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Guide to California Ballot Propositions

By: Brynn Gibson


With the midterm elections quickly approaching, California voters will soon determine the outcome of seven potential state laws. Decided by referendum — a direct popular vote on specific legislation — these statewide ballot measures could gain approval with a simple majority vote. For first-time voters, seasoned political participants, and curious minors alike, education is pivotal for crafting informed political opinions. The following is a guide to all seven California propositions on the ballot this November. 

Proposition 1: Enshrine Reproductive Freedom

Written as a reaction to the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade earlier this year, Prop 1 is an amendment that would enshrine a fundamental right to abortion in California’s Constitution. In the event of a national ban on abortion, California legislators believe Prop 1 would act as an additional layer of protection for reproductive freedom. 

Proposition 26: Casino Sports Betting

Gambling of any form is currently outlawed in the state of California. Prop 26 would legalize in-person sports gambling at Native American casinos and California horse racing tracks. Tribal casinos would also be allowed to offer roulette and dice games. Online gambling would still be illegal.

Proposition 27: Online Sports Betting

Prop 27 would allow online sports gambling outside of tribal lands. Only licensed tribes and gaming companies able to pay a 100 million dollar fee to enter the market would gain this privilege. According to the measure, the state would allocate 85 percent of revenue from that fee to programs fighting homelessness. Most California tribes oppose the bill, claiming it encroaches on their gambling monopoly.

Proposition 28: Increase Funding for School Arts

Prop 28 would require California to allocate one percent of the state budget for public schools towards funding art programs. Schools serving low-income communities would receive the highest amounts of funding. The measure also would require districts to spend 80 percent of this money to employ arts and music staff. 

Proposition 29: Dialysis Clinics

In hopes of raising wages, Prop 29 would place new restrictions on private kidney dialysis clinics by requiring a doctor, nurse, or physician assistant to be present during all patient treatments. Dialysis companies oppose the measure, arguing it would increase the cost of running a clinic exponentially and in turn raise health insurance costs.

Proposition 30: Income Tax for Electric Cars

Prop 30 would raise taxes by 1.75 percent for residents with incomes over two million. The state would use the estimated five billion dollars of revenue to electrify ride-sharing fleets and fund wildfire prevention programs. Opponents maintain the measure only benefits ride sharing programs and the tax increase would drive high-income residents out of the state.

Proposition 31: Uphold Flavored Tobacco Ban

The California state legislature banned flavored tobacco products in 2020, arguing that tobacco companies intentionally marketed their products to underage consumers. However, the tobacco industry challenged the law, preventing the ban from immediately going into effect. If passed, Prop 31 would put the statewide ban in place. 

(Sources: CA.gov, Cal Matters, NY Times)

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