SAN DIEGO — Voters across California will have their say on 11 different ballot propositions this November, with issues on the table ranging from cash bail and affirmative action to the ongoing feud between gig economy apps like Uber and the state government.
Read a short summary of each issue below. You can click on the name of each proposition to view its full text, and on the name of listed campaigns or groups for more on their arguments.
Prop 14 would issue $5.5 billion in general obligation bonds for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which was created by Prop 71 in 2004 to fund stem cell research.
Californians for Stem Cell Research, Treatments & Cures is leading the proposition’s campaign. Proponents say stem cell therapies found through their research can help patients suffering from chronic disease and injury, but that the institute will be forced to scale down its work without new funding.
Opponents of the bill include Marcy Darnovsky, who leads the Center for Genetics and Society. She and others argue that the institute was created when there were still federal limits on stem cell research funding, but now there are private and federal groups doing the work too, and that the institute lacks proper oversight for its use of public funds.
Prop 15 would require commercial and industrial properties, with exceptions for commercial agriculture, to be taxed based on their market value (as opposed to purchase price, like residential properties). Revenue would go to schools and local governments.
Yes on 15 is leading the proposition’s campaign. They say the change in tax code would help fund underserved schools, repair infrastructure and provide better public services. Some supporters argue too many companies have artificially low property taxes because of the year they bought and that others use loopholes to avoid increases.
No on Prop 15 is leading the opposition. They say the recession brought on by COVID-19 makes it an especially bad time to increase property taxes for business owners. Some opponents argue higher rates will make running a company in the state too expensive and drive away the creation of new jobs.
Prop 16 would repeal a proposition passed in 1996, which banned the use of affirmative action in decisions about public employment, public education and public contracting. Read the exact language of Prop 209 here.
Yes on Prop 16 is leading the proposition’s campaign. They argue affirmative action is a tool to help stop discriminatory hiring or admissions practices, which they say have helped create disparities like the gender wage gap or the underrepresentation of Latinos in the state’s UC system. Some supporters say affirmative action gives women and people of color a “level playing field.”
No on 16 is leading the opposition. They argue that affirmative action is discrimination and that laws should require “equal treatment” by not allowing decisions to be made on the basis of race, sex, ethnicity or other similar factors. Some opponents say outreach and recruitment strategies are a better way to ensure diversity in public institutions.
Proposition 17 would allow people on parole for felony convictions to vote.
Yes on 17 is leading the proposition’s campaign. They argue that tens of thousands of Californians have completed prison sentences and can’t vote “even though they are raising families, holding jobs paying taxes, and contributing to society.”
State Sen. Jim Nielsen is one public official opposed to the proposition. He and other opponents argue that felonies are severe crimes, and that parole is part of the process for a person making “full restitution” before rejoining society.
Prop 18 would allow 17-year-olds who will turn 18 by the next general election to vote in primary and special elections beforehand.
One public official supporting the proposition is California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. Supporters argue that young people are put at a disadvantage in elections when they can’t participate in selecting their party’s candidate or “submit their most educated vote” in the general.
One group opposing the proposition is Election Integrity Project California. They argue that 17-year-olds are legal minors, and are likely living at home and going to high school, where their votes can be influenced by teachers and parents. Some opponents say there are still ways for teens to get involved in politics before 18.
Prop 19 would change the rules for tax assessment transfers by homeowners, removing some location limitations and increasing the number of times a person can transfer their assessment, but also limiting the ways inherited homes can be used at the transferred rate. Revenue would go to wildfire agencies.
The non-partisan BallotPedia has a helpful breakdown of the different situations the transfers would apply to residents.
Yes on 19 is leading the campaign for the proposition. They say the proposition will remove “unfair, ever-changing” location restrictions, helping people move closer to family when they need to, while also delivering funding to areas for wildfire protections.
The editorial boards of the Orange County Register and Los Angeles Times opposed the measure in their election endorsements. The Times article argues that expanding transfers gives tax breaks to homeowners already benefiting from existing tax codes. The Register article argues the proposition is a “special interest measure” benefiting the firefighters union and real estate interests.
Prop 20 would make a series of changes to the criminal justice system, including making more crimes chargeable as a felony, adding to a list of violent felonies where early parole is restricted and requiring DNA collection for certain misdemeanors.
Keep California Safe is leading the proposition’s campaign. They say the measure “protects victims” and “fixes flaws” in the way California classifies crimes, which they believe allows too many violent offenses to carry less severe punishments.
Former California Gov. Jerry Brown is one prominent opponent of the measure. He and others have argued the measure would increase the prison population, which they believe is already overcrowded, and leave some offenders “no chance to earn their way back to society.”
Proposition 21 would expand the ability of local governments to use rent control measures with certain properties.
Yes on 21 is leading the proposition’s campaign. They argue that Californians’ wages have been stagnant while their rents have “increased astronomically.” The campaign and other supporters say California faces a severe lack of affordable housing and giving local governments control to limit rises in rent is crucial.
No on Prop 21 is leading the opposition. They argue that rent control policies “discourage new construction and reduce availability” of housing, which they argue will increase rents more than decrease it. They also say Prop 21 offers “no plan to build affordable and middle-class housing.”
Prop 22 is a result of the battle between certain app-based industries like ridesharing and the state government. It would allow app-based drivers (think: Uber, Lyft and DoorDash) to be considered independent contractors. Read more background on the issue here.
Yes on 22 is leading the proposition’s campaign. They say more than 80% of drivers work less than 20 hours a week, and the flexibility of being a contractor makes it possible to handle other jobs or family obligations. They say the proposition addresses existing concerns by providing new health care benefits and minimum earnings guarantees.
No on 22 is leading the opposition. They say that app companies would get an “unfair special exemption” from laws that ensure workers get “basic benefits and protections” such as sick leave and unemployment insurance. They say workers aren’t well-compensated for their time and Prop 22 offers “watered down” protections.
Prop 23 introduces new requirements for chronic dialysis clinics, including having an on-site physician, reporting certain data and getting permission from the state health department to close a clinic.
Yes on 23 is leading the proposition’s campaign. They argue the measure will improve the quality of care for dialysis patients and that “corporations are making billions in profits” despite what they say are rising costs for patients.
No on 23 is leading the opposition. They say the proposition “puts dialysis patients’ lives at risk” because the increased costs and doctor required on site would force some clinics to close, despite the physician “not (being) involved in patient care.”
Prop 24 would expand the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 in a number of ways, affecting how businesses are allowed to share consumers’ information, and would create a new regulatory agency.
Yes on 24 is leading the proposition’s campaign. They argue that “giant corporations” should be limited in how they collect and sell personal information about “our kids, health finances, race and even (track) our location.” They say the measure will “take back … fundamental privacy rights.”
No on Prop 24 is leading the opposition. They argue that small businesses have already spent “billions of dollars” complying with the 2018 law and that the state should wait to see if more change is necessary. Critics also say creating a new regulatory agency is costly and onerous.
Passing Prop 25 would uphold a contested piece of legislation that replaces the cash bail system with risk assessments made by the court on whether someone should be kept in jail while they wait for trial.
Yes on 25 is leading the proposition’s campaign. They argue that “safety, not money” should determine whether a person must stay in jail before they go to trial. They say that the current system “makes it a crime to be poor” for people who can’t afford bail, and argue cash bail wastes money by keeping people in jail who they believe a court would decide to release.
No on Prop 25 is leading the opposition. They say that police will be burdened if offenders are able to avoid jail and then commit another crime while they await trial, or if they don’t show back up for court and have to be found. They also argue that the risk assessments will over-rely on computer algorithms, which they say will be “racially biased” or otherwise flawed.