The California State Capitol building in Sacramento on April 18, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
By Sophie Li. Media: The Epoch Times.
In the upcoming Nov. 8 election, Californians are voting on seven propositions that will potentially lead to changes related to abortion, sports gambling, K–12 art and music education, healthcare, zero-emission vehicles, and flavored tobacco sales.
Over $730 million has been raised for either supporting or opposing these ballot initiatives, according to an Epoch Times estimate based on data released by the California Secretary of State.
Proposition 1: Abortion
The proposition would change the California Constitution to say the state cannot deny or interfere with a person’s decision whether to have an abortion and whether to use contraceptives. Regardless of whether or not the proposition is passed, such provisions already exist under other state laws and would remain as such, according to the state Legislative Analyst’s Office.
“This measure will ensure that women in our state have an inviolable right to a safe and legal abortion that is protected in our constitution,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement.
Opponents argue that abortion is already protected by existing law and that the proposition’s language could allow illegal late-term abortion, lead to more out-of-state patients, and increase the burden on California taxpayers.
Currently, state law only allows abortion to be performed before the fetus can survive outside the womb, unless the mother’s health or life is in danger.
Proposition 26: In-Person Sports Betting
The proposition would allow adults to participate in in-person sports betting at tribal casinos and racetracks under state regulations. It would require such businesses to pay the state a share of bets made and shoulder the cost of regulating betting activities. However, sports bets on high school and college games would remain prohibited.
Sports betting is currently banned in California. Existing laws only allow limited state lottery, cardrooms, horse racing betting, and tribal casinos.
Supporters said the proposition will further promote Indian self-reliance by creating jobs and generating revenues to fund education, healthcare, housing, and cultural preservation in tribal communities.
Opponents argue it would expand tribal casinos’ tax-free monopoly on gambling and lead to more underage gambling and addiction.
Proposition 27: Online Sports Betting
The proposition would allow licensed tribes and gambling companies to offer online sports betting. Revenues from the operation will go to state regulatory costs for betting activities, homelessness prevention, and tribal economic development.
Currently, sports betting—online or in-person—is illegal in California.
Supporters said the proposition can help better regulate the sports betting market, bring hundreds of millions of revenues to the state, and address homelessness.
Opponents argue that the proposition will largely legalize online and mobile gambling in the state and could lead to more gambling, addiction, and crime. American Indian tribal communities also argue that it would encourage non-tribal companies to enter the market of gambling.
Proposition 28: K–12 Arts, Music Education
The proposition would require the state to provide additional funding for arts and music programs in all K–12 public schools, including charter schools. Funds equal to one percent of the state and local funding that public schools received the year before would be directed toward classes including dance, media arts, music, theater, and photography.
Currently, elementary schools are required to provide such instructions while middle and high schools are required to offer them as electives.
The proposition is estimated to cost around $1 billion as California’s current education budget is $110 billion a year.
Supporters said art is not valued enough in the education system, and the lack of art teachers has left many students without the opportunity to participate in these activities.
No formal campaign is going against Proposition 28, but opponents argue that the initiative could disperse funding from programs that are more in need.
Proposition 29: Dialysis Clinics
The proposition would enact requirements for chronic dialysis clinics, including requiring a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant on-site during all treatment hours, requiring clinics to report dialysis-related infections to the California Department of Public Health, requiring clinics to inform both patients and the department who the owners are, and more.
Supporters of the proposition said that the initiative will improve service transparency and the quality of dialysis treatments for patients.
Opponents argue that requiring authorized medical practitioners on-site at all times will greatly increase operating costs for clinics, which could also hinder patients’ access to getting dialysis treatments.
According to an analysis by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, clinics could respond to the additional costs in several ways, such as operating at lower profits or at a loss, closing, or negotiating higher rates with payers—normally private health insurance companies or Medi-Cal plans.
Proposition 30: Tax to Fund Electric Vehicles, Wildfire Response
The proposition will require individuals with an annual income above $2 million to pay an extra 1.75 percent tax on the share of their income above the threshold, starting January 2023. The revenue will be used to fund zero-emission vehicle programs and wildfire response and prevention.
Currently, the state has budgeted $10 billion for zero-emission vehicle programs and has spent $4 billion on wildfire protection.
Supporters of the proposition said that it will help reduce air pollution caused by wildfire and gas vehicles and address environmental and public health issues.
Opponents argue that the extra tax will only worsen California’s income tax burden, currently the highest in the nation. Others also say the state’s electricity grid, without a substantial upgrade, could face rolling blackouts with the millions of electric vehicles to be added by the proposition.
Proposition 31: Flavored Tobacco Products
Proposition 31 is a referendum on a 2020 state law that would ban in-person retail and vending machines from selling most flavored tobacco products or tobacco product flavor enhancers. If passed, sellers would be fined $250 for each violation.
A “yes” vote on the proposition approves the law, which would ban the sale.
Supporters said that tobacco manufacturers are using candy-favored tobacco products to lure the younger generation into smoking, which could lead to a lifelong addiction to nicotine.
Opponents argue that existing law already prohibits selling any tobacco product to individuals under the age of 21. They also say the proposition could worsen the underground tobacco market and increase crime.