Understanding the 2016 Voter Guide

The following propositions are important to understand for both students and parents in this upcoming election. Proposition 51, 56, 58, 59, 61, 62, 63, 64, and 67 are all summarized below–each include a graphic highlighting different arguments for and against each proposition. Click here to register to vote.

Proposition 51:

What would it do? Proposition 51 would allow the state of California to issue $9 billion in bonds, which are essentially loans taken at a fixed interest rate, for the overall improvement of school facilities in California. How is it spent? $3 billion would be spent for new construction projects on school campuses and another $3 billion would go toward the modernization, or renovation, of public schools. $1 billion will be provided for the betterment of facilities located in charter schools and vocational education schools. California’s community colleges would be the recipients of the remaining $2 billion. How would we repay the bonds? As far as repaying the bonds goes, analysts estimate that California will ultimately pay $17.6 billion, with an additional $8.6 billion being tacked on due to interest. California would pay off the bonds at a rate of $500 million each year for 35 years if the proposition passes.



Proposition 56:

What would it do? Proposition 56 will increase the tax on cigarettes by $2.00 to $2.87 per pack. Similar increases will be placed on other tobacco products and e-cigarettes. The tax increase could potentially raise between  $1 billion and $1.4 billion over the course of 2017 and 2018. Where would the tax money go? This massive revenue increase would be allocated to health care programs, tobacco prevention programs, tobacco research and law enforcement programs, physician training, and dental disease prevention programs. proposition-56_16441145_5cb0aeca7e715af40e61f97a5965ab837be0374a


Proposition 58:

What would it do? Proposition 58 would rethink the 1998 Proposition 227, also known as the “English in Public Schools” Initiative, which prohibited the use of a non-english language in public schools. Under Proposition 58, schools would still be required to teach the English language to those who do not speak it. What would this mean for bilingual learners? Students would be allowed to learn English through a bilingual program, meaning it could be taught in English and the student’s native language, or entirely in English. The parents of non-English-speaking students would also be given the option to choose which learning program would best suit their child. The Proposition also encourages schools to gather community and parent input on programs to ensure that students receive the best, most efficient education on the English language.




Proposition 59:

What would it do? Proposition 59 asks for State Legislators to propose a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court decision from the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case. What is the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Case?  This was a Supreme Court decision made in 2010. It determined that political contributions, mainly money spent in support of a specific candidate, are protected under the constitutional right of free speech. What would Prop 59 amend? The Amendment that Proposition 59 proposes would allow individuals to contribute to campaigns, but would place restrictions on how much corporations and unions can spend. The Amendment would clarify that these corporate entities do not have the same constitutional rights as individual people.proposition-59_16441191_5751d8d2c33178ad1210aeef0b1764c76827a258


Proposition 61:

What would it do? Proposition 61 ensures that state agencies don’t pay any more for a prescription drug than the lowest price paid for the same drug by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. This would apply to state agencies that do not directly buy the drug, but provide funding for the purchase of it.




Proposition 62:

What would it do? Proposition 62 would repeal the death penalty as punishment for people found guilty of committing first degree murder. It would apply to those already on death row. How would these criminals be punished? Punishment for such crimes would be replaced by life imprisonment without an option for parole. During their time in prison, these criminals would be put to work. The wages earned by the inmates serving life sentences would be partially deducted and distributed to the families of their victims to pay off debts owed to them.




Proposition 63:

What would it do? Proposition 63 would pass a series of gun and ammunition regulations. It would require that individuals purchasing gun ammunition pass a background check and receive authorization to buy ammo from the Department of Justice. It would also call for the disposal of ammunition magazines with a high capacity, as well as a ban on future purchases of such magazines. The sale of ammunition is also to be reported to the Department of Justice. It calls for lost or stolen weapons to be reported immediately and bans individuals convicted of stealing firearms from purchasing them. The Department of Justice would also be required to report people prohibited from buying weapons to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.




Proposition 64:

What would it do? Proposition 64 would legalize the use of marijuana for non-medical purposes on the state level, allowing citizens 21 years old and over to buy and use the drug. State agencies would be given control to regulate the industry. Retail marijuana sales would be taxed 15% and the cost to cultivate the plant would be also be taxed. However, marijuana used for medical reasons would be exempt from certain taxations. “packaging, labeling, advertising, and marketing standards” would be subject to regulations under Prop 64, and advertising directly to minors would be prohibited. Regulations would be established on the local level, allowing counties and cities to decide how these businesses should be handled. Individuals currently serving sentences for previous marijuana offenses would also be granted the opportunity for a re-sentencing under the new measure. Along with this, they could apply to remove marijuana-related infractions from their criminal record.





Proposition 67:

What would it do? Proposition 67 bans grocery or retail stores from providing plastic bags to their customers. However, plastic bags would be allowed under certain circumstances. Prop 67 also encourages the sale of reusable bags and recyclable paper bags, which would be sold for a minimum of $0.10 per bag.