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The Courage California Voter Guide compiles the information that allows you to make informed decisions about the races on your ballot, based on your values. Vote in every race on your ballot! It's our right and our responsibility. Please share this guide with your friends and family.

Have questions about voting in San Luis Obispo County? Find out how to vote in San Luis Obispo County.

Federal

President and Vice President

  • Elect Vice President Joseph Biden as President of the United States to get America back on track. 

    About the Position

    The President of the United States is the head of the Executive branch of the federal government, and the Commander-in-Chief for all branches of the armed forces. A president has the power to make diplomatic, executive, and judicial appointments, and can sign into law or veto legislation. Presidential administrations are responsible for both foreign and domestic policy priorities. Presidents are limited to serving two four-year terms in office.

    About the Race

    As of October 12th, Democratic challenger Vice President Joe Biden is leading Republican incumbent President Donald Trump in the polls by an average national margin of 9.2% (as of 10/24/20). Ten days before Election Day in 2016, Secretary Hillary Clinton held an average 4.9% polling lead over Donald Trump. Vice President Biden’s campaign has raised $952 million (as of 10/14/20) and is not funded by fossil fuel money. While his platform commits to establishing meaningful campaign finance reform, his 2020 campaign has received donations from special interest, corporate PAC, and lobbyist organizations. President Donald Trump has raised $601 million (as of 10/14/20) and has not taken any fundraising pledges. President Trump is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, Citizens United, Proud Boys, and a variety of law enforcement organizations.

    About the Candidate

    Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. is from Scranton, PA, and moved to Claymont, DE with his family when he was 10 years old. He has been a resident of Wilmington, DE, for most of his adult life. Vice President Biden came of age during the 1960s Civil Rights movement, which he cites as his inspiration for majoring in political science at the University of Delaware before earning his law degree at Syracuse University. His political career began in 1970 when he was elected to the New Castle County Council. Just two years later, at age 29, Vice President Biden ran for the Delaware Senate seat, and became one of the youngest people ever elected to the United States Senate. A few weeks after his election, his wife and infant daughter were killed in a car accident, and his two sons were badly injured. This personal tragedy shaped Vice President Biden’s public image as an empathetic leader and committed family man. 

    Vice President Biden spent 36 years representing Delaware in the Senate. He is often critiqued as being an unremarkable, status quo Democrat, and mid-career votes in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act, anti-drug legislation, and the Iraq War reaffirm that characterization. In 1991, Vice President Biden was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and presided over the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Justice Clarence Thomas, who had been credibly accused of sexual harassment by a former colleague, Anita Hill. Vice President Biden’s mismanagement of the hearing resulted in a targeted and unfair character assassination of Anita Hill, and remains a reminder of his complicity in the patriarchal and racist systems on which American government is built. 

    Vice President Biden has also been directly accused of unwanted contact by several women over the course of his career. Most of the accusations came to light as part of the #MeToo movement, and related to invasions of personal space that included the touching of shoulders, caressing of hair, and close whispering. He has apologized publicly for this behavior, and stated an understanding of his responsibility to conform to more modern social norms in his interactions with women. 

    Vice President Biden launched two unsuccessful campaigns for President during his time in the Senate, in 1988 and 2008. After ending his 2008 campaign, he was chosen by President Barack Obama to join his ticket as Vice President, and they served together for two terms. As Vice President, he was responsible for managing the 2009 economic recovery, helping to expand health care through the Affordable Care Act, and acting as the administration’s liaison to the Senate. In 2015, his oldest son, Beau Biden, lost his battle with brain cancer at the age of 46. Since leaving office in 2016, Vice President Biden has dedicated substantial resources to cancer research.

    Although he was rarely a trailblazer, Vice President Biden’s record does demonstrate a consistent liberal evolution on many issues throughout his career. After voting in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, he was the first member of the Obama Administration to advocate for marriage equality in 2012. After presiding over the Anita Hill hearings in 1991, he was the architect of the Violence Against  Women Act in 1994, and led the Obama Administration’s effort to reduce campus sexual assault through the It’s On Us campaign. After supporting the 1994 Crime Bill and aligning with the racist ‘tough on crime’ approach of that era, his current platform supports criminal justice reform, abolishing private prisons, and decriminalizing marijuana. 

    Vice President Biden has long been committed to building relationships with colleagues across the aisle, and bridging intra-party policy differences to establish compromise legislation for the American people. This commitment to civility resulted in Vice President Biden maintaining problematic working relationships with segregationist Senators James Eastland and Herman Talmadge during his time in the Senate. During the 2020 primary, Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Kamala Harris, both Black candidates running for President, were outward in their critique of what they viewed as Vice President Biden’s defense of the reputations and decency of these segregationists. However, Vice President Biden has not apologized for his continued defense of collaborating with these segregationist colleagues, and maintains broad support in the Black community. 

    Vice President Biden’s commitment to compromise has extended to the left in recent months, and updates to his campaign platform are reflective of his interest in connecting with progressive voters. While he was a more moderate candidate in the larger 2020 field, he has been conscientious about including the popular perspectives of his progressive rivals, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders, in his platform. He has recently issued proposals that include middle-class tax cuts, lowering Medicare eligibility to age 60, new benchmarks for greenhouse gas emission limits, free college tuition for families making less than $125,000 annually, and clean energy investments. While these proposals do not embrace the full scope of progressive ideals, they are an important indicator of his capacity for collaboration. 

    The Biden/Harris campaign is endorsed by many progressive groups in the country. While the Biden/Harris platform is the most progressive platform ever adopted by a major party ticket, we encourage progressive advocates to continue to hold their administration accountable, and work to encourage progressive legislation throughout the country. With consideration to their records in public service, we unequivocally recommend Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

    Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. is from Scranton, PA, and moved to Claymont, DE with his family when he was 10 years old. He has been a resident of Wilmington, DE, for most of his adult life. Vice President Biden came of age during the 1960s Civil Rights movement, which he cites as his inspiration for majoring in political science at the University of Delaware before earning his law degree at Syracuse University. His political career began in 1970 when he was elected to the New Castle County Council. Just two years later, at age 29, Vice President Biden ran for the Delaware Senate seat, and became one of the youngest people ever elected to the United States Senate. A few weeks after his election, his wife and infant daughter were killed in a car accident, and his two sons were badly injured. This personal tragedy shaped Vice President Biden’s public image as an empathetic leader and committed family man. 
    Last updated: 2020-10-27
  • Elect Senator Kamala Harris as Vice President of the United States to get America back on track. 

    About the Position

    The Vice President is the second-highest office in the Executive branch of the federal government. The officeholder is the first in the line of succession to the presidency and holds legislative authority as the president of the Senate. In this role, the Vice President presides over Senate deliberations and can cast a tie-breaking vote in close decisions. A Vice Presidential candidate is selected directly by a Presidential nominee who has won the democratic primary process. Vice Presidential candidates are elected indirectly as a part of the Presidential ticket in the general election. A Vice President serves four year terms, and there is no term limit for this position.  

    About the Race

    As of October 12th, Democratic challenger Vice President Joe Biden is leading Republican incumbent President Donald Trump in the polls by an average national margin of 9.2% (as of 10/24/20).  Ten days before Election Day in 2016, Secretary Hillary Clinton held an average 4.9% polling lead over Donald Trump. Vice President Biden’s campaign has raised $952 million (as of 10/14/20) and is not funded by fossil fuel money. While his platform commits to establishing meaningful campaign finance reform, his 2020 campaign has received donations from special interest, corporate PAC, and lobbyist organizations. President Donald Trump has raised $601 million (as of 10/14/20) and has not taken any fundraising pledges. President Trump is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, Citizens United, Proud Boys, and a variety of law enforcement organizations.

    About the Candidate

    Senator Kamala Harris grew up in Berkeley, CA, and now resides in Los Angeles. She is the daughter of a Jamiacan father and an Indian mother who both emigrated to the Bay Area in the 1960s, and established themselves as activists in the Civil Rights movement in Oakland. Sen. Harris’ interest in justice and equal rights was instilled at a young age when she participated in civil rights protests in Oakland alongside her activist parents, and was further shaped when she was included in the second class of students to be bussed as part of Berkley’s efforts toward school integration. She attended Howard University, one of America’s HBCU institutions, for undergraduate studies, and completed her law degree at the University of California, Hastings. 

    After working for the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office for 8 years, Sen. Harris transitioned to a role as a prosecutor in the San Francisco District Attorney’s office. Sen. Harris’ political career began in 2003 when she won her bid to become District Attorney of the City and County of San Francisco. She served two terms in San Francisco before being elected as the Attorney General for the state of California in 2010. She was the first woman and the first person of color to hold this seat. In representing the needs and interests of Californians in each of these roles, Sen. Harris’ record was both progressive for the time and complicated by her moderate approach to policing and criminal justice. She has been criticized for failing to institute comprehensive police accountability measures, for not establishing meaningful prison reform, and for taking a hands-off approach to cases related to police misconduct. However, her lenient approach to policing was often punctuated by decidedly progressive support for social justice issues, including the establishment of an education and workforce reentry program designed to diminish recidivism. Similarly, as Attorney General, she declined to defend Proposition 8, a proposition to make same-sex marriage illegal in California, in court and officiated the first wedding in the state when marriage equality was restored in 2013. 

    In 2016, Sen. Harris became the first woman of color elected to represent California in the United States Senate. Sen. Harris has sponsored legislation on climate and environmental protections, rental and housing protections, women’s health, and pandemic relief. She was also an original cosponsor of the progressive Green New Deal authored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey. Sen. Harris sits on four committees: Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Budget, Judiciary, and Select Committee on Intelligence. She has been an outspoken opponent of the Trump Administration, and has deftly used her position on the Senate Judiciary Committee to question judicial nominees and interrogate the hypocrisy of her Republican colleagues. 

    Sen. Harris formally launched her campaign for President in January 2019 at an Oakland rally with an estimated attendance of 20,000 supporters. As a candidate, she pushed forward a platform that opposed Medicare for All, supported expansion of the Affordable Care Act, sought to expand tax benefits for middle and low-income families, supported citizenship for Dreamers, and favored a ban on assault weapons. She ended her campaign in December 2019, and was tapped to join Vice President Joe Biden’s ticket ahead of the Democratic National Convention in August 2020. 

    The Biden/Harris campaign is endorsed by many progressive groups in the country. While the Biden/Harris platform is the most progressive platform ever adopted by a major party ticket, we encourage progressive advocates to continue to hold their administration accountable, and work to encourage progressive legislation throughout the country. With consideration to their records in public service, we unequivocally recommend Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

    Senator Kamala Harris grew up in Berkeley, CA, and now resides in Los Angeles. She is the daughter of a Jamiacan father and an Indian mother who both emigrated to the Bay Area in the 1960s, and established themselves as activists in the Civil Rights movement in Oakland. Sen. Harris’ interest in justice and equal rights was instilled at a young age when she participated in civil rights protests in Oakland alongside her activist parents, and was further shaped when she was included in the second class of students to be bussed as part of Berkley’s efforts toward school integration. She attended Howard University, one of America’s HBCU institutions, for undergraduate studies, and completed her law degree at the University of California, Hastings. 
    Last updated: 2020-10-28

Congress, 24th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

  • Re-elect Congressional Representative Salud Carbajal to keep CA-24 on the right track.

    About the Position
    The United States is divided into 435 congressional districts, each with a population of about 710,000 individuals. Each district elects a representative to the House of Representatives for a two-year term. California has 53 congressional representatives. There is no term limit for this position.  

    About the District
    California’s 24th Congressional District includes parts of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura Counties. Republicans held this district until 2012, when Lois Capps won and flipped CA-24 from red to blue. In recent federal and state elections, this district leaned blue by providing both Hillary Clinton and Gavin Newsom with 56 percent of the vote in their respective races.

    About the Race
    In the primary, Democrat Incumbent Representative Salud Carbajal led Republican challenger Andy Caldwell by a margin of 19.6 percent. Rep. Carbajal has received donations from several corporate PACs, including Google NetPAC, General Motors Company, and Amazon, but is also funded by End Citizens United PAC. He has accepted donations from Exelon Corporation PAC and Edison International PAC, and from defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corporation Employees’ PAC. Opponent Caldwell’s campaign has not committed to refusing police and corporate PAC money, and is funded by fossil fuel money through CIPAC Federal PAC. Caldwell’s campaign also submitted FEC disclosures that included several miscategorized donations and individual donations that exceeded the allowable limit.

    About the Candidate
    Rep. Carbajal, a veteran of the United States Marine Corp, lives in the Santa Barbara area. According to campaign materials, Rep. Carbajal is running for re-election to continue to advocate for the needs of his Central Coast community through legislation related to housing, environmental protections, and workforce-development programs.

    Rep. Carbajal’s priorities for CA-24 this year have included renewing the National Defense Reauthorization Act and securing veteran support services, Central Coast land, water, and climate protections, and improving infrastructure investment.
    He currently sits on three committees: Agriculture (ranks 21st), Armed Services (ranks 13th), and Transportation and Infrastructure (as vice chair). This year, Rep. Carbajal has voted 100 percent of the time with Nancy Pelosi and 94 percent of the time with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In contrast to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Carbajal voted in favor of passing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act and the National Defense Authorization Act, and making appropriations to the Department of the Interior, the environment, and related agencies. Rep. Carbajal has sponsored 24 bills about political disclosure, land and coastal protections, veterans’ supports, and infrastructure. Of these bills, the majority are in committee or have been referred to committee.

    Rep. Carbajal is endorsed by many progressive groups in the district, including Indivisible, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and California League of Conservation Voters. He is also endorsed by the Peace Officers Research Association of California, which has advocated against the elimination of police money in District Attorney races. Despite his questionable campaign financing record, Rep. Carbajal has shown a strong commitment to his progressive values, including making the introduction of the California Clean Coast Act his first legislative action in Congress.  According to our analysis, Rep. Carbajal is the strongest choice for representative leadership in office.

     

    Salud Carbajal

    Re-elect Congressional Representative Salud Carbajal to keep CA-24 on the right track.

    About the Position

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

State Assembly, 35th District

Member of the State Assembly

  • Democrat
  • Elect Dawn Addis to push AD-35 in the right direction.

    About the Position

    State Assembly Members form part of the California State Legislature, and work alongside the governor to establish laws and a state budget. They hold the power to pass bills that affect public policy, set state spending levels, raise and lower taxes, and uphold or override the governor’s vetoes. The California State Assembly has 80 districts. Each represents a population of at least 465,000 Californians. Representatives are elected to the Assembly for a four-year term. Every two years, all 80 seats are subject to election. Members elected before 2012 are restricted to three two-year terms (six years) in the Assembly. Those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years total across both the State Senate and Assembly. This term, Democrats currently hold a two-thirds supermajority of 61 seats in the California State Assembly, while Republicans hold 17 seats. One seat is held by an Independent, and one seat is currently vacant.

    About the District

    California's 35th Assembly District includes parts of Santa Barbara County and all of San Luis Obispo County. The district has been held by Republicans and Democrats over the years, but has been red since 2012. The most recent election results show AD-35 voted for Clinton for president in 2016 and Cox for governor in 2018.

    About the Race

    In the primary, Democrat challenger Addis trailed Republican incumbent Representative Jordan Cunningham by a margin of 13.6 percent. Addis’s campaign has raised $180,835.76, including significant contributions from trade unions and women’s groups. While she is not funded by corporate, fossil fuel, or police money, Addis has not committed to refusing police money. Opponent Cunningham’s campaign has raised $445,388. The majority of his donations are from individuals.

    About the Candidate

    Dawn Addis is from the Central Coast and has been working as a Morro Bay City Council member since 2018. According to campaign materials, Addis is running for election as assemblymember to improve health care and public education, reduce homelessness and housing costs, and to combat corruption.

    Addis has built a record of leadership as a Morro Bay Cith Council member, working to secure clean water, equal representation, and to protect the local workforce. Her record of community involvement includes co-founding the Women’s March in San Luis Obispo. As a result of her work, she was named 2017’s 24th Congressional District Woman of the Year by Congressmember Carbajal. She was invited to the State of the Union address in 2018 by him because of her record of advocacy on immigration issues. She is a bilingual public educator and taught special education before moving into program development.

    Addis is endorsed by many local progressive groups in the district, with the majority of endorsements coming from labor rights and women’s groups. Opponent Cunningham has received a number of problematic endorsements, including from police, pro-life, and gun-owner groups. While Addis is trailing in the polls, she can win this seat. According to our analysis, Dawn Addis is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

    Dawn Addis

    Elect Dawn Addis to push AD-35 in the right direction.

    About the Position

    State Assembly Members form part of the California State Legislature, and work alongside the governor to establish laws and a state budget. They hold the power to pass bills that affect public policy, set state spending levels, raise and lower taxes, and uphold or override the governor’s vetoes. The California State Assembly has 80 districts. Each represents a population of at least 465,000 Californians. Representatives are elected to the Assembly for a four-year term. Every two years, all 80 seats are subject to election. Members elected before 2012 are restricted to three two-year terms (six years) in the Assembly. Those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years total across both the State Senate and Assembly. This term, Democrats currently hold a two-thirds supermajority of 61 seats in the California State Assembly, while Republicans hold 17 seats. One seat is held by an Independent, and one seat is currently vacant.

    About the District

    California's 35th Assembly District includes parts of Santa Barbara County and all of San Luis Obispo County. The district has been held by Republicans and Democrats over the years, but has been red since 2012. The most recent election results show AD-35 voted for Clinton for president in 2016 and Cox for governor in 2018.

    About the Race

    In the primary, Democrat challenger Addis trailed Republican incumbent Representative Jordan Cunningham by a margin of 13.6 percent. Addis’s campaign has raised $180,835.76, including significant contributions from trade unions and women’s groups. While she is not funded by corporate, fossil fuel, or police money, Addis has not committed to refusing police money. Opponent Cunningham’s campaign has raised $445,388. The majority of his donations are from individuals.

    About the Candidate

    Dawn Addis is from the Central Coast and has been working as a Morro Bay City Council member since 2018. According to campaign materials, Addis is running for election as assemblymember to improve health care and public education, reduce homelessness and housing costs, and to combat corruption.

    Addis has built a record of leadership as a Morro Bay Cith Council member, working to secure clean water, equal representation, and to protect the local workforce. Her record of community involvement includes co-founding the Women’s March in San Luis Obispo. As a result of her work, she was named 2017’s 24th Congressional District Woman of the Year by Congressmember Carbajal. She was invited to the State of the Union address in 2018 by him because of her record of advocacy on immigration issues. She is a bilingual public educator and taught special education before moving into program development.

    Addis is endorsed by many local progressive groups in the district, with the majority of endorsements coming from labor rights and women’s groups. Opponent Cunningham has received a number of problematic endorsements, including from police, pro-life, and gun-owner groups. While Addis is trailing in the polls, she can win this seat. According to our analysis, Dawn Addis is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

    Last updated: 2020-10-21

State Senator, 17th District

Member of the State Senate

  • Democrat
  • Elect John Laird to push SD-17 in the right direction.

    About the Position

    State senators represent and advocate for the needs of their district at the California State Capitol. They are responsible for creating legislation that addresses issues within their district, as well as voting and debating on preexisting laws. The California State Senate has 40 congressional districts. Each represents a population of about 930,000 Californians. Representatives are elected to the Senate for a four-year term. Every two years, half of the Senate's 40 seats are subject to election. Members elected before 2012 are restricted to two four-year terms (eight years) in the Senate. Those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years total across both the State Senate and Assembly. This term, Democrats currently hold a two-thirds supermajority of 29 seats in the California State Senate, while Republicans hold 11 seats.

    About the District

    California's 17th Senate District includes San Luis Obispo and Santa Cruz Counties, as well as parts of Monterey and Santa Clara Counties. Republicans held this district until the 2008 election, when Democratic incumbent Bill Monning won and flipped SD-17 from red to blue. The most recent election results show SD-17 voted for Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 and Gavin Newsom for governor in 2018.

    About the Race

    In the primary, Democrat challenger John Laird led Republican challenger Vicki Nohrden by a margin of 12.9 percent. Laird’s campaign is funded by police, fossil fuels, and corporate PAC money. Nohrden’s campaign has not committed to any of the pledges, and $10,000 of the $63,493.05 raised is self-funded.

    About the Candidate

    John Laird was raised in Vallejo and moved to Santa Cruz in the 1960s. He graduated with honors from UC Santa Cruz in 1972. Laird served as a councilmember on the Santa Cruz City Council and then as a two-term mayor. According to campaign materials, he is running for re-election because he wants to work to expand state efforts against climate change, guarantee universal health-care coverage, develop affordable housing, and protect the public education system.

    Laird is a former city councilmember, mayor, member of the California State Assembly, and California Secretary for Natural Resources under Governor Jerry Brown. His other professional experiences include serving as executive director of the Santa Cruz AIDS Project and teaching state environmental policy at UC Santa Cruz. While serving as assemblymember for the 27th district, Laird authored 82 bills that were signed into law.

    Laird is endorsed by a strong majority of local progressive groups, including California Democratic Party, California Legislative LGBT Caucus, California Teachers Association, and NARAL Pro-Choice California. He is also endorsed by California Association Highway Patrolmen, Peace Officers Research Association of CA, and Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart. However, the threat of Republican Nohrden’s potential policies greatly outweighs Laird’s few problematic endorsements and lack of campaign finance pledges. According to our analysis, Laird is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

     

    John Laird

    Elect John Laird to push SD-17 in the right direction.

    About the Position

    State senators represent and advocate for the needs of their district at the California State Capitol.

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Statewide Ballot Measures

Proposition #14

  • No Position
    Vote on Stem Cell Research Funding
  • Voters will be asked to vote YES to authorize $5.5 billion in bonds to continue a large-scale, long-term stem cell research funding initiative or vote NO to not authorize bond funding and let the initiative lapse.

    Proposition 14 asks voters to authorize a total of $5.5 billion in state general obligation bonds to continue the California stem cell agency that funds research, therapy, and grants to educational, nonprofit, and private entities for Alzheimer’s, Parkison’s, epilepsy, strokes, and other central nervous system and brain conditions and diseases. Prop 14 is an extension of Prop 71, which created the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) in 2004. The CIRM ran out of the original Prop 71 funds in 2019 and has not been funding new projects since then.

    YES on Prop 14 Supporters Say

    Vote YES to continue the CIRM, a state agency that has distributed a significant source of funding to scientific research programs and enterprises across the state, both nonprofit and for-profit.

    • Funding from the CIRM has been available for 15 years, and ending the program could have a limiting impact on research programs in areas that include central nervous system and brain conditions, but also immunotherapy trials, cancer research, and vision-loss research currently funded by the CIRM.
    • In 2018 (the last year it was fully funded), CIRM-funded companies raised more than $1 billion in funding from outside investors; a sign of validation not just for the companies and their therapies, but also for CIRM and its judgment.
    • Stem cell research has the potential to lead to groundbreaking medical treatments, which we need more than ever in the face of COVID-19.
    • CIRM has changed its policies for those who receive CIRM funding through an academic or nonprofit institution to require project proposals to address considerations of racial, ethnic, sex, and gender diversity, which is an important step in remedying past inequities in medical research. It is important to note that this policy change does not appear to apply to for-profit entities funded by the CIRM.
    NO on Prop 14 Supporters Say

    Vote NO to not authorize the sale of $5.5 billion in state bonds for the CIRM and eliminate a financially burdensome stem cell research program that no longer has significant impact on medical research.

    • The federal government provides significantly more funding for stem cell research now  than it did 16 years ago, which makes the CIRM less necessary as a source of stem cell research funding. According to National Institute of Health estimates, the federal government will spend $2,129 billion on stem cell research just this year alone, while the CIRM has granted a fraction of that, $2.7 billion, in its entire 16-year history. Private-sector funding is also growing for stem cell research.
    • There is a lack of accountability and transparency around the funds distributed to the various research entities, as there is no legislative oversight in the program design, and the program has built-in conflicts of interest that Prop 14 does not address. In fact, multiple sources state that the majority of the board overseeing the CIRM come from institutions that have received the bulk of the CIRM’s spending.
    • Prop. 71 was designed to kick-start the research at a time when federal funding was blocked. Opponents say the CIRM should continue its work as a self-sustaining nonprofit organization or close down and allow federal grants and venture funding to push the industry forward.
    • The California Constitution prevents the state from holding equity, and Prop 14 is designed in such a way that any returns the state could generate are then used to improve the affordability of stem cell treatments, with no possibility of paying back the interest being paid back over many years by the state.
    • Prop 14 will add billions of dollars in debt through bond financing tied to the state's General Fund. The bond interest has to be paid first, which makes the overall General Fund budget smaller for other services for years, even while the debt from Prop 71 still hasn't been paid back.
    Top Funders of Prop 14

    Robert N. Klein II, a Silicon Valley real estate developer and the top donor for Prop 14, was also the chief author of Proposition 71, which authorized $3 billion in bonds to create and maintain the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine in 2004. There is no registered financial opposition.

    Misinformation

    There is no notable misinformation about Proposition 14.

    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape

    Voters will be asked to vote YES to authorize $5.5 billion in bonds to continue a large-scale, long-term stem cell research funding initiative or vote NO to not authorize bond funding and let the initiative lapse. Proposition 14 asks voters to authorize a total of $5.5 billion in state general obligation bonds to continue the California stem cell agency that funds research, therapy, and grants to educational, nonprofit, and private entities for Alzheimer’s, Parkison’s, epilepsy, strokes, and other central nervous system and brain conditions and diseases. Prop 14 is an extension of Prop 71, which created the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) in 2004. The CIRM ran out of the original Prop 71 funds in 2019 and has not been funding new projects since then.
    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #15

  • VOTE YES
    Yes to Schools and Communities First
  • Vote YES on Prop 15 to provide between $6.4 billion to $11.5 billion in additional funding to local schools and governments. 

    Proposition 15 asks California voters to raise an estimated $6.4 billion to $11.5 billion in funding for local schools and governments by increasing property taxes on commercial and industrial properties based on current market value instead of the price they were purchased for. Based on the most recent report by Blue Sky Consulting Group, 10% of the biggest corporate property owners will pay 92% of the funding and more than 75% of total revenues will come from properties that have not been reassessed since prior to 1990 -- just 2% of all commercial and industrial properties! Proposition 15 will maintain the existing commercial and industrial property tax at a 1% limit and will also maintain existing exemptions for small businesses, homeowners, agricultural lands, and renters.

    Why voting YES on Prop 15 matters
    • Proposition 15 closes a corporate tax loophole by taxing all large commercial properties of $3 million or more at fair market value – not purchase price. This reform will restore $6.5 billion to $11.5 billion of critically needed funds for schools and local community services without raising taxes on homeowners, renters, or small businesses.
    • Prop 15 also cuts taxes for small business owners who have been especially harmed by the pandemic.
    • Prop 15 is a way to invest in our communities without having to raise taxes on small businesses, renters, and homeowners. Closing the corporate tax loophole will restore billions to underfunded public schools that serve low income and communities of color.
    • California schools have the largest class sizes in the nation, and California ranks 41st (with adjusted cost of living) out of all states and Washington, D.C. in spending per K-12 student (California Budget & Policy Center). 
    • California is ranked 51st in three categories: number of K-12 students per teacher, number of K-12 students per guidance counselor, and number of K-12 students per librarian (National Education Association / National Center for Education Statistics).
     
    Misinformation about Prop 15 includes
    • "It hurts small businesses" -- FALSE. Prop 15 exempts small businesses, homeowners, renters, and agricultural land.
    • "It taxes working families" -- FALSE. 92% of the revenue comes from only 10% of large commercial properties that have been undertaxed for decades.
    • "It is a step towards repealing Prop 13" -- FALSE. – This is scare tactic used by large commercial property owners to avoid paying their fair share. Prop 15 protects homeowners, renters and small business owners.
    • "Small business operations from home aren’t protected under Prop 15" -- FALSE. Prop 15 not only clearly exempts small businesses, but helps them by exempting the first $500,000 of business equipment from being taxed. This eliminates this tax for nearly all small businesses.
     
    Primary Funders of Prop 15 include

    Prop 15’s main opponents include realty and industrial property owners, while the California Teachers Association and SEIU California State Council are main supporters.

    Top Funders of Prop 15

     

    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 15

    Prop 15: Schools and Local Communities Funding Act - YES

    Vote YES on Prop 15 to provide between $6.4 billion to $11.5 billion in additional funding to local schools and governments. 

    Proposition 15 asks California voters to raise an estimated $6.4 billion to $11.5 billion in funding for local schools and governments

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #16

  • VOTE YES
    Yes to Affirmative Action
  • Vote YES on Prop 16 to repeal 1996’s Prop 209 and reinstate affirmative action in the state.

    Proposition 16 asks California voters to amend the Constitution of California to repeal Prop 209’s restrictions on local and state governments from considering race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, education, and contracting. If passed, Prop 16 will permit governments to consider those protected categories in order to promote inclusive hiring and admissions programs in California’s public universities, government, and public agencies.

    Why voting YES on Prop 16 matters
    • It is time that California follows the other 42 states that have taken gender, race, ethnicity, and national origin into account for college admissions and hiring in government and public agencies.
    • Prop 209’s affirmative action ban resulted in an over $820 million loss every year in Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Program (MWBE) contracts with the state of California.
    • Reports conclude that the percentage of contracts granted to MWBEs never returned to pre-Prop 209 levels. Restoring affirmative action is the next step in building a more equitable and diverse future for California.
    • The University of California’s analysis of Prop 209 revealed that affirmative action had increased the population of underrepresented students by at least 12 percent, with the largest effects seen at UCLA and Berkeley.
     
    Misinformation about Prop 16 includes
    • "Gains for women of color in workforce diversity have already been addressed." -- FALSE. Women of color continue to face systemic racism in the wage gap and earn an estimated $946,120 less than white men over a 40-year career.
    • "Black civil workers are overrepresented." -- FALSE. According to the 2018 Civil Service Census of California employees, Black Californians made up 5.5 percent of the total population and 9.8 percent of the total civil-service workforce, compared to white Californians, who made up 37 percent of the total population but 43.5 percent of the total civil-service workforce.
    • "Colleges and universities would be able to use racial quotas." -- FALSE. Racial quotas for university admissions have been outlawed as unconstitutional since Regents of the University of California v. Bakke in 1978.
     
    Top Funders of Prop 16 include
    • Opposition to Prop 16 is sponsored by Students for Fair Admissions, Inc., which contributed to the Californians for Equal Rights committee.
    • Support for Prop 16 is largely financed by philanthropists M. Quinn Delaney and Patty Quillin, California Nurses Association Initiative PAC, California Works (a project of California Labor Federation AFL-CIO), and Elizabeth Cabraser.
     
    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 16

    Prop 16: Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment - YES

    Vote YES on Prop 16 to repeal 1996’s Prop 209 and reinstate affirmative action in the state.

    Proposition 16 asks California voters to amend the Constitution of California to repeal Prop 209’s restrictions on local and state governments from considering race, sex, color,

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #17

  • VOTE YES
    Yes to Restored Voting Rights
  • Vote YES on Prop 17 to restore voting rights to Californians on parole. 

    Proposition 17 asks California voters to amend the Constitution of California to restore voting rights to persons who have been disqualified from voting while on parole. If passed, Prop 17 will restore voting rights to approximately 50,000 Californians currently on parole.

    Why voting YES on Prop 17 matters
    • California is one of the 31 states that do not automatically restore voting rights upon completion of a person’s sentence. In Maine and Vermont, there are no laws that disenfranchise and discriminate against people with criminal convictions even when they’re still serving out their sentences.
    • Parolees who are reintegrating into society resume other civic responsibilities, such as paying taxes and jury duty. Being barred from voting while paying taxes is taxation without representation.
    • In 2017, Black Californians made up 28% of all prison populations despite only making up 6% of California’s total population. With an astonishing and horrifying incarceration rate at 8 times the rate of white Californians, it is clear that the disenfranchisement of parolees is the disenfranchisement of Black voters.
     
    Misinformation about Prop 17 includes
    • "Voting is a privilege" -- FALSE. Voting is a right, not privilege. Projecting voting as a privilege and not a right inherently undermines our democracy. 
    • "Individuals who have not completed their parole period have not completed their sentence" -- FALSE. As soon as a person completes their sentence in prison, they are released into their parole period in order to reintegrate into society. The sentence in prison and parole period are two separate phases.
     
    Top Funders of Prop 17 include

    There are no contributions recorded for support or opposition to Prop 17.

     

    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 17

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #18

  • VOTE YES
    Yes to Expanded Voting Rights
  • Vote YES on Prop 18 to allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary election if they will turn 18 by the following general election.

    Proposition 18 asks California voters to amend the Constitution of California to allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary election if they will turn 18 by the following general election. At the age of 18, Californians are technically given the right to vote in all elections. However, those who are not 18 by the time of the primary are not able to have input on who would or would not appear on their ballot in the general election. A YES vote on Prop 18 solves this problem.

    Why voting YES on Prop 18 matters
    • Nineteen other states, including D.C., allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary election if they will be 18 by the general election.
    • Research has proven time and again that voting is habit-forming. These states recognize the importance of allowing 18-year-olds to vote, to help form their voting habits and amplify their voices.
     
    Top Funders of Prop 18 include

    There are no recorded contributions in support of or opposition to Prop 18.

     
    Misinformation about Prop 18 includes

    There is no prominent misinformation about Prop 18.

     

    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 18

    Prop 18: Primary Voting for 17-Year-Olds Amendment - YES

    Vote YES on Prop 18 to allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary election if they will turn 18 by the following general election.

    Proposition 18 asks California voters to amend the Constitution of California to allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary election if they

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #19

  • VOTE NO
    No to More Housing Inequity
  • Vote NO on Proposition 19 to maintain property tax savings for all and avoid increasing housing inequity.

    Proposition 19 asks voters to amend sections of 1978’s Proposition 13 to increase the number of times a property tax base can be transferred to three times for longtime homeowners. Prop 19 is almost exactly the same as Proposition 5, which was on the 2018 California ballot and overwhelmingly defeated by voters, with 60 percent having voted against the proposition. The main difference in the proposition this year is that Prop 19 includes an additional amendment to Prop 13 that narrows an existing inheritance property tax break and promises to distribute any revenue generated from that amendment toward fire protection agencies and schools.

    Why voting NO on Prop 19 matters
    • Proposition 19 widens the generational wealth gap by giving homeowners older than 55 and other qualified groups a way to keep property tax breaks they receive for having bought their homes decades ago if they move anywhere else in the state, up to three times. They can also keep that break if they move to a more expensive property.
    • Proposition 13 caps most property tax rates at 1 percent of a home’s sale price and holds annual increases in assessed value to 2 percent or less. This means people who purchased their home a few decades ago already pay significantly less property tax than newer homeowners. Prop 19 further builds the wealth of longtime homeowners and denies wealth-building opportunities to people who don’t own a home or who may be struggling to buy one.
    • While Prop 19 does eliminate a $1 million property tax exemption for parent-to-child transfers and could potentially generate state revenue that would be distributed to fire protection agencies and schools, this amendment is being paired with the primary tax break for longtime homeowners to make it more appealing.
     
    Top Funders of Prop 19

    Realtor associations have contributed $36,270,000 in support of Prop 19. There is no registered financial opposition.

     
    Misinformation

    There is no prominent misinformation about Proposition 19.

     

    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 19

     

    Prop 19

    Vote NO on Proposition 19 to maintain property tax savings for all and avoid increasing housing inequity.

    Proposition 19 asks voters to amend sections of 1978’s Proposition 13 to increase the number of times a property tax base can be transferred to three times for long

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #20

  • VOTE NO
    No to More Incarceration
  • Vote NO on Prop 20 to protect criminal justice reforms and constitutional rights to privacy.

    If passed, Prop 20 increases penalties for low-level offenses and would create a state database that collects DNA samples from persons convicted of specified misdemeanors for use in cold cases by repealing parts of Props 47 and 57. Prop 20 would expand the list of offenses that disqualify inmates from a parole program, consider an individual’s collective criminal history and not just their most recent offense, and impose stronger restrictions for a nonviolent offender’s parole program. Additionally, Prop 20 would reclassify theft between $250 and $950 as a felony.

    Why voting NO on Prop 20 matters
    • Prop 20 is a dangerous proposition put forth by Courage Score Hall of Shame Assemblymember Jim Cooper, and it is sponsored by Courage Score Hall of Shame Assemblymember Vince Fong. Time and again, Assemblymembers Cooper and Fong vote to protect police brutality and discriminatory criminal justice policies. Both voted no on AB 1600, which would expedite access to police misconduct records for a trial.
    • Association for L.A. Deputy Sheriffs, L.A. Police Protective League, and the Peace Officers Research Association of California all support and have heavily financed Prop 20.
    • Prop 20 would increase recidivism by removing positive incentives from Prop 57.
    • Parole review boards would consider an individual’s entire criminal history, not just the offense they are on parole for, when deciding to release a person convicted of a felony on parole.
    Top Funders of Prop 20
    • Three police unions are the top funders in support of Prop 20, including the CA Correctional Peace Officers Association, the Association for LA Deputy Sheriffs, and the LA Police Protective League Issues PAC.
    • Philanthropists are the top funders of campaigns against Prop 20, including the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Patty Quillin, and Stacy Schusterman.
    Misinformation about Prop 20
    • "Criminals are getting away with more violent crimes." -- FALSE. The nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that Prop 47, which Prop 20 attempts to roll back, not only decreased racial disparities in bookings and arrests, but also found that violent crimes did not increase after it was passed.

     

    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 20

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #21

  • VOTE YES
    Yes to Local Rent Control
  • Vote YES on Prop 21 to allow cities and counties to establish and regulate rent control.

    Proposition 21 asks voters to amend state law in order to allow (not require) local governments at the city and county levels to establish and regulate rent control on residential properties. This proposition would affect residential properties over 15 years old and exempts individuals who own up to two residential properties. Additionally, Prop 21 would allow rent in rent-controlled properties to increase up to 15 percent over a period of three years with the start of a new tenancy. Prop 21 is more or less the same proposition voters rejected in 2018.

    Why voting YES on Prop 21 matters

    California has the highest rate of homelessness in the nation, which can be attributed to the overwhelmingly high median rates for rent throughout the state forcing residents to pay 50 percent of their income just toward rent.
    The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act prohibits rent control on residential properties built after February 1, 1995. Since then, housing built in California has become accessible only to those who can afford uncontrolled rent increases, and low-income families have largely been shut out from newer housing developments.
    According to a Stanford study, those who lived in rent-controlled properties when Costa-Hawkins passed ended up saving a cumulative total of $7 billion over 18 years, which confirms that rent control is an effective way to prevent displacement from the city.

     
    Misinformation about Prop 21 includes
    • "Makes the housing crisis worse." -- FALSE. With one in three Californians paying 50 percent of their income just for rent, Prop 21 offers local governments the opportunity to prevent displacement, and as a result, prevent homelessness. A person who experiences homelessness will cost taxpayers an average of $35,578, and chronic homelessness generally costs around $100,000.
    • "Removes a landlord’s right to profit." -- FALSE. Prop 21 actually guarantees a landlord’s right to profit.
    • "California just passed AB 1482, which went into effect in January of this year, so California doesn’t need any more rent laws." -- FALSE AB 1482 only affects residential properties built after 2005, and according to Zillow’s analysis, only 7 percent of renters would have benefited from AB 1482’s rent cap in 2018.
     
    Top Funders of Prop 21 include
    • Three of the top 10 property owners in Silicon Valley (Prometheus Real Estate Group, Inc., Essex Property Trust, and Equity Residential) have contributed over $10 million in opposition to Prop 21.
    • The leading funder in support of Prop 21 is the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and its housing advocacy division Housing Is A Human Right is a leading sponsor of the Rental Affordability Act.

     

    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 21

    Prop 21: The Rental Affordability Act - YES

    Vote YES on Prop 21 to allow cities and counties to establish and regulate rent control.

    Proposition 21 asks voters to amend state law in order to allow (not require) local governments at the city and county levels to establish and regulate rent control on residential p

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #22

  • VOTE NO
    No to Worker Exploitation
  • Vote NO on Prop 22 to protect labor rights and classify app-based drivers as employees, not contractors.

    Proposition 22 asks voters to exempt companies like Lyft, Postmates, Uber, DoorDash, and others from a recently implemented state worker protection law, Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), so they can classify gig economy drivers from ride-share and delivery companies as independent contractors, not as employees. Additionally, Prop 22 would restrict local regulation of app-based drivers and would criminalize the impersonation of drivers.

    Why voting NO on Prop 22 matters
    • By classifying workers as contractors and not employees, companies like Lyft, Uber, and DoorDash are exempted by state employment laws from ensuring basic protections to their workforce including minimum wage, overtime, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation.

    • Currently, rideshare and delivery workers are entitled under AB 5 to labor rights that every other employee in California receives, such as the right to organize, health insurance, and Social Security benefits. Prop 22 would take those rights away.

    • AB 5 also guarantees paid family leave, paid sick days, and unemployment insurance to those classified as gig employees. Proposition 22 asks voters to make gig-economy employees exempt from this law and replaces their rights with fewer benefits of much less value to their workers.

    • More than 2,000 drivers have filed claims against Uber and Lyft for over $630 million in damages, expenses, and lost wages. Prop 22 will codify Uber and Lyft’s abilities to systematically steal wages from drivers.

    • Uber and Lyft currently owe California  $413 million in unemployment insurance contributions due to misclassifying drivers as independent contractors under AB 5. If Prop 22 passes, Uber and Lyft would get away with not paying what they owe.

     

    Misinformation About Prop 22
    • "The cost of ride-share will go up, decreasing the amount of people who will pay for rides and services and forcing companies to lay off more workers." -- FALSE. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office found that because these companies would not have to pay for standard employee benefits and protections (roughly 20 percent of total employee costs), companies can charge lower delivery fees and fares. It is projected that this will increase companies’ profits and drivers’ state income taxes.
    • "Prop 22 will guarantee 120% of minimum wage to all drivers." -- FALSE. The UC Berkeley Labor Center released a report that estimates Prop 22’s “pay guarantee” for their Uber and Lyft drivers would only end up being $5.64 per hour after accounting for all the expenses that drivers are responsible for themselves. At that rate, even if an individual worked 10 hour days, 7 days a week under Prop 22, they would be living below the California poverty line.

    • "Prop 22 will give health insurance to all drivers." -- FALSE. Under Prop 22, companies do not pay for health insurance, but instead provide a stipend to drivers. This stipend is valued at only 82% of the minimum coverage provided by state law, and is actually worth even less because workers would owe state and federal income taxes on the stipend. Prop 22 forces drivers to work more than 39 hours a week to qualify for the health stipend, so many workers would never even qualify for the stipend. For drivers who do qualify, Health Access California estimates that the health stipend would be just a couple hundred dollars—and could be just tens of dollars for younger workers—not enough for drivers to cover the purchase of their own health insurance.

     

    What Is At Stake

    If Prop 22 is passed, all future labor legislation surrounding Uber and Lyft would have to be approved by 7/8 of the total California State Legislature. Making this happen is virtually impossible considering Uber and Lyft have donated $2 million to the California Republican Party campaign committee. This is why Uber and Lyft are spending millions of dollars: to make their operations virtually untouchable in terms of regulation.

     

    Top Funders of Prop 22
    • Lyft, Uber, and DoorDash are leading contributions in support of Prop 22, with over $148 million between the three of them. Both InstaCart and Postmates have contributed $27 and $11 million each respectively, for a grand total of over $187 million in support of Prop 22. Their coalition to pass Prop 22 is now the most expensive California ballot measure since 1992.
    • International Brotherhood of Teamsters, United Food & Commercial Workers International Union, Service Employees International Union, United Food & Commercial Workers Local 770, and SEIU-UWH Political Issues Committee have contributed a total of $5.5 million in opposition to Prop 22.

    Top Funders of Prop 22


    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 22

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #23

  • VOTE YES
    Yes to Quality Clinical Care
  • Vote YES on Prop 23 to require infection reporting and state approval to close or reduce services at hospitals.

    Prop 23 would add sections to the California Health and Safety Code about how dialysis facilities can operate, requiring a physician to be on-site at every dialysis clinic to oversee operations, and mandating that each chronic dialysis clinic submit quarterly reports on dialysis-related infections to the California Department of Health. The on-site physician would assume a non-caregiving role, as they would not be required to be specially trained in nephrology or interact with patients at all. Additionally, Prop 23 would prohibit discrimination against patients based on their coverage or care.

    Why voting YES on Prop 23 matters:
    • Prop 23 builds upon current federal requirements that report dialysis-related infections to the National Healthcare Safety Network at the Center for Disease Control to include reporting these infections to the California Department of Health.
    • Having a physician on-site at chronic dialysis clinics during all treatment hours provides a higher quality of medical care with an additional layer of patient safety.
    • Prop 23 protects the 80,000 Californians who require dialysis on a weekly basis by ensuring chronic dialysis clinics cannot discriminate against patients based on how they are paying for their treatments. Insurances like Medi-Cal pay less for dialysis treatments than private insurance, which is why corporations like DaVita and Fresenius are spending millions to oppose this proposition.
     
    Top funders of Prop 23 include:
    • Opposition to Prop 23 is heavily financed by dialysis giants Davita and Fresenius, who maintain larger profit margins if Prop 23 fails.
    • Support for Prop 23 is financed by SEIU United Healthcare Workers West PAC.
     
    Misinformation about Prop 23 includes:
    • “Prop 23 is just being used as leverage in unionizing against dialysis employers.” A spokesperson for SEIU-UHW West, Sean Wherley, said that health-care workers in dialysis clinics “want these [initiative] reforms regardless of what happens with their union efforts.”

     

    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 23

    Prop 23

    Vote YES on Prop 23 to require infection reporting and state approval to close or reduce services at hospitals.

    Prop 23 would add sections to the California Health and Safety Code about how dialysis facilities can operate, requiring a physician to be on-site at every di

    Last updated: 2020-10-20

Proposition #24

  • VOTE NO
    No to Pay-For-Privacy Schemes
  • Vote NO on Prop 24 to protect consumers’ personal information.

    Proposition 24 asks voters to amend the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) to include pay-for-privacy schemes, which provide better services and internet connection to those who pay more in order to protect their personal information while providing suboptimal services for Californians who cannot or do not want to pay more. Additionally, Prop 24 caters to tech companies by allowing them to upload a California resident’s personal information as soon as that resident’s device, computer, or phone leaves the state’s borders, and permits tech companies to completely ignore a programmable universal electronic “do not sell my information” signal. Under current law, privacy follows a Californian wherever they go, and businesses must honor the electronic signal.

    Why voting NO on Prop 24 matters
    • Prop 24 removes the existing ability for a consumer to direct all companies to not sell their personal information with one instruction. Instead, consumers will have to direct each individual website and app to do so. This puts an impossible burden on consumers.
    • Prop 24 removes the existing prohibition on companies from tracking a consumer's data once an individual leaves the state boundary.
    • Prop 24 requires consumers to pay for privacy, disproportionately affect working people and families of color. California should maintain net neutrality so people do not have to pay for companies to safeguard their personal information.
    • Prop 24 would create a new state agency to exclusively oversee and enforce consumer privacy. Adding a new agency that costs an estimated $100 million annually is pointless when the power to enforce new consumer privacy rights is built into the position of the State Attorney General and the justice department.
    • Prop 24 is written to make it extremely hard for legislators to pass new legislation regulating consumer privacy in the future.

     

    Misinformation about Prop 24
    • "It will better safeguard consumers’ information." -- FALSE. Prop 24 will weaken existing safeguards and strengthen them only for consumers who are financially able to pay for better protections.
    • "It will give us the strongest privacy rights in the world." -- FALSE. Not only does Prop 24 revoke several protections established in the 2018 California Consumer Privacy Act, but Europe's GDPR protects consumer data regardless of location within the EU and consumers’ citizenship/residence. This is not true of Prop 24.

     

    Top Funders of Prop 24
    • Alastair Mactaggart, a real estate developer from San Francisco, donated the majority of the total funds for the support campaign entirely by himself, with a total of $4,892,400.
    • A coalition called California Consumer and Privacy Advocates Against Prop 24 has been registered in opposition, with $20,000 contributed by California Nurses Association.

     

    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 24

    Last updated: 2020-10-29

Proposition #25

  • VOTE YES
    Yes to Ending Cash Bail
  • Vote YES on Prop 25 to eliminate the use of cash bail in pretrial incarceration.

    Proposition 25 is a referendum, which asks voters to directly weigh in on whether to keep or reject SB 10, a bill originally passed in 2018. Voting YES on Prop 25 will keep SB 10 in place and eliminate the cash bail system of pretrial incarceration in California, which is directly responsible for the disproportionate incarceration of Californians who cannot afford bail. The bail bond industry is directly responsible for placing Prop 25 on the ballot and calling SB 10 into question.

    Why voting YES on Prop 25 Matters
    • Nearly two-thirds of the jail population—nearly 48,000 people—are incarcerated pretrial, and California’s average bail is $50,000, more than five times the national average. The cash bail system directly ties an individual’s wealth and ability to pay to the question of whether they pose a risk to the community and their conditions of pretrial release. This system is unfair from every angle and perpetuates the cycle of poverty and incarceration existing in many low-income communities, which are also disproportionately Black and brown communities.
    • In New Jersey, where similar legislation passed eliminating the use of cash bail in 2017, overall pretrial incarceration rates have dropped, racial disparities in pretrial incarceration rates have lessened, and the use of invasive monitoring strategies after release have been applied in far fewer eligible cases (8.3 percent) than feared. California’s SB 10 goes further than New Jersey’s legislation by fully eliminating the cash bail system and has the potential to have even more positive outcomes.
    • The bail bond industry uses its influence to lobby for legislation favorable to them, which perpetuates but also escalates the cycle of poverty and incarceration. Passing Prop 25 will permanently end their influence in the political process.
    • If Prop 25 does not pass, voters will be perceived as having rejected SB 10’s reforms, in particular the effort to end the cash bail system. This will be framed as a significant precedent for opponents of criminal-justice reform to use in lobbying and legal arguments to keep the system intact in the future.
    • If Prop 25 passes, community groups will have the opportunity to advance further criminal-justice reforms related to this initiative.
     
    Special Circumstances Surrounding Prop 25
    • Originally, there was unanimous support for SB 10 from most criminal-justice reform groups across the state. The process of making amendments to the legislation caused many groups to drop their support. In our research, we discovered that the legislative decision-making process around SB 10 was strongly influenced by applied political pressure, resulting in a process and an outcome with less buy-in. Despite the widely acknowledged flaws in the overall process, a strong majority of Courage California's statewide progressive partners are aligned around a yes position on Prop 25.
    • In a ruling in August 2020, the state Supreme Court issued a binding resolution in the case of In re Humphrey that orders all trial judges in the state of California to consider a person’s ability to pay in setting the cash bail amount for pretrial release. Grassroots groups objecting to Prop 25 argue that this ruling already creates systemic reform that will mitigate the impacts of the cash bail system, making SB 10 unnecessary. Advocates for Prop 25 contend that ending the cash bail system is an essential first step in eliminating the cycle of poverty and incarceration entirely.
    • Organized opposition to Prop 25 from grassroots groups is strongest in Los Angeles County, where community leaders have been most successful in partnering with county officials to design and implement community-based alternatives to the incarceration system. In Los Angeles County, there are major concerns about how the implementation of a state-mandated pretrial incarceration program could interfere with their major strides in redressing the harms done to communities by an unfair justice system. These concerns are entirely valid, and attention will be focused on the actions of L.A. County’s Board of Supervisors to ensure that the alternatives to incarceration recommendations developed through a robust, community-driven dialogue process will continue to be implemented. The breakthroughs achieved by L.A. County’s criminal-justice reform movement have been characterized as historic and a model for other counties in California to follow, and this work must continue to move forward without delay.
     
    Concerns About Prop 25

    There are three major components to grassroots groups' objections to Prop 25. Here we provide our assessment of these concerns and how they can be addressed in the future if Prop 25 passes.  

    • Algorithm-based risk-assessment tools will be used as the core component of the new pretrial incarceration system in all California counties. There are concerns about how inherent biases in the system could influence the implementation of these tools. There are two notable countermeasures in place to address these concerns, and both are overseen by the Judicial Council, the policymaking body of the California court system.
      • First, counties must validate the chosen risk-assessment tool for the communities in which it will be used. This is not a standardized approach to validation; the tool must be proven to provide a higher level of responsiveness and sensitivity to community conditions before it is implemented. The Judicial Council will have to certify each county's tool, and the tool must be revalidated for the communities it serves every three years.
      • Second, counties are now required by law to track and publicly report how a defendant’s circumstances and background correspond to the decision a judge makes about their pretrial release conditions. This data has to be collected, compiled, and reported annually to the Judicial Council, as well as made publicly available for review. This law was passed the year after SB 10 to provide an avenue to monitor the implementation of SB 10, and is an important step in making risk-assessment tools more accountable and the overall pretrial incarceration system more transparent.
    • The new pretrial incarceration system is directly implemented by the probation departments of each county in California. Probation departments are currently responsible for investigating offenders’ backgrounds, making sentencing recommendations to the court, enforcing court orders, and supervising sentenced offenders. They also recommend and collect restitution, oversee community service, and provide oversight of criminal-diversion programs. There are strong concerns about how probation departments will approach the oversight of people who have not been convicted of crimes. Probation supervision has been historically used for people who have been convicted and are released, and SB 10 expands that pool of people to those who are accused but not convicted. Probation violations are a primary driver of incarceration in LA, and in Sacramento under SB 10, initial data indicates that 30-40% of people released end up rearrested and 90%+ of those that are released have high conditions of release.
      • We encourage counties to 1) require probation departments to work in partnership with other agencies, including the public defender’s office, mental-health services, and other community-based programs, in both implementing the risk-assessment system and in the pretrial release and monitoring of released individuals; 2) use their power to hold probation departments accountable for how they implement pretrial incarceration programs in communities with a particular focus on ensuring non-invasive monitoring, minimizing conditions of release, and maintaining a low rearrest rate ; and 3) invest in alternatives to the overall incarceration system, such as Measure J on the ballot in Los Angeles County, which amends the county charter to require that at least 10 percent of the county’s local revenues go to community-based programs, such as affordable housing and rent assistance, job training, and mental-health and social services.
    • There are also concerns that judicial discretion is greatly expanded by SB 10. While this is technically true, there are two additional changes to the judicial role in the pretrial system that limit judicial discretion.
      • First, anyone arrested with a misdemeanor, with some exceptions, is considered to not pose a significant risk to a community and is automatically released without going in front of a judge. This greatly reduces the overall role that a judge currently plays in the pretrial incarceration system.
      • Second, while judges are not required to adhere by the risk scores findings in their determination of pretrial release or pretrial detention, this is not an expansion of judicial discretion from the current system. Instead, SB 10 simply gives judges additional information to inform their decision.
      • Third, all judicial decisions are now required to be publicly recorded and therefore more transparent and available for public scrutiny. This is essential because judges now have increased discretion over the more serious felony cases, and they also have discretion to carve out other other exclusions from release for misdemeanors at the county-level. Under the new system, when a prosecutor exercises their option to seek detention, a judge must hold a hearing and make the findings available on record before they order the person detained pretrial. In the current cash bail system, judges can use their discretion to set cash bail at any number with no requirement to make any findings public, which effectively detains an individual with no judicial accountability. The new judicial transparency requirement makes it easier for an individual to appeal a judge’s preventative detention decision. This is a clear improvement over the lax requirements that existed before SB 10.
     
    Misinformation About Prop 25

    The bail bond industry has invested heavily in a No on the Prop 25 campaign in an attempt to spread misinformation and save the industry.

    • “Prop 25 denies a U.S. constitutional right.” FALSE. The 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the courts from imposing excessive bail. By eliminating the cash bail system, Prop 25 simply makes this prohibition irrelevant.
    • “Prop 25 puts our public safety at risk.” FALSE. Judges will have increased judicial discretion over the more serious felony cases, which means defendants who may pose a threat to a community or specific individual will be given individual consideration. All decisions made by judges will also be required to be publicly recorded.
    • “Prop 25 deprives justice for crime victims.” FALSE. In New Jersey, where similar legislation passed eliminating the use of cash bail in 2017, a recent study concluded that defendants are continuing to show up for court cases at the same rate and that people released under the new regulations are no more likely to commit a crime while waiting for trial than those released under the previous system on money bail.
    • “Prop 25 creates additional biases against minorities and the poor.” FALSE. In New Jersey, similar legislation passed eliminating the use of cash bail has reduced racial disparities in the jail population. In California, new reporting requirements enable racial disparities to be systematically tracked for the first time. And ending cash bail immediately eliminates the most immediate factor in the criminal-justice system that drives the cycle of poverty and incarceration existing in many low-income communities, which are also disproportionately Black and brown communities.
     
    Top Funders of Prop 25
    • The two largest donors in support of Prop 25 are Connie and Steve Ballmer. Steve Ballmer is the former CEO of Microsoft and current owner of the L.A. Clippers team. The Ballmers are philanthropists who have given over $300 million to 70 nonprofits over the last three years for gun safety and racial justice. They have also pledged $25 million in coronavirus aid. In a statement, they said that “far too many people that are not a danger are getting stuck in jail waiting for their trials simply because they can’t afford bail.”
    • The next largest donor is John Arnold of Arnold Ventures and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Arnold’s foundation created an algorithm-based pretrial risk-assessment tool called the Public Safety Assessment (PSA) that is currently used in 30 different counties including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Tulare counties in California. The foundation has also created several think tank projects including the National Partnership for Pretrial Justice and Advancing Pretrial Policy and Research, which produce research, policy advocacy, and implementation support for the PSA specifically and more generally for the process of replacing cash bail with pretrial risk assessments. Arnold has been sued for a judge’s use of PSA resulting in a murder by the released suspect. In our research, we did not find a connection between Arnold and any of the three pre-trial assessment service providers that have been approved for use under SB 10, which are Journal Technologies Inc., FivePoint Solutions, and Equivant. It is also unclear if the PSA will continue to be used in California counties under SB 10. Arnold is a former hedge fund manager and was involved in the Enron scandal in which he walked away with an $8 million bonus.
    • The other three top donors in support of Prop 25 are SEIU California State Council; Action Now Initiative, LLC; and philanthropist Patty Quillin.
    • The top donor in opposition to Prop 25 is Triton Management Services, LLC, the parent company of Aladdin Bail Bonds.
    • The American Bail Coalition, consisting of several insurance and bail companies, is opposed to Prop 25, as it wants the bail system to remain in place to avoid going out of business.

     

    Progressive Landscape

    Progressive Landscape - Prop 25

     

    Prop 25

    Vote YES on Prop 25 to eliminate the use of cash bail in pretrial incarceration.

    Last updated: 2020-10-20