For a more in depth discussion of Proposition 5, and the ten other initiatives on the ballot this November you can watch the forum in its entirety on YouTube or read the full analyses here. And keep your eyes peeled on The CAP⋅impact Podcast’s feed on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, or wherever you get your podcasts from for analysis of this year’s ballot initiatives in your headphones coming next week.

Proposition 5: Property Tax Transfer

Current Law

  • California allows homeowners who are over the age of 55, disaster victims, or individuals with severe disabilities to sell their residence and transfer the property tax to a new home.
  • However, there are a number of restrictions.
    • This property tax transfer can only be done once.
    • In most situations the transfer must be within the same county. However, if the Board of Supervisors of the receiving country allows inter-county transfers, then an individual can transfer their property tax to another county.
    • The replacement property is required to be of equal or lesser value.

Proposed Law

  • Proposition 5 would amend these restrictions for homeowners who are over the age of 55, disaster victims, or individuals with severe disabilities.
    • Removes the cap on number of times a property tax can be transferred.
    • A property tax could be transferred anywhere in the state.
    • The replacement property could be worth more than the original home.

Policy Considerations

Yes on Proposition 5 No on Proposition 5
  • By giving seniors an incentive to move, Prop. 5 will increase economic activity and open up much needed housing.
  • Seniors and individuals with severe disabilities cannot move out of inadequate housing due to the tax penalty they might face.
  • Disaster victims cannot move out of the county without facing a property tax penalty.
  • Annual property tax losses for cities, counties, and special districts of around $150 million in the near term, growing over time to $1 billion or more per year (in today’s dollars).
  • Annual property tax losses for schools of around $150 million per year in the near term, growing over time to $1 billion or more per year (in today’s dollars).
  • Increase in state costs for schools of an equivalent amount in most years.

Analysis of Proposition 5 provided by John Knobel and Meghan Shiner.

For a more in depth discussion of Proposition 12, and the ten other initiatives on the ballot this November you can watch the forum in its entirety on YouTube or read the full analyses here. And keep your eyes peeled on The CAP⋅impact Podcast’s feed on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, or wherever you get your podcasts from for analysis of this year’s ballot initiatives in your headphones coming next week.

Proposition 12 – Standards for Confinement of Specified Farm Animals; Bans Sale of Noncomplying Products

Current Law

  • California’s laws on animal cruelty are extensive, covering a wide range of behaviors and types of animals.
  • These concerns led to Proposition 12’s predecessor, Proposition 2 (2008), which targeted the treatment of farm animals.
  • Proposition 2 did not provide specific size requirements for the confinement of farm animals. The only standard it created was that farm animals “must be able to turn around freely, lie down, stand up and extend their limbs.”

Proposed Law

  • Proposition 12 amends the California Health and Safety Code and would address issues Proposition 2 did not address.
  • Proposition 12 sets specific space requirements for the confinement of egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and calves raised for veal. These would be phased in over several years.
  • Starting in 2020, egg-laying hens would be required to have 1 square foot of floor space, and calves raised for veal would be required to have 43 square feet of floor space. Starting in 2022, egg-laying hens must be in cage-free housing, and breeding pigs would be required to have 24 square feet of floor space.
  • Proposition 12 would prohibit businesses from knowingly selling eggs, liquid eggs, uncooked pork, or veal that come from animals that are housed in ways that do not meet the new requirements.
  • Proposition 12 also provides two key changes to enforcement:
    • It requires the California Department of Food and Agriculture promulgate rules and regulations for the implementation of the act by September 1, 2019.
    • It provides that any person in violation of the act is guilty of a misdemeanor and is to be punished either by imprisonment or by paying a fine not to exceed $1000.

Policy Considerations

Yes on Proposition 12 No on Proposition 12
  • A YES vote means farmers would be required to provide more space for egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and veal calves.
  • California businesses would be banned from selling eggs or uncooked pork or veal that came from animals housed in ways that did not meet these requirements.
  • Prop 12 is a necessary step towards ending cruelty against farm animals.
  • Prop 12 will reduce risk of food poisoning, lead to job growth, and sensibly strengthen anti-cruelty laws put forward by prior law.
  • A NO vote means the current law relating to space and businesses selling animal products remain the same.
  • Proposition 12 is deceiving voters because it would actually prolong the suffering of animals rather than relieve it.
  • California was supposed to be “cage-free” in 2015, and Proposition 12 simply prolongs the suffering of egg-laying hens since it extends the deadline to comply with the law.
  • Based on the language of the proposed standards, Proposition 12 will actually result in smaller confinement spaces rather than larger spaces.

Analysis of Proposition 12 provided by Anna Lisa Thomas and Kevin Bursey.

For a more in depth discussion of Proposition 7, and the ten other initiatives on the ballot this November you can watch the forum in its entirety on YouTube or read the full analyses here. And keep your eyes peeled on The CAP⋅impact Podcast’s feed on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, or wherever you get your podcasts from for analysis of this year’s ballot initiatives in your headphones coming next week.

Proposition 7: Daylight Saving Time

Current Law

  • In 1949, California voters adopted Proposition 12 an initiative titled “An Act Providing For Daylight Saving Time in the State of California.”
  • The key provisions established United States Standard Pacific Time as standard time within the state and provided that time advance one hour during a period from the last Sunday in April until the last Sunday in September.
  • The United States Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966 to create daylight saving time nationwide, which effectively replaced the existing California law.
  • Currently under federal law, daylight saving time starts the second Sunday in March and ends the first Sunday in November.
  • Despite this fact that the existing language in the California Government Code still says that daylight saving time ends on the last Sunday in September, daylight saving time in California ends the first Sunday in November as required by federal law.
  • California’s current daylight saving time law, Daylight Saving Time Act of 1949, does not allow the California legislature to update the language in the current statute or ask the federal government to stop the twice per year time change with voter approval.

Proposed Law

  • The repeal of the Daylight Saving Time Act would allow the legislature to control changes to daylight saving because the voter initiative would be replaced by the proposed legislative initiative and no longer require voter approval to any daylight saving changes.
  • Proposition 7 updates California’s daylight saving time dates to be consistent with the federal Uniform Time Act.
  • Proposition 7 gives the California Legislature the power to ask Congress to allow California to go onto daylight saving time all year. The Legislature would need a two-thirds (2/3) vote to ask the federal government if California can change to have full-time daylight saving time, rather than changing the clocks in March and November.

Policy Considerations

Yes on Proposition 7 No on Proposition 7
  • Would allow the Legislature to update the current daylight saving language and to ask the federal government to have daylight saving time all year.
  • Does not guarantee that California would be able to stop changing the clocks because the Legislature may not ask the federal government for all year daylight saving time, or the federal government could say no.
  • The Legislature would not have to ask the voters for permission to change daylight saving laws in the future.
  • Would not change anything because California must follow the federal government’s daylight saving time rules.
  • The existing nonconforming language in the California Government Code would remain unchanged.
  • The Legislature would not have the ability to change daylight saving laws without voter approval in the future.

Analysis of Proposition 7 provided by Anna Lisa Thomas and Sarah Steimer.

Earlier this week, The National Law Review recently published the work of McGeorge Capital Lawyering adjunct professor Chris Micheli. You can find Micheli’s aritcle – A Review of 2018 Labor and Employment Legislation in California – here.

Micheli overviews the fourteen major labor and employment bills that were signed into law, as well as seven other significant pieces of legislation that made it through the Legislature but were ultimately vetoed by Governor Brown. Many of the bills that Micheli looks at are pieces of legislation inspired by the #MeToo movement that swept the nation as well as the We Said Enough movement that started here in California’s capital.

Chris Micheli – Attorney; Adjunct Professor, McGeorge School of Law; Principal, Aprea & Micheli

For a more in depth discussion of Proposition 6, and the ten other initiatives on the ballot this November, join us for the California Initiative Review Forum in the Lecture Hall at McGeorge School of Law TONIGHT from 5:30 – 7:30pm. If you cannot make it in person, you can watch the forum LIVE on McGeorge Capital Center for Law & Policy Facebook page and keep your eyes peeled on The CAP⋅impact Podcast’s feed on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, or wherever you get your podcasts from for analysis of this year’s ballot initiatives in your headphones.

Proposition 6: Voter Approval for Increase in Gas and Car Taxes

Current Law

  • SB 1, passed in 2017, increased the state funding for California’s transportation system.
  • It included a $0.12 increase in the gas excise tax which was effective November 2017, a transportation improvement fee that ranges from $25-$175 which was effective January 2018, a $0.20 increase in diesel excise tax effective in 2019, and a $100 fee on zero-emission vehicle registration effective in July 2020.
  • It is estimated that the revenue from these taxes will provide California approximately $4.4 billion this fiscal year.
  • The different fees and taxes from SB 1 will progressively take effect over the next few years and at full effect would produce $5.2-$5.4 billion annually, with two-thirds of that delegated specifically for maintenance and rehabilitation of local streets and roads as mandated by the California Constitution.

Proposed Law

  • Proposition 6 would amend the California Constitution to require voter approval for new or increased taxes on gasoline or diesel fuel and operational taxes.
  • Additionally it would effectively repeal SB 1, eliminating any gas or vehicle tax passed in 2017 through the date Proposition 6 would be passed.

Policy Considerations

Yes on Proposition 6 No on Proposition 6
  • A return of fuel and vehicle taxes to pre-2017 levels.
  • These taxes affect the middle and lower economic classes the most.
  • California is already expensive to live in and the SB 1 taxes make it even more expensive.
  • Requires majority voter approval for any new fuel and vehicle tax increases in the future.
  • Repealing SB 1 would cause the State to lose tax revenues of $2.4 billion within two years and $5.1 billion annually after that.
  • Over 6,500 transportations projects could lose funding.
  • California has a crumbling infrastructure and cutting the tax could exacerbate the problem.
  • Loss of project funding could lead to the loss of 68,000 project related jobs.
  • Breach of contract from lack of funding could lead to California having to pay the full contract price of cancelled contracts despite the work being halted.

Analysis of Proposition 6 provided by Meghan Shiner and Peter Leoni.

By: Thomas Gerhart

I always thought of the “Wild West” as a time period. I understood it to represent westward expansion during the mid-to-late 1800s. It evoked the idea of historical figures like Wyatt Earp, “Buffalo Bill” Cody, and Billy the Kid. Then, I watched the HBO series Deadwood, which highlighted lawlessness in unsettled territories and the opportunity for financial gain in the absence of law.

Despite Alaska’s nickname “The Last Frontier” and Star Trek’s claim that outer space is the “Final Frontier,” we do have a contemporary frontier. It is a place of lawlessness where, like in Deadwood, a person can make it rich­–the Internet.

On the Internet, businesses utilize new and creative ways to make money; and, just like in Deadwood, the absence of law provides an opportunity to attain great wealth. Streaming services, social media, and e-commerce all created avenues for Internet businesses to generate revenue with little regulation and, in some instances, without taxation.

One of the new ways that businesses generate revenue is by offering services for free. Facebook’s business model is to provide a free social media service to its users in exchange for personal information. Facebook then monetizes that information by selling it or using it for marketing. Facebook created a system that generates money by turning its users into human capital, essentially monetizing its users.

What is so bad about this practice? Well, the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica debacle became public knowledge in March of 2018. That data breach showed the world the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ways that businesses use and sell consumer information. Couple that with the Equifax data breach in 2017, and there is a problem. People disclose information about themselves on the Internet, either voluntarily or as required to open an account, and businesses buy and sell that information while doing little to protect it.

This gets back to how the Internet is like the Wild West. First, there are no laws restricting what businesses may do with consumers’ personal information. Second, a business can be as secretive as it wants about its data collection practices. Yes, a business must publish its privacy policy on its website, but those policies are generally a bungle of legalese. Also, businesses can start collecting and selling information before giving their customers an opportunity to opt out. Third, there are no laws or incentives for a business to protect the information it collects.

The federal government has been silent on regulating Internet privacy, thereby giving the states the power to regulate it. California is one of only ten states that guarantees it citizens’ right to privacy in its constitution. Unfortunately, corresponding privacy laws never materialized. Enter California Assemblymember Marc Levine, who proposed AB 2182 as the first step toward regulating what businesses can do with Californians’ personal information. Levine is passionate about protecting Californians and wanted to tackle this issue. His bill had a lot of promise but, rather than develop it, other legislators defanged it. Before AB 2182 left the Assembly, legislators ensured that it would not challenge the tech industry’s power to use and abuse Californians’ personal information.

While AB 2182 was stuck in the Senate, Alastair Mactaggart and Rick Arney were finalizing three years’ worth of work to tackle this issue. They qualified a ballot measure that proposed privacy laws to protect Californians’ information. Within a few weeks of qualification, legislators reached out to Mactaggart essentially asking him what it would take to withdraw the measure. Mactaggart leveraged a pending deadline to get the Legislature enact every major provision of his ballot measure. The legislators went to work, but the first draft was a lackluster attempt with no regulatory authority. Mactaggart said that version was unacceptable. The next attempt was much better. Mactaggart withdrew his initiative shortly after Governor Brown signed AB 375 into law.

Taking effect on January 1, 2020, AB 375 forces transparency by requiring businesses to disclose their information-sharing practices prior to data collection. Businesses must give consumers the opportunity to opt out of data collection without recourse. Businesses can incentivize data collection, but they cannot discriminate against customers who exercise their “right to opt out.” AB 375 also has some retroactive applicability because Californians can contact a business and request that it delete their personal information. The business must comply with these requests, so long as it does not need the requested information as part of an ongoing business relationship. Finally, AB 375 permits Californians to file suit against businesses whose negligence results in the breach of non-encrypted or non-redacted information.

AB 375 encourages businesses to be more cautious with the data they collect, store, and sell. More importantly, it gives Californians control over their personal information. While AB 2182 is dead, AB 375 changes the landscape of the Internet in California from a lawless frontier to a regulated environment that protects Californians.

To learn more about AB 2182 and AB 375, listen to my interview on “In Session,” a podcast from the University of the Pacific Law Review.

For a more in depth discussion of Proposition 4, and the ten other initiatives on the ballot this November, join us for the California Initiative Review Forum in the Lecture Hall at McGeorge School of Law on tomorrow from 5:30 – 7:30pm. Details on tomorrow evening’s event here.

Proposition 4: The Children’s Hospital Bond Act of 2018

Current Law

  • Propositions 61 and 3, passed in 2004 and 2008 respectively, allowed the State to sell bonds to fund projects for qualifying children’s hospitals in California.
  • Propositions 61 and 3 allowed the 8 qualified non-profit hospitals and the 6 University of California system hospitals to apply portions of the respective $750 million and $980 million in bonds for infrastructure projects related to the treatment of critically-ill children.
  • The bonds are available for use until the end of 2018.

Proposed Law

  • Proposition 4 would allow the State to sell an additional $1.5 billion in bonds to fund projects for qualified children’s hospitals.
  • While substantially similar to the previous Children’s Hospital Bond Acts, Proposition 4 would increase the total funds available, have a longer 15 year period for hospitals to apply for funding, and includes additional hospitals that provide pediatric services to children eligible for the California Children’s Services program.

Policy Considerations

Yes on Proposition 4 No on Proposition 4
  • Allows for faster funding of large projects that benefit children throughout the state.
  • Creates certainty in funding for children’s hospitals since bonds are not based on year-to-year appropriations from the State.
  • Improvements in children’s healthcare have led to greater success rates for the recovery of critically-ill children.
  • Will add $2.9 billion in State debt when interest is taken into consideration.
  • The State is currently responsible for $33 billion in general obligation bond debt in part due to the initiative process, making it more difficult for the state to budget accordingly.
  • Concern that the beneficiaries of the general bond measure were the only funders of the proposition campaign, though contributions total 1% or less of the amount the money the hospital would be eligible for under Proposition 4.

Analysis of Proposition 4 provided by Peter Leoni, Sarah Steimer, and John Knobel.

 

Today’s podcast is on the role of legislative ethics committees.

Ethics in the California Legislature is an important topic. As such, both houses of the Legislature have their own individual ethics committees. Moreover, the Senate has adopted an official Code of Conduct for its members. While the Assembly has not, it too shares similar concerns to ensure that there are codes of conduct in place for all legislators. Both houses have extensive ethics and conflict of interest rules, and both are bound by constitutional and statutory ethics rules.

The Assembly Legislative Ethics Committee consists of six members of the Assembly who are appointed by the Assembly Speaker. This committee has the power to investigate and make any appropriate findings and recommendations concerning violations of the rules by Assembly Members. The Committee’s authority is set forth in the Standing Rules of the Assembly as well as Article III of the Government Code commencing with Section 8940.

Under these Assembly rules, any person may file a verified complaint in writing stating the name of the Assembly Member who is alleged to have violated any standard of conduct. The written complaint must set forth the particulars of the alleged violation with sufficient clarity and detail to enable the Committee to make a determination.

The Senate Committee on Legislative Ethics is appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules and it consists of six Senators. In addition to this committee, the Rules Committee appoints an Ethics Ombudsperson for assisting in the resolution of potential ethical violations as well as assisting the Senate and providing remedies for retaliatory conduct to ensure that an informant or a complainant does not suffer adverse consequences with respect to his or her employment in the California State Senate.

The Senate Ombudsperson is accessible to Senators, officers, and employees of the State Senate, as well as members of the public who wish to provide information or seek guidance about ethical standards or possible violation of standards before filing a formal complaint. All communications are confidential between the informant or complainant and the ombudsperson. The ombudsperson may refer the information to the Rules Committee Chair, the Legislative Ethics Committee Chair, and/or the Secretary of the Senate. In all cases, the identity of the informant or complainant is kept confidential unless that person consents.

The Senate Committee is required to maintain a public hotline telephone number for purposes of contacting the ombudsperson. The complaints received through this hotline are considered informal complaints and the existence of the complaints must be kept confidential. In addition, the Senate Committee must formulate and recommend Standards of Conduct for Senators as well as the officers and employees of the Senate in performing their legislative responsibilities.

Ethics will always play an important role in the Legislative process. Please listen to today’s podcast for more information on the roles, duties and responsibilities, and powers of the legislative ethics committees.

For a more in depth discussion of Proposition 3, and the ten other initiatives on the ballot this November, join us for the California Initiative Review Forum in the Lecture Hall at McGeorge School of Law on October 24 from 5:30 – 7:30pm. Details on the event here.

Proposition 3: Water Supply and Water Quality Act of 2018

 

Current Law

California has numerous agencies and commissions that are charged with water quality, supply, and infrastructure operation and maintenance. Water storage, protection, and restoration are funded by the state as well as bond measures proposed by the Legislature or voter initiatives. Proposition 3 is the latest iteration in California’s long history of investing in water related infrastructure. In the past 18 years alone, voters have approved $31 billion in general obligation bond measures dedicated to water.

Proposed Law

Proposition 3 would issue almost $9 billion of general obligation bonds towards California water projects, including categories like: water infrastructure repair, watershed lands, fish and wildlife habitat, flood protection, groundwater, and other programs. In other words, Proposition 3 permits the State to borrow this money to fund water-related projects and subsequently repay the bonds over time with general funds. Proposition 3 will overlap partially with other water bonds recently adopted, but it is much bigger and will dedicate its funds entirely to water projects. To pass, Proposition 3 requires a simple majority vote by the people–i.e. more than 50% of all voters who vote.

Policy Considerations

Yes on Proposition 3 No on Proposition 3
  • A YES vote means California could sell $8.877 billion in general obligation bonds to fund various water and environmental projects related to; watershed lands, water supply, fish and wildlife habitat, water facility upgrades, groundwater, and flood protection.
  • Proposition 3 will help resolve a variety of water issues in California, including drought preparedness, environmental sustainability, ensuring safe drinking water for all communities, ability to capture and use runoff, repairing infrastructure, and groundwater storage.
  • Expedites the necessary funding instead of waiting for either federal or State investment.
  • A NO vote means California could not sell $8.877 billion in general obligation bonds to fund various water and environmental projects related to; watershed lands, water supply, fish and wildlife habitat, water facility upgrades, groundwater, and flood protection.
  • Proposition 3 is a waste of taxpayer dollars.
  • The measure is superfluous considering California has dedicated over $30 billion to water-related projects over the past 20 years with hardly anything to show for it.
  • Proposition 3 will be unsuccessful because it will not create new reservoirs that are necessary to address to growing demand for water in California.

Analysis of Proposition 3 provided by Kevin Bursey, Sebastian Silveira, and Kaylin Huang.

A long and busy week means for a short post on the news because, well, it’s been a really hard week to keep on the news with. Why the long week you might ask? Well, the week started off with this:

And the week also included a lot of planning for next week’s California Initiative Review. So with all of that in mind, here’s the stories that jumped out at me this week. It is only a small coincidence that I found the first one today.

Vox

When Twitter users hear out the other side, they become more polarized by Ezra Klein

Jon’s take: When I was an undergrad at UC Berkeley, this is the study I dreamed of doing when I dreamed of pursuing a PhD. That said, I’m not all that surprised by these results. Most of the political psychology research I’ve read indicates that the more you are exposed to viewpoints that conflict with your own, the more your own viewpoints harden. I did find it interesting that the effect was more pronounced on conservative Twitter users than liberal ones.  The follow up study that I’d like to see done after this is one where you put that tiny sliver of the electorate this is true swing voters and see if you can push them down the ideological scale – one way or the other – with these bots.

Sacramento Bee

As Mega Millions payout hits $1 billion, here’s your guide to winning the lottery by James Patrick

Jon’s take: Fear not, faithful readers. I’ll still write these posts and host The CAP⋅impact Podcast even after I become a multimillionaire. #DontQuitYourDayJob