BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
This is my third and final piece covering the 17 ballot measures California’s voters will have to decide on when they cast their ballots in the November 8 election. These six propositions cover matters of governance and policy. You can check last week’s article for a table that lists all the measures and my recommendations – yes or no.
Prop 54 is a tough one. It changes the rules to prohibit legislators from passing any law if the text has not been available (in print and on the internet) for at least 72 hours. The problem being addressed is the legislature’s practice known as “gut and amend” whereby a totally unrelated bill that is not going anywhere is completely “refilled” with a new law. For example, a bill proposing to change California’s state flag could become a plan to build a new road. This effectively prevents citizen input. If this change is approved, it would enable big-money special interests to use their “purchasing power” to block otherwise good legislation by giving them time to lobby the lawmakers. But since the League of Women Voters supports this measure, and I have found their judgments to be mostly correct. Vote YES on 54.
Prop 58 impacts the Armenian community, as such. It is a partial remedy to the bad policy from the 1990s of teaching English to children who are non-native speakers ONLY through immersion. This measure gives school districts and parents the option of providing part of a child’s instruction in their native language while teaching her/him English. Vote YES on 58.
Prop 59 is not binding. It won’t become law even when it passes. It simply would convey California voters’ desire for state legislators to use their authority to propose and ratify a United States constitutional amendment that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous “Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission” decision. What that decision did was to remove all limits on political spending by corporations and unions. It was a very bad decision, and the disheartening state of this year’s election is partially a result of that decision. Vote YES on 59.
Prop 60 may seem silly at first blush to many people. It requires actors in adult films to use condoms. But instances of AIDS transmission have been recorded in those settings. Some jurisdictions already have such requirements. It seems like a minor issue, but because there is a significant amount of production in California, some people are afraid that this law, if passed, would lead to the business moving to other states. But doing the right thing in the realm of public health is more important. Vote YES on 60.
Prop 65 is about plastic bags. Those who put this measure on the ballot seem to want to create confusion over the banning of plastic bags. They make ridiculous claims about the money charged for reusable bags. They pretend to be environmentally friendly by requiring that the money collected by selling reusable bags should go to the state into an ill-defined environmental fund for unclear use. This proposition is probably the sneakiest, most underhanded, of the 17 on the ballot It just creates confusion, especially since another plastic bag ban measure is also on the ballot. Vote NO on 65.
Prop 67 is the result of the efforts of forces who oppose a ban on the use of single-use plastic bags by large grocery stores. This one can be very confusing, so please read carefully. The state legislature and governor had enacted a law banning the bags in question (you know, the ones flying around the freeways and “decorating” our trees and streets). But, people opposed to this ban spent a lot of money gathering signatures to put a “referendum” on the ballot. As a result, the state law had to be “put on hold” until people could vote on the referendum which essentially says the same thing as the law that was already passed. Prop 67 is that referendum. Now, if we don’t vote to pass Prop 67, then the state law is also eliminated. That’s what the interests opposed to the bag ban are hoping will happen. They are hoping that with two bag-related measures on the ballot, voters will throw up their hands in disgust and vote against both, leaving us in the same mess we were some three years ago. Let’s show these connivers that we won’t fall for their ploy because we don’t want more garbage in our air water, and soil, especially when it can be avoided so easily. Vote YES on 67.
Local ballot measures coming next week. Remember to vote, vote, vote!