STATEWIDE PROPOSITIONS: WHAT DO THE RESULTS REALLY MEAN?

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Miriam Raftery
 

November 3, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – Decisions made by California voters on yesterday’s ballot propositions will have broad ramifications on the state budget process, redistricting, the environment and more. Here are the results – and what passage of some key measures could mean.

 

Voters rejected legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes, voting down Prop 19 by a 53.9% to 46.1% margin. Cities and counties won’t be able to reap profits off harvesting marijuana for sale, however the state won’t have to spend money defending the measure in court, either—since the federal government had announced its intention to enforce federal drug laws and challenge the measure if passed.
 

Environmentalists, clean air advocates and green-tech industries won a major victory with defeat of Prop 23, which would have suspended air pollution control law AB 32, that restricts greenhouse gas emissions. “We defeated it soundly,” said Ann Tolch, vice chairman of the Sustainability Alliance of southern California in San Diego, a hub for green-tech industries. “Not only did we win this statewide, but because of our efforts we won over a conservative region, with some pockets considered very conservative.”
 

Fiscal conservatism won out in defeating Prop 21, a measure that would have assessed a vehicle surcharge to fund state parks. Voters also overwhelmingly approved Prop 22, which prohibits the state from raiding key local funds. They also rejected Prop 24, which would have repealed certain business tax breaks.
 

Voters approved Prop 25, which will allow the state legislature to pass a budget with a simply majority instead of two-thirds. Advocates hoped passage of the measure would help stop gridlock that has occurred when a minority blocked budgets in the past. But in reality, it’s not likely to make a big difference—since voters also passed Prop 26, which will now require a two-thirds vote to raise state and local fees. Opponents of Prop 26 fear it will hamstring elected officials from raising revenues amid a budget crisis; supporters say it will force government to balance budgets or reduce spending.
 

Prop 27, which would have eliminated the state redistricting commission and put reapportionment back into the hands of the legislature, failed by a wide margin. Voters gave more power to the redistricting commission by approving Prop 20, which will allow the commission to redraw lines for Congressional districts as well as state legislative districts.