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The midterm elections are coming up on November 8th, so here is a helpful guide on progressive politicians and propositions to vote for. If you would like more information about progressives in California, you can visit progressivevotersguide.com/california.
For Governor: Gavin Newsom
- Top issues: Economic recovery and growth, health-care access, early-childhood education, police reform, consumer and worker protections, climate protections, statewide wildfire response, and reproductive choice.
- Priority policies: On criminal-justice reform, he has paused executions across the state, and established new limitations on police use of force. On education reform, he has expanded early-childhood education to include four-year-olds, established updated standards and guidelines for charter schools, and provided free school meals to all public schools during the pandemic. On the economy, he has used federal pandemic money to provide the largest economic stimulus package in state history, and signed legislation that provided protections for individuals working in the gig economy. On climate protections, he has moved the state closer to an eventual full ban on fracking, and ordered a ban on gas-powered cars by 2035.
For Lt. Governor: Eleni Kounalakis
- Top issues: Housing and homelessness, police reform, environmental protections, economic recovery and growth, and reproductive freedom
For Attn. General: Rob Bonta
- Top issues: Hate-crime victim protections, consumer protections, corporate transparency, homelessness and housing, reproductive freedom, gun-violence protections, and climate justice.
- Priority Policies: Including establishing stronger protections for victims of hate crimes, working toward regulations that protect consumers from unjust corporate behavior, and creating a more equitable criminal-justice system. He has also taken aim at the housing crisis with the creation of the Housing Strike Force and an online Housing Portal designed to address access, affordability, and equity. These new initiatives will enforce housing-development laws, reaffirm tenant rights, provide consumer protection and alerts, and provide legal advocacy for the right to housing.
For Secretary of State: Dr. Shirley Weber
- Top issues: Inclusive and transparent election systems, expanding the right to vote, election security, improving campaign finance systems, increasing voter outreach and education, and monitoring and solidifying state cybersecurity.
- Priority policies: Secretary Weber’s priorities this year include increased outreach to formerly incarcerated Californians to align election practices to the recently passed Proposition 17, which returns voting rights to parolees, to strengthen businesses across the state, and to upgrade the cybersecurity system to ensure that all California elections are protected from interference
For State Treasurer: Fiona Ma
- Top issues: Economic recovery and growth, climate protections, education funding, affordable housing, veterans’ services, and health-care access.
- Key initiatives: Treasurer Ma’s priorities for California this term have included distributing small-business loans and to expand health-care access in response to the community effects of COVID-19, and to establish new clean-energy initiatives, including financing for the purchase of low-emissions trucks and equipment. Treasurer Ma was also a strong supporter of AB 132, which provides funding for the establishment of college savings accounts for low-income students at every grade level across the state.
- Treasurer Ma has been accused of sexual harassment and wrongful termination by a former staff member in a complaint that cites lewd behavior and excessive gifting by the treasurer. The complainant indicates that the circumstances produced a hostile work environment prior to her abrupt termination. Treasurer Ma has denied the accusations.
For State Controller: Malia Cohen
- Top issues: Economic recovery and growth, equity, accountability and transparency, homelessness and affordable housing, corporate accountability, reproductive freedom, climate protections, and affordable health care.
- Priority policies: As controller, Cohen hopes to create a more efficient system to connect unclaimed property to individuals who have ownership rights, streamline financial services for Californians who are unbanked, and create a Golden State Stimulus program that will ensure that residents have the resources they need to cover their basic living expenses.
For Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara
- Key initiatives: Commissioner Lara has successfully worked to provide pandemic insurance returns to Californians, protected home insurance coverage for individuals residing in the path of wildfires, and created a Climate and Sustainability Branch inside the Department of Insurance. He also wrote an insurance law, SB 30, which creates a working group of climate researchers and insurance experts to create recommendations to reduce insurance costs related to wildfires, extreme heat, and flooding.
For Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond
- Top issues: Student mental-health care, the expansion of educational enrichment programming, improving student literacy, expanding ESL, workforce development, STEAM education, universal pre-K, bias prevention, and publicly funded meal programs for students.
- Key initiatives: When he took office, Superintendent Thurmond established eight task-force groups to address a variety of education issues, including technology gaps, literacy, and the achievement gap. He has also increased grant allocations for financial literacy courses and worked with State Treasurer Fiona Ma to implement the new California Kids Investment and Development Savings Program (CalKIDS), which creates a college savings account funded with a minimum of $500 for low-income students in the public education system.
For Board of Equalization District 1: Jose Altamirano
- Key initiatives: Altamirano has spent over 30 years with the State Compensation Insurance Fund, where he has worked to provide affordable insurance options to individuals and businesses. He has a record of professional advancement, which has provided him with an understanding of how economic circumstances affect everyday Californians. He would bring this understanding to tax policy as a member of the Board of Equalization.
For Board of Equalization District 2: Sally Lieber]
- Top issues: Environmental protections, public safety and victims’ protections, worker rights, reproductive freedom, homelessness and housing, and immigration.
- Priority bills: While being an assemblymember, she worked on bills that increased the minimum wage, addressed sea-level rise, codified human trafficking as a felony, and created the Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights. Her platform for the Board of Equalization seeks to build on these legislative successes by pursuing a coalition approach to highlighting equity and fairness, accountability, and climate protections in her approach to tax implementation.
For Board of Equalization District 3: Tony Vazquez
- Top issues: Economic recovery and relief, taxation, homelessness and housing, and transportation and infrastructure.
- Key initiatives: In providing taxation relief to constituents in the pandemic, this has included the extension of tax filing and appeal deadlines, and the cancellation of tax penalties for small-business and property owners who had experienced economic hardship. He has worked to establish himself as an informational leader by developing a team that can provide resources and information about tax requirements and the tax-paying process.
For Board of Equalization District 4: David Dodson
- Top issues: Homeownership protections, taxation and taxpayer rights, and supporting assessors and the administrative functions of the department.
What is Proposition 1? Reproductive freedom:
- California’s Proposition 1 refers to the Constitutional Right to Reproductive Freedom. Legislative Constitutional Amendment.
- It is a proposed amendment which would “prohibit the state from denying or interfering with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions, which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives.”
- It is essentially a reaction to the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the repealing of federally guaranteed abortion rights. A “yes” vote codifies the right to reproductive freedom, while a “no” vote leaves the California Constitution as is.
What is Proposition 26? Sports betting, casino games
- California’s Prop 26, is an Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute, which would allow for in-person roulette, dice games and sports wagering on tribal lands.
- Tribal casinos and the state’s horse tracks would be able to offer in-person sports betting, with age limits for gambling negotiated individually by tribes and set at 21 for horse tracks.
- Betting at the tracks would be taxable, whereas betting on tribal lands, considered sovereign nations, is not subject to the California tax code. However, the tribes would be required to pay back the state for the cost of regulating the sports betting.
What is Proposition 27? Online gambling
- California’s Prop 27 is another Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute having to do with gambling. This proposed ballot measure would allow for online and mobile sports betting statewide outside of tribal lands.
- Sports betting is outlawed in the state of California. This measure would allow for licensed gaming companies and tribes to offer online sports betting outside of tribal land, with an age limit of 21 and older.
- Approval of this proposition would also designate a new division in the state’s Department of Justice to regulate the online gaming sphere created by the legislation. A good deal of the revenue generated from the proposition, aside from the portion dedicated to regulation, would go to homelessness and gambling-addiction programs.
What is Proposition 28? Funding for arts and music in schools
- California’s Prop 28 is an Initiative Statue that would provide funding for arts and music programming in public schools.
- The proposed legislation would mandate that 1% of Proposition 98’s funding (the money out of the state budget allocated to public schools and community colleges) go to arts and music education.
- Schools with disproportionate shares of low-income students would receive more of the funding and estimates place the total budget chunk at $1 billion annually.
What is Proposition 29? Regulations at dialysis clinics
- California’s Prop 29 is an initiative statute that would require an on-site licensed medical professional to be present at kidney dialysis clinics and provides for other regulations.
- The medical professional can be a nurse practitioner, doctor or physician’s assistant with six months’ experience in a related field. The clinic is also required to report infection data as well as list doctors who have a 5% stake in the clinic.
- Clinics are also prohibited from refusing patients based on their insurance type and must receive allowance from the state to close or limit services.
What is Proposition 30? Environmental funding through increased income tax
- California’s Prop 30 is another initiative statute that would allocate funding for programs meant to produce air pollution and prevent wildfires and do so by taxing personal income over $2 million.
- The proposed tax is 1.75% with the raised revenue going to a number of climate programs, the chief among being rebates for individuals who buy zero-emission cars and money for more charging stations.
- Fifty percent of the money raised will go to middle to low-income areas, which suffer disproportionately from poor air quality. Some revenue will also be allocated for the hiring and training of new firefighters, who are expected to take on an ever-lengthening wildfire season in the state.
- Of note, Lyft has spent a considerable amount of money pushing for the ballot measure to be passed. It is in favor in part because by 2030 new California legislation will require ride-share companies like Lyft and Uber to largely rely on electric vehicles.
What is Proposition 31? Referendum on flavored tobacco law
- California’s Prop 31 is a referendum on a 2020 law, which prohibited the retail sale of certain flavored tobacco products.
- Voting on the proposition essentially decides whether to uphold the current law or strike it down. Voting “Yes” would continue the prohibition of sales on certain tobacco flavored products while a “No” vote would repeal it and allow for selling to regain.’
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