General election: four ballot insiders qualify

A voter drops off a ballot at the Fresno County Election drive-thru station June 7 in downtown Fresno.

A voter drops off a ballot at the Fresno County Election drive-thru station June 7 in downtown Fresno.

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California’s general election poll probably isn’t over, but the big money and attack announcements are swirling around the four questions that have qualified for the places in November so far.

California voters will be asked to make decisions on the environment, sports betting, tobacco bans and funding for the arts in schools.

Four ballot proposals – three initiatives and a referendum – qualified for the general election, and support and opposition organizations raised tens of millions of dollars. The internet is flooded with attack advertisements and supporting websites.

Other proposals are gaining signatures and support. Initiatives – new laws or constitutional amendments, must be qualified by June 30. Referendums — actions to approve or reject existing or proposed state laws — can be added to the ballot up to 31 days before the general election.

Here’s what should currently be on your ballot on November 8.

A battle over single-use plastics

Environmental and public health groups are pushing for California’s Recycling and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, which would require single-use plastic packaging and food tableware will be reusable, recyclable or compostable within the next 18 years. The measure would also ban polystyrene food containers and fund recycling programs.

“We are in a plastic pollution crisis,” said Jay Ziegler, director of policy and external affairs for The Nature Conservancy in California.

“Basically, more and more research shows plastics almost everywhere in the environment. Today in California, when plastics make up, by volume, about 12% of our overall waste stream, it’s the most complicated, unregulated loophole that’s being exploited to increase consumption.

The Nature Conservancy joins other organizations including Oceana, Ocean Conservancy, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Californians Against Waste to campaign for the measure.

He faces massive opposition from the business sector, which has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars. Joshua Baca, vice president of plastics at the American Chemistry Council, told the LA Times he expected the initiative to cost producers and distributors nearly $4.3 million. annually.

Strong corporate backlash scuttled the proposed legislation, Ziegler said. November will test who the general public sides with.

In November, a “Yes” vote will support a policy that would limit single-use plastic packaging. A “No” vote would violate this policy.

Bases loaded with sports betting initiatives

Four years after the Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on sports betting, multiple parties are competing for dominance in the lucrative industry.

A proposal already on the ballot, the California Legalize Sports Betting on American Indian Lands Initiative, would grant control to tribal casinos in the state. The Pechanga, Barona, Agua Caliente and Yocha Dehe tribes introduced the measure in late 2019. It would allow any Native American tribe to operate in-person sports betting on tribal lands. According to Politico, $31 million has already been spent on support, $26 million against.

Competitors are challenging a provision that would allow casinos to sue gaming centers that are not on tribal land, such as card rooms, for failing to comply with the law.

An initiative that has not yet been officially qualified would strengthen online platforms.

Ja California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act would requiring companies wishing to enter the industry to pay a $100 million fee. Eighty-five percent of remaining tax and license revenue after regulatory costs would go to homelessness assistance programs, 15 percent to non-gaming tribes.

In November, a “Yes” vote on California’s initiative to legalize sports betting on Native American lands would support the legalization of sports betting on tribal lands; it would also allow dice and roulette games in tribal casinos. A “no” vote would support the current law, in which it is illegal.

Repeal the ban on flavored tobacco

California Democrats passed SB 793, a ban on flavored tobacco products, two years ago. The industry, however, mobilized, collecting enough signatures to organize a referendum on the November ballot.

The driving force behind the campaign is the inoffensively named California Coalition for Equity, supported by tobacco giants like RJ Reynolds. Because the measure is a referendum, SB 793 was suspended immediately after qualifying for the ballot in late January, leaving voters to decide in November whether or not the ban will continue.

The Coalition notes that the products banned by the bill are alternatives to FDA-cleared cigarettes and that the ban would cause “lasting damage to the harm reduction goals of tobacco.”

“SB 793 criminalizes the sale of menthol cigarettes favored by people of color and creates special exemptions for products favored by the wealthy – allowing the sale of expensive flavored cigars and pipe tobacco, in addition to hookah, to remain legal” , the Coalition wrote in a press release.

According to the California Secretary of State’s website, the coalition spent just over a quarter of a million dollars between January 1 and March 31 of this year. The group grossed $14.6 million in total contributions during the same period.

In contrast, the Committee to Protect California Kids, funded primarily by nonprofit health organizations, spent $1.3 million during that time. He has just over $67,600 in total contributions.

On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom, who signed SB 793 into law, urged Californians to fight its repeal.

“Big Tobacco targeted our children, trying to hook our children on tobacco products, literally killing a generation,” Newsom said in a video.

In November, a “yes” vote would mean keeping the ban, while a “no” vote would support repealing the ban.

Arts in Schools Funding

Californians for Arts and Music Education in Public Schools, a coalition that lobbies for increased arts funding statewide, advocates for the California Art and Music K-12 Education Funding Initiative. If passed, it would provide more than $900 million a year for K-12 arts and music education.

Proponents point out that the proposal would not raise taxes. The money would come directly from the state’s general fund, which is sitting on an unprecedented surplus. Proponents also point out that the funds would be allocated strategically, with more diversion to schools with high proportions of black and Latino students.

“We won’t move any other expenses,” said Austin Beutner, architect of the measure and former superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. “Currently in California, that’s a big thing because a lot of people are feeling the pressure. We’re seeing headlines about inflation and the pressures in people’s wallets. It allows us to help kids without raising taxes. .

The initiative is backed by a range of actors, musicians and business people, from CEOs to Katy Perry. Unlike other initiatives on the table in November, this one did not generate significant public opposition.

“In Los Angeles Unified, I visited literally hundreds of schools and always asked what I could do to help,” Beutner said. “Invariably, near the top of everyone’s list, whether it’s a school family, a school student or a teacher, they’ve said ‘we need more ‘arts and music’.

In November, a “Yes” vote would support an increase in arts funding. A “No” vote would not.

Here’s what could also make the cut

Other proposals have attracted significant support, but have not yet been officially qualified. Here are a few:

Minimum wage: Six years after the legislature voted to gradually raise California’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, a proposed ballot initiative would raise it to $18 over the next four years. It was filed by investor Joe Sanberg and is backed by former Congresswoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher.

The campaign has raised more than $10 million, and in May its sponsors reported surpassing one million signatures. But for $18 an hour to land on the November ballot, those signatures will need to be verified within the next two weeks.

Repeal PAGA: News broke Thursday that the Supreme Court has limited the scope of the Private Attorney General Act, the key piece of California worker protection law. Lawmakers are expected to come to the defense of PAGA, but a campaign is brewing in favor of California’s Employee Civil Action Act and PAGA Repeal Initiative, which would abolish PAGA altogether.

The effort is led by pro-business organizations, including the California Chamber of Commerce. He will likely face retaliation from labor organizations and trade unions, which support PAGA. The referendum has collected more than enough signatures, but is not yet qualified.

Wealth tax : Lyft, the California State Association for Electrical Workers, and California Environmental Voters are backing a proposed income tax increase for people with personal incomes over $2 million.

The increased revenue would go to wildfire prevention as well as subsidies and infrastructure supporting zero-emission vehicles. Lyft alone has already donated more than $8 million to the initiative, which had more than 900,000 signatures by mid-May.

Owen Tucker-Smith is a summer reporting intern at the Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Bureau. He is a student at Yale University, where he studies statistics and is editor of the Yale Daily News.

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