By Paul Kruze
November 2014 (Sacramento)--So what was on the mind of California voters on Tuesday in voting on ballot initiatives?
They approved new water projects and set aside funds for a rainy day. They voted against allowing the state’s insurance commissioner to have authority over insurance rates, also defeating mandatory drug and alcohol testing for medical doctors and caps on malpractice awardsVoters gave their approval for criminal sentences for simple drug possession and other property crimes to be reduced immediately to misdemeanors, but dealt a major blow to the gambling aspirations of three small California Indian tribes by voting down a measure which would allowed them to build a casino outside the borders of their reservation.
Voters backed by a wide margin Proposition 1, which will allow the State of California to issue $7.5 billion in bonds to fund new dams in Central and Northern California the bond and clean up and restore much of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, where the state gets a vast portion of its water. It would also fund projects to clean and restore groundwater in Riverside and Los Angeles counties. While most of the state approved the measure, voters in Northern California overwhelmingly expressed opposition to the proposition. The state has not undertaken any significant improvement water projects in the past fifty years.
Also passing by a wide margin was Proposition 2, which mandates the state Legislature to set aside revenues in a “rainy day fund” to make California’s budget less volatile.
Seen as a major modification to the Federal Government’s “Affordable Care Act,” voters rejected by a wide margin Proposition 45 which would have increased the state’s insurance commissioner authority by requiring insurance companies to get approval before raising healthcare premium rates on consumers. Voters also rejected Proposition 46, which would require drug testing for medical doctors and would have increased the cap on medical malpractice damages.
Opposed by law enforcement and many district attorneys throughout the state, Proposition 47 won approval from voters. The measure will immediately reduce sentences for drug possession and property crimes and reduce the classification of most nonviolent crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor. The measure’s proponents said that the net effect would be that it would reduce state prison overcrowding, while its opponents warned that drug and property crimes would increase.
Proposition 48, a measure which was vocally opposed by most of the state’s Indian tribes, was resoundingly rejected by voters by over a million votes, which would have allowed the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians and the Wiyot Tribes to construct gambling casinos in California’s Central Valley.