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Voter Guide: Propositions Round-up

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, November 5, 2012
[Click this link to view/listen to our in-depth news stories and Insight interview segments on the propositions.]
We begin with Proposition 30. Governor Jerry Brown's signature ballot measure comes first thanks to a bit of special Democratic legislation, challenged in court…but  left at the top of the list by the court. Here's Capital Public Radio's Ben Adler.

Proposition 30 would raise the sales tax a quarter-cent for four years ... and raise the income tax on the wealthiest Californians for seven years.  The money would go towards balancing the state's budget - a budget that currently calls for six billion dollars in education cuts if Prop 30 fails.  The measure would also guarantee a funding source to counties for California's new prisoner shift known as "realignment." (0:22)

Proposition 31:   I'm Amy Quinton. Prop 31 would establish a two-year performance-based budget. It would require the legislature to define new funding sources for spending programs or tax cuts.  And local governments could establish their own procedures to administer state programs. Supporters say it would end the turmoil of annual budgeting in the legislature. Opponents say it's too complex and could allow local politicians to pre-empt state law.

The campaign finance tracking website MapLight  shows the two sides of Proposition 32 have raised more than $135 million.

Adler: Proposition 32 has turned into the most bitter and expensive of this year's ballot measures, with each side calling the other a "special interest."  It would ban direct campaign contributions from unions and corporations … and ban automatic paycheck deductions for political purposes.  Supporters say the measure would reduce special interest money in politics.  Opponents say it would decimate unions' political power but leave other groups exempt.

Proposition 33:  I' m Steve Milne. Prop 33 would  change state laws on auto insurance.  If you're getting a continuous coverage price cut from your current insurance company, you'd be able to shop that discount to competing carriers. Insurance companies would also be allowed to increase your rates if your coverage has lapsed. Supporters say you should be able to switch carriers and keep your discount. Opponents say you should be penalized if you let your coverage end for legitimate reasons.

Proposition 34 would end the death penalty in California and replace it with life in prison. Steve Milne outlines the arguments for and against.

Proposition 34: Supporters say, right now, the state is wasting money  on special housing for death row inmates. They say those inmates would be forced to work and pay restitution. Opponents say Prop 34 will cost taxpayers more by guaranteeing murderers lifetime housing and health care. They say the death penalty is a deterrent and serves as justice to the families of victims.

Proposition 35Pauline Bartolone here. Proposition 35 would increase prison terms and fines for people who profit from forcing others into commercial sex or labor. Opponents say the human trafficking measure is too broadly written and could violate the Constitutional free speech rights of sex offenders.

Capital Public Radio's Bob Moffitt reports Proposition 36 would change California's Three Strikes law:

If passed, Proposition 36 would allow some multiple felons to commit a felony classified as non-serious and non-violent without risking a sentence of life-in-prison.  Supporters say the law currently allows a judge to sentence a person to life in prison for felony shoplifting.  Opponents say changing the law would include manslaughter, child abuse, and murder for hire as non-violent felonies. A change would be retroactive and could result in 2800 inmates getting out of prison early. 

Proposition 37: I'm Kathleen Masterson. California voters will decide whether to require that foods containing genetically engineered ingredients say so on the package. Prop 37 supporters say consumers have a right to know what they're eating.  Opponents say the measure would open everyone from farmers to grocery stores to lawsuits.

Amy Quinton covered the second ballot measure that would raise taxes for schools:

Proposition 38 would raise income taxes on most Californians for 12 years. The money would go to public schools, early childhood education and to pay school debt. Supporters say the revenue is needed because the state has cut billions of dollars from schools in recent years. Opponents say the tax would hurt Californians and wouldn't prevent cuts to schools if a rival measure, Prop 30 fails.

Proposition 39 would change California corporate tax law for multi-state businesses.  The measure would mean more money for the state, and higher taxes for some companies. Supporters say it levels the playing field between multi-state firms and those located solely in California, but opponents say it will cost jobs.  

Proposition 40 is a referendum that would overturn the current state Senate district map.  A "yes" vote keeps the district lines drawn by the independent Citizens Commission in place.  A "no" vote rejects them.  The orphan measure was abandoned by the Republicans who put it on the ballot after the State Supreme Court upheld the commission's work.  SOC

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