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Voter Guide 2012

October 10, 2012
By

Illustration, Your Vote Counts, Laura Anderson, 2012

On Nov. 6 you will vote for the next President of the United States, U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative. The biggest changes will be here in California. There are 20 State Senate and 80 State Assembly seats up for election. This means that there will be at least 37 new members of the state legislature, 1/3 of the entire legislature. School board candidates will also be on the ballot.

Nov. 6 ballot propositions

Each proposition is a proposal to enact a new law or constitutional amendment, or repeal an existing law or constitutional amendment. The decision is made by a popular vote of citizens. Only 24 states allow this process.

What is an initiative?

An initiative is a proposal of a new law or constitutional amendment that is eligible to be placed on the ballot when supporters gather a required minimum number of petition signatures.

What is a referendum?

A referendum is a proposal to repeal a law that was previously enacted by the legislature with the same petition requirements as an initiative. Ten initiatives and one referendum will be on your ballot on Nov. 6. You can learn more about them when you receive your Official Voter Information Guide by mail or see it at your local library. From July 24 through Aug. 13, you can also view all arguments submitted for or against ballot measures at the website of the Secretary of State.

Tax increase initiatives

Prop. 30 Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. “Governor Jerry Brown’s Tax Increase.” Proponent: Thomas A. Willis c/o Karen Getman (510) 346-6200. Increases personal income tax on people earning over $250,000 for 7 years. Increases sales tax by 1/4 cent per dollar for four years. Allocates 89% of revenues to K-12 schools and 11% to community colleges. Bars use of funds for administrative costs, but allows local school governing boards to decide, in open meetings and subject to annual audit, how funds are to be spent. Realigns funding for public safety services from state to local governments.
Increases your taxes or fees—Yes
Directly impacts programs for children and families—Yes

Prop. 38 Tax for Education and Early Childhood Programs. Initiative Statute. “Molly Munger’s State Income Tax Increase.” Proponents: Molly Munger, Roberta B. Johansen, James C. Harrison c/o Remcho, Johansen & Purcell, LLP (510) 346-6200. Increases personal income tax rates for people earning over $7,316—using a sliding scale from .4% for lowest individual earners to 2.2% for individuals earning over $2.5 million, ending after 12 years. During first four years, 60% of revenues would go to K-12 schools, 30% to repaying state debt and 10% to early childhood programs. Thereafter, the measure allocates 85% of revenues to K-12 schools and 15% to early childhood programs. Provides K-12 funds on school specific, perpupil basis, subject to local control, audits and public input. Prohibits state from directing or using new funds.
Increases your taxes or fees—Yes
Directly impacts children—Yes

Other initiatives

Prop. 39 Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding. Initiative Statute. Changes some rules about how multistate businesses are taxed.
Increases your taxes or fees—No
Directly impacts children—Yes. Increased revenues would, in part, support the Prop. 98 minimum funding guarantee for schools.

Prop. 33 Changes Law to Allow Auto Insurance Companies to Set Prices Based on a Driver’s History of Insurance Coverage. Initiative Statute.
Increases your taxes or fees—Yes. It may change the cost of your automobile insurance.
Directly impacts children—Yes

Prop. 35 Human Trafficking. Penalties. Sex Offender Registration. Initiative Statute. Increases criminal penalties for human trafficking, including prison sentences up to 15-years-to life and fines up to $1.5 million. Fines collected would be used for victim services and law enforcement. Requires person convicted of trafficking to register as sex offender. Requires sex offenders to provide information regarding Internet access. Prohibits evidence that victim engaged in sexual conduct from being used against victim in court proceedings. Requires human trafficking training for police officers.
Increases your taxes or fees—No
Directly impacts children—Yes. Requires more information from sex offenders regarding Internet activities and increases criminal penalties for human trafficking.

Prop. 37 Genetically Engineered Foods. Mandatory Labeling. Initiative Statute.
Increases your taxes or fees—No
Directly impacts children—No. But changes to the labeling requirement of certain foods would provide more information for parents.

Prop. 40 Redistricting. State Senate Districts. Referendum. State Senate districts are revised every 10 years following the federal census. This year, the voter-approved California Citizens Redistricting Commission revised the boundaries of the 40 Senate districts. This measure would require voters to approve these new boundaries by voting for or against the Commission’s plan. Court-appointed officials would set the boundaries between now and the election.
Increases your taxes or fees—No
Directly impacts children—No

Prop. 31 State Budget. State and Local Government Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. Creates a 2-year budget cycle.
Increases your taxes or fees—No
Directly impacts programs for children and families—No

Prop. 32 Prohibits Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Prohibitions on Contributions to Candidates.
Increases your taxes or fees—No
Directly impacts programs for children and families—No

Prop. 34 Death Penalty Repeal. End the Death Penalty
Increase your taxes or fees—No
Directly impacts children—No

Prop. 36 Three Strikes Law. Sentencing for Repeat Felony Offenders. Repeals the Three Strikes law.
Increase your taxes or fees—No
Directly impacts children—No