What Voters Need to Know About California's 2012 Ballot Measures

To help you sort through the 11 state propositions in the November election, Patch has put together a proposition voter guide of California ballot initiatives, complete with overviews and links.

Even without the presidential election, voters throughout the state have a lot of choices to make on the Nov. 6 ballot.

California voters will need to make up their minds on 11 statewide ballot propositions this week.

To help sort them all out, a group of Patch editors has created this Proposition Voter Guide, with links, briefs and local opinion about each proposition to help us all make informed decisions.

Nonpartisan Websites

California Choices- Includes an endorsements table featuring where non-profits, newspapers, unions and political parties stand on each proposition.

Smart Voter



Maplight.org - Includes in-depth campaign spending information.

Proposition 30: Temporary Taxes to Fund State Programs

Voters will face two, some say conflicting, tax measures on this year’s ballot. The first is supported by Governor Jerry Brown and is also known as the Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act. The measure is intended to help close the state’s budget gap and fund schools.

The act would raise the personal income tax rate for people who make more than $250,000 a year. Individuals who make less than $250,000 a year and couples who make less than $500,000 a year will not see an increase. The ballot measure would also raise the state sales tax by a quarter cent for the next four years.

The money raised from the tax hike is expected to generate $6.6 billion for education. If voters reject it, a series of trigger cuts that will result in a nearly $5.4 billion hit to education will be enforced.

Click here for more information on Proposition 30.

Patch articles and opinion on Proposition 30:

  • Deciphering Prop. 30 vs. 38
  • Napa Patch Letter: Vote Yes on Prop. 30 for Schools
  • Democratic Party Picks State Ballot Measures to Support
  • California Republicans Oppose Proposed Tax Measures

Proposition 31: State Budget

This proposition would allow local governments and school districts create plans to coordinate how public services are provided. These plans include areas of public health and safety, education, social services, and economic development. Governing boards for the county, school district and city must approve the plans. The proposition would allow local governments flexibility on how state-funded programs are administered and how property taxes are transferred.

The proposition would also place restrictions on Legislature’s ability to increase or decrease state revenue and when they can pass bills.

Click here for more information on Proposition 31.

Patch Articles on Proposition 31

  • Democratic Party Picks State Ballot Measures to Support
  • California Republicans Oppose Proposed Tax Measures

Proposition 32: Political Contributions

This measure seeks to reform campaign finance rules in three key ways. The first would ban employee paycheck reductions for “political purposes.” The second would prevent corporations and unions from making direct contributions to state and local candidates or the committees that fund them.

The third would forbid government contractors to contribute to elected officials who were involved in the process that awarded them the contract. This would keep the contractors from contributing while that contract is under consideration or in effect.

Click here for more information on Proposition 32.

Proposition 33: Auto Insurance Rates

Prop. 33 would change state law to allow insurance companies to set prices based on whether the driver previously carried auto insurance with any insurance company. Drivers who have not had prior, continuous coverage could be charge higher rates, while those who have had coverage could receive discounts.

Click here for more information on Proposition 33.

Patch Articles on Proposition 33

  • Insurance Industry-Backed Proposition on California Ballot

Proposition 34: Death Penalty Repeal

Prop. 34 would repeal the death penalty and replace it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. This would also affect individuals currently sentenced to death. According to the proposition, the measure would create a $100 million fund for law enforcement efforts.

Click here for more information on Proposition 34.

Patch Articles on Proposition 34

  • Voter Guide: Propositions 34 and 36

Proposition 35: Human Trafficking/Sex Offender

Proposition 35 would increase prison sentences and fines for human trafficking. A conviction for human trafficking would be require the offender to register as a sex offender.

Click here for more information on Proposition 35.

Patch articles on Proposition 35

  • Democratic Party Picks State Ballot Measures to Support
  • California Republicans Oppose Proposed Tax Measures

Proposition 36: Three Strikes Law

This measure would change California's current "Three Strikes" law by imposing a life sentence only when the crime committed is a serious, violent crime. This could allow some offenders with two prior serious or violent felony convictions, and currently serving life sentences for nonserious, non-violent felony convictions, serve shorter prison terms. This would not affect felons with prior convictions of murder, rape, or the sexual abuse of children.

Click here for more information on Proposition 36.

Patch Articles on Proposition 36

  • Propositions 34 and 36 Would Make Major Changes to Punishment for Serious Crimes

Proposition 37: Genetically Modified Foods

Prop. 37 would require labeling alerting consumers of any raw or processed food made from genetically-modified plants and animals. Genetically engineered food cannot be marketed as "natural” under the measure, although certain foods are exempted from this measure.

Click here for more information on Proposition 37.

Patch Articles and Opinion on Proposition 37

  • Prop. 37: Should Genetically Modified Food Be Labeled?
  • Whole Foods Ramps Up Prop. 37 Support
  • Napa Letter: "Vote Yes on Proposition 37"
  • Napa Letter: "I am Voting YES on Proposition 37"
  • Napa Letter: "Let's Vote Yes on Proposition 37"
  • Napa Letter: Anti-Prop 37 TV Ads are "Outright Lies"
  • Napa Letter: "Prop 37 Labeling Should be Required" to Force Research

Proposition 38: Molly Munger’s Tax Proposal

This second tax rate measure would increase the state income tax rates for most Californians on a sliding scale, resulting in projected increased revenues of about $10 billion a year, according to California Choices. Revenues would go to K-12 schools and early childhood programs, as well as some of the state’s debt. If voters pass both Propositions 30 and 38, the proposition with the most votes will pass. 

Click here for more information on Proposition 38.

Patch Articles on Proposition 38

  • Deciphering Prop. 30 vs. 38
  • Democratic Party Picks State Ballot Measures to Support
  • California Republicans Oppose Proposed Tax Measures

Proposition 39: Multistate Business Tax

According to California Choices, Prop. 39 would throw out an existing law allowing multistate businesses to choose a “tax liability formula that provides favorable tax treatment for businesses with property and payroll outside California.” Multistate businesses’ California income tax liability will be determined based on the percentage of their sales in California. Increased revenue is intended to fund energy efficiency projects and clean energy jobs.

Click here for more information on Proposition 39.

Patch Articles on Proposition 39

  • Prop. 39 Seeks to Close $1B Tax Loophole for Multi-State Corporations

Proposition 40: Redistricting

Prop. 40 is a referendum on the California State Senate redistricting plan approved by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. If the proposition does not pass, the districts will be determined by officials under the California Supreme Court.

Click here for more information on Proposition 40.

For an easy way to remember which ballot measure is which, Sing Along to the 'Proposition Song!'.

To see who is supporting the measures: 

Dudley Sharp November 05, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Or would you say, let's clean it up, get you bad folks out of the picture, and make it work? A vote for Prop 34 is a vote for folks who have intentionally obstructed justice in these cases, meaning anti death penalty legislators, the defense bar and judges who have made the death penalty so irresponsible and who are the same folks telling us to reward them by giving them what they have been working for, based upon the horrible system they have engineered. A better idea. How about demanding a responsible system, such as Virginia's, whereby 75% of those sentenced to death have been executed within 7.1 years, on average - a system similar to what Ca should have, if responsible folks were in charge. Calif has executed 1.4% of those sentenced because such mismanagement is what such obstructionists (read Prop 34) had in mind. contd
Dudley Sharp November 05, 2012 at 05:47 PM
PROP. 34: The Truth Will Kill It Dudley Sharp An honest discussion about Prop 34 would result in its overwhelming defeat. COSTS Are the cost claims made by the pro Prop 34 folks reliable (1)? No. The ACLU cost review was easily destroyed (1) and Mitchell and Alarcon, of the $4 billion study infamy, refuse to share their database (1), which we can presume has problems and, therefore, no one can, responsibly, depend upon that review. Is it possibly that life without parole (LWOP) may cost more than the death penalty? Yes (1). Is it required that California citizens allow their representatives to be so irresponsible with both their state budget and death penalty management? Of course not. Virginia has executed 75% of those sentenced to death and has done so within 7.1 years, on average. All states, inclusive of California, could implement similar protocols and save money over LWOP. INNOCENTS MORE PROTECTED WITH THE DEATH PENALTY Is it true that innocents are better protected by a death penalty protocol? Yes, in three different ways (2). Innocents are more at risk without the death penalty (2). PROP. 34: UNPRINCIPLED? APPARENTLY. Ask the media (or insert any industry) this question. How principled are you? If you had a group of corrupt people, who only wanted to shut down the media, by sabotaging the media, would you say, OK, shut down all media? contd
Dudley Sharp November 05, 2012 at 05:47 PM
contd 2 95% OF MURDER VICTIMS' LOVED ONES SUPPORT DEATH PENALTY: ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE (3) In addition, 80% of US folks support the death penalty for, truly, "death penalty eligible" murders (3), just as from 56% to 83% have also supported the death penalty when, wrongly, asked about their approval for the death penalty for murders, for which about 90% are not death penalty eligible (3). 1) California Death Penalty Cost "Studies" http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2012/08/response-to-absurd-california-death.html 2) a) The Death Penalty: Saving More Innocent Lives http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2012/03/death-penalty-saving-more-innocent.html b) Innocents More At Risk Without Death Penalty http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2012/03/innocents-more-at-risk-without-death.html 3) US Death Penalty Support at 80%; World Support Remains High http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2012/04/us-death-penalty-support-at-80-world.html


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