Props To You, Californians: A Preview Of What’s On Your November BallotJuly 4, 2020
After a bit of last-minute legislative maneuvering, the list of propositions that California voters will be asked to weigh in on has been — more or less — finalized.
This past week marked the deadline for citizens and special interests to snag their spot on the November ballot. Eight measures made the cut. They address matters as vital and/or esoteric as rent control, property tax law, dialysis clinic staffing requirements, stem cell research funding and the preservation or final dispatch of cash bail in California.
The same date also marked the deadline for legislators to place their preferred measures on the November ballot. But lawmakers have a bit more flexibility when it comes to deadlines — they can just make new laws. On Monday, the Senate passed Senate Bill 300 to Gov. Gavin Newsom who signed it. The law effectively extended the Legislature’s deadline to July 1.
(Technically, the deadline wasn’t extended but created anew. The law calls for the Legislature’s favored measures to go before voters in a whole new election — conveniently to take place on the same day and same ballot as the ordinary November 3 election.)
That extension gave lawmakers a few extra hours to add four measures: two to expand voting rights, one that ends a 22-year-old ban on affirmative action, and one that is a tortuously complicated property tax measure that somehow ropes in Realtors, wildland firefighters and “The Dude” from the Big Lebowski.
Here’s your November ballot preview:
Race and Civil Rights
These three measures, all placed on the ballot by the Legislature, had been introduced before protests against racism and police brutality swept the country. But as California lawmakers look for ways to play a role in the national debate about institutional barriers to equity and the meaning of citizenship, many legislators see these as particularly potent causes.
Prop. 16: Ending the ban on affirmative action
Who put it there: The Legislature, via a bill by San Diego Democrat Assemblymember Shirley Weber
Type: Constitutional amendment
What it would do: Allow schools and public agencies to take race and other immutable characteristics into account when making admission, hiring or contracting decisions.
In 1996 California voters passed Proposition 209, a constitutional amendment banning affirmative action at state institutions. The result was an immediate drop in Black and Latino enrollment at the state’s elite public universities. Some civil rights organizations have been trying to repeal Prop. 209 ever since.
Each of those attempts has been stymied by a coalition of Republicans, moderate Democrats and some progressive legislators who represent districts with large Asian American voting populations. This year, as in previous years, some of the most vocal and persistent opponents of the effort to reintroduce…