California Ballot Propositions

Francis Gaspar | Staff Photographer

Francis Gaspar | Staff Photographer
Twelve propositions will accompany the November 4th ballot with issues ranging from bullet trains to gay marriage.

1 Allows the state of California to issue $9.95 billion worth of bonds to fund construction of a high-speed rail service running between Southern and Northern California.
If constructed, the rail system would provide many UC Irvine students, especially commuters, a faster, more cost-efficient means of coming to school. Unfortunately for current students, the project would not be finished until 2030.

2 Titled “Standards for Confining Farm Animals,” it would legally obligate farmers to keep veal calves, egg hens and pregnant pigs in cages or pens with enough space for the animals to lie down, stand up and turn around. Violators would be fined $1,000 and could face up to six months in jail.
If Proposition 2 is passed, it will not take effect until 2015.

3 The “Children’s Hospital Bond Act.” If approved, the measure would provide $980 million in bonds to expand and upgrade children’s hospitals throughout the state, including the University Children’s Hospital at the UC Irvine Medical Center. The measure has not attracted significant media attention.

4 Would prohibit abortions for minors until 48 hours after parental notification. It is among the most publicized and controversial measures on the 2008 ballot. The pro-proposition campaign has raised over $2.3 million to finance its efforts, and opposition campaigners have brought in about $3 million.

5 The “Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act,” would give an additional $460 million per year to state programs for drug offender treatment. It would also limit judges’ ability to hand down tough sentences to drug offenders and shorten parole for many drug-related crimes from six years to three months.

6 Also pertains to criminal justice: if enacted, the Safe Neighborhoods Act’s wide array of “tough-on-crime” provisions would increase the minimum annual statewide budget from $600 to $965 million for police, sheriffs, district attorneys, prisons and probation programs, require anyone 14 or older charged with a gang-related crime to be tried as an adult, force all occupants of public housing projects to submit yearly criminal background checks, enact stricter penalties for several gang, methamphetamine and firearm-related crimes, make illegal aliens ineligible for bail, criminalize removal of law enforcement monitoring devices attached as part of a sentence.
For instance, an ankle bracelet on an individual under house arrest and deem certain types of hearsay evidence admissible in criminal trials when insufficient witness testimony is available such as in a gang shooting trial where all witnesses are too intimidated to testify.

7 Will increase state administrative costs up to $3.4 million paid by fees. There is uncertainty in the impact on retail electricity rates. If passed, government-owned utilities must generate 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy by 2010, which is a current standard for private electrical corporations. By 2020 and 2025, all utilities will have to generate from renewable energy 40 percent and 50 percent, respectively.
Global warming and climate change forecast helped in the development of this proposition.

8 Will specify that only marriage between a man and woman is valid or recognized in California. In other words, same-sex marriage will not have a place in California’s constitution if this proposition passes.
This proposition restores a similar initiative passed in 2000, in which 61 percent of voters defined that marriage is only between a man and a woman. The court overruled and declared that the initiative was unconstitutional because marriage is fundamental. Therefore, the state cannot deny it to couples based on sex.

9 The current prison system will lose savings while experiencing an increase in costs amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars annually. If this does not pass, the current parole system will remain in place to ensure parolees receive legal representation at their hearings. State and local governments can be responsible to ensure that inmates are released early to reduce jail and prison overcrowding. Victims will still be notified about criminal justice proceedings.
If this proposition passes, crime victims will have the constitutional right to participate in any public criminal proceedings, among other rights. Crime victims will automatically receive payments of restitution, while offenders’ funds will pay restitutions before any other expenses. Inmates have to wait longer before being released from prison. Some parolees will have no legal counsel if they break parole and will return to prison. Early release of inmates will be restricted.

10 Over a span of 30 years, this proposition will cost the state about $10 billion annually to repay bonds. There will be an increase in state and local revenues. An annual cost of up to about $10 million in state administrative costs is expected.
If passed, Proposition 10 will authorize $5 billion in bonds paid from the General Fund to help consumers pay for “green technology” cars and fund research in renewable energy and alternative fuel vehicles.

11 Two entities performing redistricting may increase state’s redistricting costs. The increase in costs will probably not be significant. This proposition via initiative will change redistricting constitutionally. If passed, the proposition will transfer duties from the legislature to an independent commission comprised of 14 registered voters from any party who will draw districts after every decade when the census comes out. This will not affect boundaries for the U.S. House of Representatives, which will still be drawn by the state legislature. However, the state senate, assembly and board of equalization will be affected by this proposition. A “no” vote will only affect the state assembly.

12 Over a span of 30 years, it would cost $1.8 billion, which includes interest in addition to $900 million, to repay for the bond paid mostly by participating veterans. Taxpayers will not have too great a burden in this proposition. California’s legislature passed this proposition for the ballot.
If passed, a bond issue of $900 million will provide farm and home aid for California veterans via the Cal-Vet program, including those who served in Iraq. Currently, a similar program helps those who have served up to 1977, which does not include post-Vietnam veterans with experience in the Gulf Wars and current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Similar measures have been passed 26 times in the past.