By John Arcibal and Elan Halpern November 4, 2016
With many camps of people adopting either the “Never Trump” or “Never Hillary” mindset, a huge number of eligible voters are turning themselves away from the polls. Even if you are among those who have no urge to cast a vote in this year’s presidential election, there remain many other bills and legislation that you could vote for on this year’s ballot. Depending on the state you are voting in, you might have a say on whether marijuana becomes legal, the death penalty is abolished, cigarettes are taxed, and many more interesting and important topics.
California in particular has a substantial list of significant propositions, and this article will provide a short summary about a number of them, hopefully encouraging discouraged voters to take their opinions to the polls.
Legalization of Marijuana
In California the usage of medical marijuana is already legal, but if passed, Proposition 64 would legalize recreational marijuana for people age twenty-one and older. This would also create two new taxes on marijuana, on both the cultivation and the retail sale of the plant. The revenue created by the taxes would go towards drug research, youth programs, and reducing the environmental impact from marijuana production.
Condoms in Pornography
California is a leading producer of pornographic films. If Proposition 60 passes, it would create a new requirement for pornographic actors and producers to use and visibly show the usage of condoms in their pornographic films. It would also require pornographic producers to cover health benefits and checkups for the performers in these films.
Proposition 63, if passed, would add additional requirements for background checks and mandatory permits for individuals seeking to buy ammunition. It would also impose a ban on the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines.
Health Care & Drug Prices
Proposition 52, if passed, would continue the collection of California’s Medi-Cal Hospital Fee. This fee, imposed on hospitals, allocates money to fund Medi-Cal services for uninsured patients and children’s health coverage. Additionally, Proposition 61 supports the regulation of drug prices by requiring state agencies to pay no more than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for prescription drugs.
Proposition 67, if it passes, would continue the ban on plastic bags in grocery and other retail stores. A similar proposition on this year’s ballot will also determine whether or not the money collected from the sale of carry-out bags will be redirected into environmental conservation and protection initiatives, including those on drought mitigation, wildlife restoration, and recycling.
Repealing the Death Penalty
Proposition 62, if passed, would repeal the death penalty in the state of California; life without the possibility of parole would replace capital punishment as the maximum punishment for murder. In addition to Prop 62, Proposition 66 is on the November 8th ballot. Their effects oppose each other; if Prop 66 passes, it would become more difficult to appeal or petition to challenge death penalty convictions and sentences. If both propositions pass, the proposition with the most support (yes votes) will supersede the other.
If Proposition 56 passed, it would cause a $2.00 increase on the $0.87 excise tax on tobacco and tobacco related products. The increased tax revenue would go towards physician training, prevention and treatment of dental diseases, Medi-Cal, tobacco use prevention, cancer research, heart and lung disease research, and research on other tobacco related diseases.
Proposition 51 would issue $9 billion in bonds to fund improvement and construction for K-12 school and community colleges if it passed. From a fiscal perspective, the bonds are estimated to cost $17.6 billion to repay, costing the state approximately $500 million each year.
If Proposition 54 passes, it would require every bill voted on by the houses of legislature be posted in print and online at least srventy-two hours in advance of the vote. It would also require that the legislature record and publish public proceedings online within twenty-four hours. In addition, it would allow any individual to record public legislative proceedings and use the recordings for any legitimate purpose.
Civil and Criminal Trials
Proposition 57, if passed, would increase good behavior opportunities and parole for felons convicted of nonviolent crimes; it would also give judges the discretion to decide whether to try certain juveniles as adults in court. The proposition follows Proposition 47, which reduced some nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors. Proposition 57 is designed to lower prison population numbers.
If Proposition 59 passes, state officials would be "asked" to work on overturning Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010). The Supreme Court ruling on this case resulted in new protections on political contributions and spending, based on the idea that such expenditures were legally protected by the first amendment. The initiative put in place by Proposition 59 would ask state officials to allow for the full regulation of campaign contributions, making it clear that corporations do not have the same constitutional right as human beings.