Prop 1 — YES — Constitutional right to reproductive freedom
Prop 26 — No Position — Legalizes sports betting at Indian casinos & racetracks
Prop 27 — NO — Legalizes online and mobile sports betting
Prop 28 — YES — Arts and Music Education Funding
Prop 29 — YES — On-site medical professional at kidney dialysis clinics
Prop 30 — NO — Programs to reduce air pollution and prevent wildfires
Prop 31 — YES — Approves the ban on certain flavored tobacco products
Proposition 1 — YES
Constitutional right to reproductive freedom
In the wake of the devastating Dobbs decision reversing Roe v. Wade and stripping women of their liberty, California voters will have an opportunity to vote this Fall on Proposition 1, which places protection for reproductive rights, specifically the right to abortion and contraception, into the state’s constitution. Vermont will be voting on a similar measure this year.
The Proposition states in principal part: “The state shall not deny or interfere 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.” The provisions are stated to be in furtherance of the already existing right to privacy in the California Constitution.
Since 2002, a California statute, the Reproductive Privacy Act, has declared that “Every woman has a right to choose to bear a child or to choose and obtain an abortion…The state may not deny or interfere with a woman’s right to choose or obtain an abortion prior to viability of the fetus, or when the abortion is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.” This is basically a codification of Roe, not ideal from a feminist standpoint, since it recognizes a state interest over women’s bodies, yet still strongly protective of abortion rights. The same statute also provides that every individual has a right to choose or refuse birth control.
There is good reason to seek to amend the California Constitution to add explicit protection for abortion rights. The placement of rights in the California Constitution provides the maximum protection possible within the state, as a statute can be repealed by the legislature, and a decision by state Courts can be overturned. Though amending the California Constitution is far easier than federal Constitutional amendments, it still requires a vote of the people (through voter initiative process or after approval by the legislature) rather than legislature action alone. However, federal law and federal court rulings could still potentially preempt or overturn state protections, so there is no substitute, even for women residing in California, for the federal government to restore legal abortion nationwide.
Greens have long supported women’s reproductive rights including the right to safe, legal abortion regardless of age or marital status. From the Green Party national platform, “Women’s right to control their bodies is non-negotiable. It is essential that the option of safe, legal abortion remains available…We endorse women’s right to use contraception and, when they choose, to have an abortion.”
Moreover, Proposition 1 seems on the face of it to provide even better protection for abortion rights then the statute, avoiding the pitfalls of Roe that allowed for a continuing erosion of access before its ultimate demise.
What is most unfortunate is the proposition’s very poor and ambiguous wording that could potentially back-fire on women. Unlike the statute, women merit no mention in the proposition, the right to choose abortion belonging to an “individual.” Could that be interpreted to mean that a husband or boyfriend or parent of the pregnant woman might have a say in the decision whether to have an abortion? Aren’t they individuals? That may sound far-fetched but given the current political climate of rising misogyny and anti-feminist backlash, we can’t take anything for granted. The decision to have an abortion belongs to the pregnant woman alone, no one else. That should have been spelled out.
However, putting reproductive rights into the state constitution has significant benefits for women in California, and despite these reservations, we urge a yes vote. We must not let the anti-woman anti-choice perspective gain any more victories.
Proposition 26 — No Position
Legalizes sports betting at Indian casinos & racetracks
Proposition 27 — NO
Legalizes online and mobile sports betting
Both of these propositions would greatly expand gambling in California — 26 would do so on Indian lands plus at existing horse racing tracks while 27 would do this via “online gambling”, anywhere in the state.
These two Propositions are somewhat related and feed off each other; both are motivated by the opportunity to make large amounts of money, as evidenced by the most money ever raised regarding a single election state proposition issue — over $360 million thus far, from the various gaming interests involved.
Proposition 26 — No position
This measure, related but unlike Proposition 27, was initiated by a small group of leaders of the largest tribes. The authorized program of permitted gaming methods at Indigenous casinos sites is currently limited. Proposition 26 would remove many of these limits, including wagering on sports events, like baseball, auto racing, basketball, football, boxing, wrestling, and a host of outside events broadcast into casino platforms.
The biggest question here is weighing Indian sovereignty rights versus the negative effects of expanded gambling. Expanded gambling leads to increased suicide, crime, divorce, and bankruptcy. Yet organizations that help problem gamblers are chronically underfunded and Prop. 26 doesn’t provide that funding either.
However, the institution of Indigenous casinos has been a needed boon and supplement to mandated, but insufficient, federal and state financial assistance. The result has been tremendous uplift in the political, economic, health, and social life of Indian tribes and peoples. Casino profits are shared with non-casino tribes and these efforts, though lagging, are both continuing and constantly improving.
Proposition 26 is complicated, with many competing factors to weigh. Beyond the pros and cons of expanded gaming on Indian land, the fact that 26 allows sports betting at horse racing tracks means it supports an industry with questionable animal rights practices, plus there are provisions in 26 that almost certainly will hurt existing card rooms and which seem to be rather self-serving. Individual Greens have different priorities on the conflicting issues in Prop. 26, so we’re not able to endorse either a Yes or a No vote on this proposition.
Proposition 27 — NO
Proposition 27 was put on the ballot by deceptive propaganda. Signers were told by paid signature collectors that “this new measure will raise money to end homelessness in California.” Proposition 27 was not initiated, nor promoted by California Indian tribes, but by out-of-state corporations that sought to take advantage of the voter’s universal desire to end homelessness and the compassion of state voters to lift up the plight of California’s native peoples from the violent repression of the past.
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 correctly acknowledged the sovereignty of Indigenous people and the right of tribes to operate gambling casinos on tribal land. This Act has successfully improved the quality of life for Indian tribes and produces millions in revenues that are shared among both casino and non-casino tribes, which mandated federal and state government financial assistance could never replicate.
Proposition 27 would astronomically expand to unlimited types of gambling well beyond being confined to casinos on Indian land to online phenomena available to everyone, even minors with a cell phone or access to varieties of digital devices. The measure blatantly lies in many ways:
- that revenue from online gaming will uplift poorer non-casino Indian tribes. Impartial analysis shows that at least 90% of revenue from the expansion will go into the pockets of the out-of-state carpetbaggers who wrote the measure specifically for their benefit;
- that revenue from the measure will end homelessness. Besides there being no revenue to allocate, voters need only to recall that the “selling point” years ago for approving the State Lottery was the promise that produced revenue “would forever end the problem of funding education throughout the state”;
- that minors will not be able to gamble online. No procedures are indicated that will weed out anyone with a digital device from online access.
Additionally, because those of lower income and wealth are lured in larger measure to games of chance with the hope of improving their status, Proposition 27 would aggravate economic inequality. The availability of unlimited online gaming opportunities will provide increased attractions that will further worsen the already weak financial condition of marginalized people.
The great majority of California Indian Council tribes oppose Proposition 27 as a boondoggle that will proliferate gambling throughout California life and institutions, degrading lifestyles of minors as well as the elderly, by which the out-of-state corporations will realize uncountable wealth with practically nothing positive accruing to California, its residents, or its many intractable issues. VOTE “NO.”
Proposition 28 — YES
Arts and Music Education Funding
This initiative deals with a need for greater support for art and music in the schools. It would provide $1 billion annually for art and music programs in K-12 schools, statewide (regrettably including charters, which is now built into all state proposals for added education resources).
The resources come from the general fund, over and above the state constitutional requirements for K-12 funding as is required by Prop. 98. Thus the main teachers’ union, the California Teachers Association, and its president, Toby Boyd, are supporting the proposition, since it doesn’t lessen Prop. 98 monies.
There have been ongoing efforts for a good number of years to strengthen the arts, even while austerity measures have slashed such enrichment programs, especially in poorer districts, with large working class and people of color student populations. In the past, there were categorical monies that were directed at targeted needs, but these were ended in the 1990s.
No opposition arguments were submitted against Prop. 28. This is a worthwhile proposition, especially with the state having an over $90 billion surplus. Vote “Yes” on Prop. 28.
Proposition 29 — YES
On-site medical professional at kidney dialysis clinics
An overwhelming Yes to Proposition 29! Kidney dialysis is a life-saving procedure. Who among us would not want our families, loved ones, and friends to be in the care of a trained professional?
There are 80,000 kidney dialysis patients in California. Yet only two (2) multi-national kidney dialysis corporations dominate the outpatient kidney dialysis industry in this state. Together, they treat more than 75% of all patients in the state and earn close to $450 million dollars a year in California. DeVita and Fresenius own and operate 72% of the clinics in the state. Dialysis patients were steered to commercial insurers by The American Kidney Fund which receives more than 80% of its revenue from Devita & Fresenius. Joint ventures between for-profit corporations and “physicians who own a stake and may also be the patient’s primary doctor”, might pose a conflict of interest. The patient and/or their advocate will make better decisions when they are informed.
This proposition protects the rights of the patient. Clinics will not be able to discriminate or refuse services to a patient based on the source of payment. Proposition 29 prevents the closing of clinics or substantially reducing service there without state approval. We all know that corporations have closed stores, and fired employees, for wanting safe working conditions, a living wage, or unionization, but this is all to protect their profits. People deserve safe working conditions and kidney dialysis patients deserve the best health care and they deserve to have a licensed health professional in every dialysis outpatient clinic. Vote Yes.
Americans pay more for health care than any other civilized nation and rate 48th in the quality of health of our people. Wake up California. Vote Yes for Proposition 29.
Proposition 30 – NO
Programs to reduce air pollution and prevent wildfires
At first glance this initiative might appear to be something that the Green Party would fully support. We are in the age of consequences of the global climate crisis and there is no time to waste to rapidly make a truly just transition to a clean energy economy. Going where the money is to fund the transition – the wealthy – is the right idea. The problem with this measure is what it mandates for how to spend the money raised.
Prop 30 originated in 2021 with a signature gathering effort underwritten with ~$8 million by the ride-hailing service company Lyft. Clearly, Lyft has a commercial interest in accelerating the adoption of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs). This interest lies in the fact that they were mandated by the California Air Resources Board in a 2021 ruling that requires Lyft and Uber to achieve a level of 90% of their logged miles to be by ZEVs by 2030.
Approximately 35,000 people in California have personal income over $2 million. Based on that, Prop 30 is expected to generate approximately $100 billion over 20 years. The money raised is divided into three main categories: 35% to ZEV infrastructure investment, 45% to ZEV and clean mobility, and 20% to the wildfire greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction.
Prop 30 emphasizes support for the adoption of cleaner private cars (which is not a policy priority for the Green Party) over other forms of transportation such as active mobility and public transit. Prop 30 is aimed at making electric vehicles more affordable and charging infrastructure more ubiquitous. This has the likely impact of not just underfunding public transit, but in fact undercutting public transit. Transitioning cars to ZEV for those who insist on or need a personal car may be needed, but it is a mis-use of a funding opportunity like this, and if Prop 30 passes as is, it is highly unlikely that there will be another bite at the apple.
It is correct to identify wildfires as an enormous contributor to the state’s greenhouse gas emission profile, and a category that is currently not being counted. The issue needs to be addressed. But in this initiative, it simply pitches ~$20B over 20 years to an agency that is woefully mismanaging California’s forests by selling trees to the logging industry in the guise of forest “thinning” for supposed wildfire prevention purposes. Our forests need to be protected, and that should not be the role of CalFire. CalFire’s role is to put out fires. Calls for a CalFire “divorce” – splitting off the role of forest protection to a new agency — may be something the Green Party should support, but we shouldn’t be supporting handing them $20B.
Californians are desperately in need of improved and expanded clean emission public transit, walking and biking amenities, and other non-car mobility options. For the reasons outlined above, we urge your “NO” vote on Prop 30.
Proposition 31 — YES
Approves the ban on certain flavored tobacco products
Over the last few years, tobacco corporations have evaded the ban on selling tobacco products to minors by selling flavored preparations that they calculate are so attractive to children that they will find ways to obtain them, and become addicted for life to nicotine. In 2020, the California Legislature adopted SB 793, that banned the sale of most flavored tobacco products (with a few exceptions used almost entirely by adults, like expensive flavored cigars). As the sponsor said, “Using candy, fruit, and other alluring flavors, the tobacco industry weaponized its tactics to beguile a new generation into tobacco addiction.” The bill was so popular with the public that only one legislator voted against it.
But the tobacco corporations, knowing the public supported the ban, nevertheless found a way to delay its implementation. Under California law, if a referendum against a law qualifies for the ballot, the law cannot be implemented until the voters make their decision. So they paid professional signature-gatherers millions of dollars to get enough signatures to delay the law until the election of November 2022. (How did they get the signatures? They lied. The signature-gatherers told voters that their signatures would qualify for the ballot a law that would ban selling flavored tobacco products! And the disclosure form they are legally required to show potential signers, showing that Philip Morris USA and the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company provided almost all the funding for the referendum, was not shown to the voters.)
This law is a good law, and should be enacted by the voters now that the delay is over. The tobacco companies have already profited from the two-year delay they paid for, and they may or may not bother to spend more money on lying ads against Proposition 31. But a vote to uphold the law will keep these conscienceless corporations from continuing to sell these products, and an overwhelming vote may help convince the legislators to take further actions that will cut into their ill-gotten gains. We need this health and safety measure, it is the sort of law Californians need and support, and we urge a vote of YES on Proposition 31.