race here: 49% yes to 51% no. Realtors like this one. The L.A. Times does not.

Proposition 20: This is the “tough on crime” proposition. It would make it so some property crimes currently charged as misdemeanors could be charged as felonies, while also increasing penalties for parole violators, requiring law enforcement to collect DNA samples from people convicted of some misdemeanor property crimes and adding more crimes to the list of felonies that disqualify people from early release. Capitol Weekly’s poll shows 43% of respondents supported Proposition 20, while 57% opposed it.

Proposition 21: If passed, Proposition 21 would allow local governments to establish rent control on properties over 15 years old, thus allowing cities to expand rent control. Advocates support increased affordable housing for more renters, while opponents say Proposition 21 would reduce the housing stock, as developers would no longer find it lucrative enough to build new housing.

Berkeley IGS’s latest poll also shows this proposal lagging in support, 37% to 48%, with 15% of respondents undecided. Berkeley’s first poll, conducted Sept. 9-15, showed voters split at 37%, with 25% undecided. Capitol Weekly shows 47% yes to 53% no.

Capitol Weekly also asked respondents why they voted the way they did. For those who voted yes on Proposition 21, almost all of them — 94% — said they did so to support renters. But among those who voted no, 43% did so to support landlords, while 36% said they were supporting renters. Twenty percent said they didn’t know.

Proposition 22: This is a hot one. If passed, app-based transit and delivery drivers — such as those who work for Uber, Lyft and Postmates — would be classified as independent contractors instead of employees. Uber and Lyft and other affected companies have pumped a lot of money into getting Proposition 22 to pass, but it’s still anyone’s game.

The Berkeley IGS Poll found 46% of voters saying yes, compared to 42% saying no, with 12% undecided. Capitol Weekly also showed a tight race: 52% yes, 48% no. Seventy-eight percent of Capitol Weekly respondents said they voted no to make sure workers would earn living wages, while those who voted yes were split between living wages and ensuring services would continue.

As a former driver himself, Los Angeleno‘s Tony Pierce has five reasons why you should vote no here.

Proposition 23: This proposition would require dialysis clinics to have a physician, nurse practitioner or physician on-site during patient treatment hours. Clinics would also require state approval before closing down, and they would not be able to refuse services based on a patient’s payment source. Capitol Weekly’s poll showed support for this proposition lags by a large margin: 37% yes to 63% no.

Proposition 24: This proposition would expand California’s privacy laws, and people are pretty split over it. If approved, consumers could limit the way businesses use and store their personal data and business information, including their location, race, ethnicity and health information. Even so, some of the usual privacy advocates, like the American Civil Liberties Union, are opposed, saying there are too many loopholes. Capitol Weekly’s poll leaned toward yes at 54% of the vote.

Proposition 25: Proposition 25 would replace cash bail with an algorithm that instead considers public safety and flight risk. Again, some advocates of eliminating cash bail are against this particular proposition. The ACLU of Southern California claims the tools used are racially and socioeconomically biased and that the proposition would also expand police funding. Capitol Weekly’s poll showed this one leading 60% to 40%. An earlier Berkeley poll from Sept. 13-18 showed 39% to 32%.

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