2008 General Election California Initiative Summary
Thomas McMorrowMcKay S. Carney
In two weeks, Californians will go to the polls and vote for a new president, their legislative representatives in Washington and Sacramento and whether 12 ballot initiatives governing everything from the future of high speed rail in California to enacting a Constitutional protection for gay marriage will pass or fail. We summarize the 12 initiatives on the November 4, 2008, ballot for you below, and identify significant supporters and opponents of each initiative.
PROPOSITION 1A -- SAFE, RELIABLE HIGH-SPEED PASSENGER TRAIN BOND ACT
Proposition 1A would provide nearly $10 billion of the initial cost to build a high-speed rail link between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco would take approximately two and a half hours with fares currently being estimated at $55 each way.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Sierra Club and the Consumer Federation of California all support Proposition 1A, arguing that California would benefit from building high speed rail to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, help efforts to curb climate change and create new jobs.
Opponents such as the California Chamber of Commerce and Jarvis Taxpayers’ Association argue that Proposition 1A will add to California’s mounting debt and make California’s unresolved budget crisis even worse and, therefore, is fiscally irresponsible at this time.
PROPOSITION 2 -- STANDARDS FOR CONFINING FARM ANIMALS
Proposition 2 would require that calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs should be in cages or pens that allow them to stand up and turn around. Proposition 2 has generated national attention with Oprah dedicating an entire show to the issue this month.
Supporters such as the Humane Society of the United States and the Consumer Federation of America argue that Proposition 2 would stop cruel and inhumane treatment of animals.
Opponents like the California Farm Bureau and the California Small Business Association argue that the initiative is unnecessary and would close farms and boost egg prices in already tough economic times.
PROPOSITION 3 -- CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL BOND ACT
Proposition 3 would authorize $980 million in state bonds for construction, expansion and renovation of children's hospitals. Further spending requirements in the measure designate that 80 percent of bond proceeds should go to hospitals that focus on children with illnesses such as leukemia, cancer, heart defects, diabetes, sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis.
Sponsored by the California Children's Hospital Association and supported by a wide range of policy, consumer, business and political organizations, the Yes on Proposition on 3 campaign argues that California’s hospitals dedicated to children are chronically underfunded and need an injection of state funding to modernize their facilities to be able to continue to provide quality care.
Opponents to Proposition 3, including the American Conservative Union, People's Advocates and the National Tax Limitation Union, argue that the initiative is targeted to benefit a single private sector special interest – childrens’ hospitals – at the expense of other healthcare providers fighting for public funding and that the state cannot afford over a billion dollars in debt and debt service at a time of fiscal crisis.
PROPOSITION 4 -- WAITING PERIOD AND PARENTAL NOTIFICATION BEFORE TERMINATION OF MINOR’S PREGNANCY
Among the most controversial initiatives on this years’ ballot, Proposition 4 would require notification of a parent or guardian and a 48-hour waiting period before a minor can receive an abortion. This election marks the third time in the last four years a parental notification initiative has appeared on the state ballot.
Supported by Parents Right to Know California and the Knights of Columbus, sponsors of the initiative argue that minors should not receive medical care without parental involvement.
The opposition includes the California Nurses Association, the California Teachers Association and the League of Women Voters of California. Opponents argue that Proposition 4 is a repetitive attempt by anti-abortion interests to change California’s current legal protections for choice.
PROPOSITION 5 -- NONVIOLENT DRUG OFFENSES. SENTENCING, PAROLE AND REHABILITATION
Proposition 5 would provide $460 million a year for drug treatment programs, limit judges' ability to jail some drug offenders and shorten parole for some offenses.
Supporters contend that more drug rehabilitation will keep young people out of prison and will subsequently reduce prison expenses. Supporters include the California Labor Federation and the California Academy of Family Physicians.
Opponents, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the California District Attorneys Association, argue that Proposition 5 is simply a “get out of jail free card” for certain drug offenders and other criminals.
PROPOSITION 6 -- POLICE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT FUNDING
Proposition 6 would require that the state fund a minimum of $965 million for local law enforcement and also would toughen laws on gang activity.
Supporters, including the California Police Chiefs Association and Crime Victims United, argue that local law enforcement is underfunded and that the proposed tougher anti-gang laws and penalties will ultimately result in safer streets.
Opponents, including San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums and the California Teachers Association, argue that Proposition 6 would result in longer prison terms for certain offenses and result in the need for more prison capacity in California at a time when California doesn’t have the money to increase spending on prisons.
PROPOSITION 7 -- RENEWABLE ENERGY GENERATION
Proposition 7 would require all utilities to generate 20 percent of their power from renewable energy by 2010 and 50 percent by 2025.
Supporters such as Californian's for Solar and Clean Energy and former State Senate President John Burton argue that the renewable mandates outlined in Proposition 7 will advance environmental protections, while also protecting California's commitment to green energy and related technologies.
Opponents of Proposition 7, including the California League of Conservation Voters and the League of California Cities, argue that Proposition 7 will disrupt California’s current path to increased use of renewable energy because the measure will complicate existing laws meant to advance renewable energy and result in delays to the building of renewable power plants in the state.
PROPOSITION 8 -- ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME–SEX COUPLES TO MARRY
Proposition 8 would change the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.
Supporters, including the California Catholic Conference, American Family Association and Traditional Values Coalition, argue that marriage should only be allowed between one man and one woman.
Opponents including Marriage Equality USA, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Civil Liberties Union argue that Proposition 8 should be rejected to protect the civil rights of gay and lesbian couples by ensuring their right to marry on the same basis as heterosexual couples’ right to marry in the state.
PROPOSITION 9 -- CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM–VICTIMS’ RIGHTS
Proposition 9 would allow victims to be involved in most criminal proceedings, establishing victim safety as a consideration for parole and cutting the number of parole hearings a prisoner is entitled to.
Supporters such as Crime Victims United and Parents of Murdered Children argue that victims' rights too often are secondary to criminals' rights in the criminal justice process and that Proposition 9 will help address this concern.
Opponents, including the include California Labor Federation and the ACLU of Northern California, argue that Proposition 9 is unnecessary and would increase prison overcrowding, costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars that the state doesn’t have given its fiscal woes.
PROPOSITION 10 -- ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLES AND RENEWABLE ENERGY
Proposition 10 would require that the state fund $5 billion to help consumers and others purchase certain high fuel economy or alternative fuel vehicles, including natural gas vehicles, and to fund research into alternative fuel technology.
Supporters include T. Boone Pickens and his Clean Energy Fuels Corp, both of which argue that California needs to promote renewable energy when setting budget priorities.
Opponents include the California Labor Federation, The Utility Reform Network and the Consumer Federation of California, each of which argues that Proposition 10 is a thinly veiled effort to create a state budget mandate that will ultimately favor Mr. Pickens and his commitment to advancing natural gas-powered transportation.
PROPOSITION 11 -- REDISTRICTING
Proposition 11 would require that State Assembly, Senate, and Board of Equalization district boundaries be drawn by a new, independent 14 member commission rather than the state Legislature.
Supporters, including the League of Women Voters, AARP, California Common Cause and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, argue that Proposition 11 will create a less partisan political environment by taking the responsibility for the decennial redistricting process from the state Legislature and giving it to a new 14 member commission.
Opponents include the California Democratic Party, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the California Correctional Peace Officers, who argue that the current redistricting process does not need to be changed in this way.
PROPOSITION 12 -- VETERANS’ BOND ACT OF 2008
Proposition 12 would designate $900 million for veterans housing and farm bonds by extending the CalVet loan program, which has been operating in the state since 1921.
Supporters include Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a bipartisan coalition of state elected officials and the California Labor Federation, all of whom argue that the program should be funded for the benefit of new veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
There is no organized opposition campaign for Proposition 12.
Thomas R. McMorrow is the Partner in charge of the Sacramento office. He is called upon most frequently to provide strategic thinking and effective advocacy in solving complex legislative and governance problems discreetly for clients. Mr. McMorrow is honored to have been named by his peers as one of the five most effective private sector lawyers practicing before the California State Government.
McKay S. Carney practices in the Government and Regulatory group where she provides legislative advocacy support to senior lobbyists in the Sacramento Office. Additionally, she is responsible for identifying key legislation of impact for a broad range of clients and issues. She regularly advises clients regarding the California business climate and political issues.
PLEASE NOTE: This newsletter is not meant to express any legal opinion or advice. You should consult an attorney for legal advice. COPYRIGHT 2008 by Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. All rights reserved. Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, 1215 K Street, Suite 1900 Sacramento, CA 95814. Phone: (916) 552.2300; Fax: (916) 552.2323; website: www.manatt.com.
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