Election Day is almost here.  After more than twelve months and over twenty candidates (for president alone), the moment of truth is nearly upon us.  Soon, we will head to the polls and determine our elitist overlord Commander in Chief for the next four years.  But the presidential election is far from the only matter being decided; in all, there are seventeen additional measures, or propositions, being submitted to California voters on Tuesday, November 8.  Between the daily commute and the company kickball team, there is not a lot of time in the day, so it can be tough, almost impossible, to stay educated and form an opinion on every single measure.  That is what we are here for.  Here is a quick and easy summary of each proposition in 50 words or less, so you can choose a side and vote smart!

Proposition 51

Topic: Schools.

Summary: Requires the state to issue $9 billion in bonds (or in new debt, depending on your perspective) for the construction and improvement of schools.  It is supported by both Democrats and Republicans but opposed by Governor Brown.  About 53% of the public support it.

Proposition 52

Topic: Medi-Cal.

Summary: Makes it harder to divert money from Medi-Cal and its hospital fee program (which provides health services to low-income patients), extends the program past January 1, 2018, and makes it more difficult to end the program.  It is supported by both Democrats and Republicans.

Proposition 53

Topic: Bonds.

Summary: Requires voter approval on revenue bond projects totaling $2 billion or more.  Revenue bonds are repaid through the users of the project (i.e. a toll road) but usually do not exceed $2 billion.  It is supported by Republicans and opposed by Democrats and Governor Brown.

Proposition 54

Topic: Legislature.

Summary: Requires state legislature to post a bill online for at least 3 days before a vote, record public proceedings and post them online within 24 hours, and allow anyone to record any public proceeding.  It is supported by Republicans and opposed by Democrats.

Proposition 55

Topic: Income tax.

Summary: Extends the increase on personal income tax for anyone over $250,000 for 12 years to fund schools and healthcare.  Some are upset because the tax was originally supposed to be temporary when enacted in 2012.  It is supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans.

Proposition 56

Topic: Tobacco.

Summary: Increases the tax on cigarettes and related products $2.00 (making it a total of $2.87).  Most of the funds go towards the state’s General Fund and health-related research.  It is supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans.  About 60% of the public support it.


Proposition 57

Topic: Prisons.

Summary: Increases parole and good behavior opportunities for nonviolent felons and allows judges (not prosecutors) to decide whether to try juveniles as adults in court.  It is supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans.  About 66% of the public support it.

Proposition 58

Topic: Bilingual education.

Summary: Repeals Proposition 227 of 1998 that requires English-only learning and instead allows schools to utilize bilingual programs.  It is supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans.  About 64% of the public support it.

Proposition 59

Topic: Campaigns.

Summary: Advises, without requiring, California officials to work on overturning Citizens United vs. Federal Election Committee (the case that protected unlimited campaign contributions as “free speech” and declared corporations equal to humans) through a constitutional amendment or otherwise.  It is supported by Democrats and opposed by some Republicans.

Proposition 60

Topic: Pornography.

Summary: Requires condoms in necessary pornographic movies and further requires producers to pay for actors’ health checkups.  There is already a measure forcing actors to use condoms, but Proposition 60 makes it enforceable.  It is opposed by Democrats and Republicans.  About 53% of the public support it.

Proposition 61

Topic: Drugs.

Summary: Requires every state agency to pay no more than the Department of Veterans Affairs (which already has negotiating standards written in law) for prescription drugs.  Currently, agencies negotiate with companies separately, so the price for the same drug varies.  All top ten opposition donors are pharmaceutical companies.

Proposition 62

Topic: Death penalty.

Summary: Repeals the death penalty and forces felons found guilty of murder to work in prison, ultimately deducting 20-60% of their wages for victims’ families.  It is supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans.  About 42% of the public support it and 46% oppose it.

Remember this one in about four more propositions.


Proposition 63

Topic: Guns.

Summary: Requires a permit and background check to purchase large-capacity ammunition, makes stealing any gun a felony, and enacts a court process to restrict firearms from prohibited individuals.  It is supported by Democrats and opposed by the NRA.  About 68% of the public support it.

Proposition 64

Topic: Weed (but not the kind in your lawn).

Summary:  Legalizes recreational marijuana for anyone over 21, and the tax revenue would be spent on drug research, treatment/enforcement, etc.  It is supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans.  About 59%  of the public support it.

Proposition 65

Topic: Grocery bags.

Summary: Redirects funds from the sale of carryout bags by grocery and other stores to a special fund administered by the Wildlife Conservation Board for environmental protection and conservation initiatives.  It is supported by Republicans.

Remember this one too.

Proposition 66

Topic: Death penalty, again.

Summary: Expedites the appeals process to shorten the length of legal challenges and changes the procedures governing appeals and petitions, among other minor adjustments to death row.  It is supported by Republicans and opposed by Democrats.  About 41% of the public support it with 31% undecided.

If Proposition 62 and 66 are both approved, then whichever with the most “yes” votes supersedes the other.

Proposition 67

Topic: Grocery bags, again.

Summary: Essentially bans plastic bags in large grocery stores and pharmacies (smaller stores follow suit the next year).  California would be the first to pass it at the state level.  It is supported by Democrats and Governor Brown.  About 45% of the public support it.

Same idea for this one.  If Proposition 65 receives more “yes” votes, then it will supersede Proposition 67.

So there you have it.  Together, all seventeen measures cover topics from gun rights to schools, so it really is important to know what is going on.  If you want to go further in depth with any proposition, here are some helpful links to check out.  Read up and Happy Election Day!

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