California voters decided the fate of a dozen ballot propositions in the Nov. 3 election, choosing to pass just five of them. While Los Angeles County supported seven of the state measures, in addition to County Measure J, which mandates increased community investment into alternatives to incarceration, the overall state vote determines which propositions ultimately pass.
From funding the $5.5 billion state bond in support of stem cell research (Prop. 14) to stoking the real estate market by allowing certain people to transfer their primary residence’s tax base to a replacement residence (Prop. 19) to creating a new state agency to enforce consumer privacy laws (Prop. 24), Californians said yes to several impactful state measures. However, Golden State voters said no to lowering the voting age (Prop. 18) and allowing rideshare drivers the ability to be considered actual employees (Prop. 22).
While the official election results won’t be certified by the state until Dec. 11, Co-President of the Los Angeles League of Women Voters Mona Field said she didn’t anticipate much would change in the intervening weeks.
“The question is, how many people in this very unusual situation waited…and sent [their ballot] on election day? I don’t think in quantities large enough to change most,” she said, noting that provisional ballots also needed to be counted. “Every American should know, democracy takes time and we need to count every vote.”
Proposition 14 – Stem Cell Research
Californians are on the hook for an estimated $260 million per year increased state costs over the next 30 years after voters passed this $5.5 billion state bond for stem cell and other medical research.
Proposition 15 – Taxes on Commercial Property
Public schools, community colleges and local governments will have to do without billions of dollars in new funding after California voters said no Prop. 15, with 51.7% of the state voting against the proposition. Local L.A. voters, by contrast, favored the proposition, with 53.1% supporting it.
Prop. 15 would have increased property taxes on commercial properties worth more than $3 million.
If Prop. 15 had passed, attorney Michele Weiss, who chairs the Beverly Hills Bar Association taxation law section, said that property taxes across Los Angeles would have likely increased for most commercial property owners.
“Passing Proposition 15 would [have indicated] that Californians are not sympathetic to landowners or commercial tenants,” she said, noting that the result spares tenants potential rent increases and helps keep commercial landowners in the L.A. area.
Proposition 16 – Allow Public Agencies to Consider Diversity
Californians said no to giving affirmative action another opportunity. The proposition would have allowed municipalities and other institutions to consider race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin to address diversity by repealing the constitutional provision prohibiting such policies. It became illegal in 1996 to consider such factors when making decisions about public education and public employment.
Whereas 56.1% of state voters voted no, 51.4% of L.A. voters supported Prop. 16.
Proposition 17 – Voting Rights for People on Parole
Voters said yes to restore voting rights upon completion of a prison term. In addition to restoring voting rights, Prop. 17 allows certain people on parole the ability to run for public office. Approximately 50,000 people in California are now on parole.
Proposition 18 – Voting Rights for 17-Year-Olds
While county residents voted to allow 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections or special elections if they will be 18 by the general election in November, statewide voters refused to lower the voting age. In Los Angeles, 52.a% of voters supported lowering the age as opposed to 55.1% of the state who voted against Prop. 18.
Proposition 19 – Changes in Property Tax Rules
Homeowners who are over 55, disabled or victims of wildfires or disasters will soon have the ability to transfer their primary residence’s tax base to a replacement residence anywhere in California following passage of Prop. 19. Statewide, 51.5% of voters supported Prop. 19 compared to the 50.1% of Los Angeles voters who said no.
“This provision enables older individuals to downsize their family homes without increasing their property taxes,” Weiss said. “The tax assessment can be transferred to a home with a higher market value than the home sold without any increase in the tax assessment that was transferred.”
In addition to establishing a fire protection services fund, Prop. 19 also changes the taxation of family property transfers by eliminating the parent-child, grandparent-grandchild exclusion.
Proposition 20 – Changes to Criminal Penalties and Parole
Voters overwhelmingly said no to undoing parts of the crime laws passed by lawmakers and voters over the past 10 years which have reduced punishments for people convicted of some nonviolent crimes. In addition to reclassifying certain “petty theft” crimes as felonies, Prop. 20 would have limited early release for people convicted of some felonies and allowed the collection of DNA from adults convicted of some misdemeanor crimes.
“It was a huge gap between the yes and no, which really interests me because California is stepping away from ‘law and order’ and stepping towards more of a rehabilitation restorative justice approach,” Field said.
Proposition 21 – Rent Control
Californians said no to allowing cities and counties the option of passing rent control rules for housing that is more than 15 years old. As a result, the state law currently preventing rent control on single-family homes and housing built after Feb. 1, 1995, remains intact.
“There was so much money against it and there were a lot of issues about how it was written,” Field said.
Prop. 21 would have allowed communities the ability to limit how much a landlord could increase rent when a new renter moves in.
Proposition 22 – Ride-hailing and Delivery Drivers
Following passage of Prop. 22, app-based transportation and delivery companies will be exempt from providing employee benefits to certain drivers, with most ride-hailing and delivery drivers staying as independent contractors. The measure followed an unsuccessful lawsuit waged by ride-hailing companies after the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 5 in 2019, which stipulated that these independent contractors be treated as employees.
“Oh my God, they spent $200 million to get a yes vote and it worked,” Field said, referencing the tens of millions of dollars that Lyft ($50 million), Uber ($48 million), Doordash ($48 million), Instacart ($26 million) and Postmates ($11 million) spent to support the measure.
Proposition 23 – Kidney Dialysis
Dialysis clinics will not be required to have a doctor present during treatment hours after voters said no to Prop. 23.
“No surprise. The no side had huge amounts of money,” Field said, referencing the $93 million spent to oppose the measure.
Prop. 23 would have also forbid clinics from discriminating against clients based on their insurance or how they are paying for treatment. In addition, the proposition would have required clinics to report any dialysis-related infections to the state every three months and first get permission from the state before closing or reducing services.
Proposition 24 – Consumer Privacy
Consumer privacy laws are set to be amended after California voters said yes to giving people increased power over their personal data and approved creating the California Privacy Protection Agency. According to Voter’s Edge California, the new state agency is anticipated to cost California at least $10 million annually.
“For Angelenos, the proposition may provide significant new protections,” attorney Don Dennis Jr. said. “The agency would inform the public about the importance of privacy awareness and assist businesses in how to comply with the law. In addition, the agency would have the authority to assess fines for violation of the CPRA that can be $2,500 per violation and up to $7,500 per intentional violation or a violation that involved a minor.”
Dennis noted that the CPRA will allow consumers to sue businesses if their personal information is subject to data breach for a minimum of $100 (up to $750) per incident. In addition, he said that consumers could also sue for injunctive or declaratory relief and any other relief that the court deems proper.
Proposition 25 – Eliminating Bail
Cash bail will remain in place after Californians shot down a proposal to get rid of the bail system that allows people charged with less-serious crimes to be released before trial.
Prop. 25 would have allowed judges to decide if people charged with more serious crimes should be released or kept in jail, based on whether they are considered a danger to the public or might not return to court.
“I thought maybe that would pass; but you see the contradiction in how we vote. We say no to a tighter ‘law and order’ (Prop. 20) and then we say no to get rid of the cash bail,” Field said.
Measure J – Alternatives to Incarceration
L.A. voters supported bolstering support services in an effort to reduce incarceration rates. The measure, which was placed on the ballot by a 4-1 vote by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, requires the county to allocate at least 10% of its budget from locally generated unrestricted revenue for community and social services.
“We asked voters if they believed, as the supervisors do, that now is the time to expand funding so that we can help more people move from custody, homelessness and instability to long-term stability and care, and they said, resoundingly, yes,” Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, 3rd District, wrote in a statement. “Measure J is a significant long-term step in gradually shifting county taxpayer dollars in a direction consistent with the public’s wishes and the board’s vision for improving community health, safety and opportunity.”
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.