Election season came to a highly anticipated end Tuesday night, and in California it wasn’t just the close presidential race that put voters on the edge of their seats. Californians decided the fate of 11 propositions that could completely alter the political atmosphere in this state.
The ballot this November included measures for tax increases to fund education, harsher punishment for human traffickers, repeal of the death penalty, and amendments to the “Three Strikes” law. Voters also decided on who will represent them in the state Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives.
Here are the results:
Props. 30 & 38: Neck and neck in recent polls and until the final precinct numbers came in, both of these measures proposed tax increases in order to fund education. Prop. 38 failed to even reach the 50 percent necessary to pass. Prop. 30 was narrowly able to succeed in the election, barely getting past the 50 percent requirement. Governor Jerry Brown, the figure behind Prop. 30, strategically tied the measure to the budget. Its failure would have meant billions of dollars in cuts to not only education but also other public services. In recent weeks, the governor has been diligently out on the campaign trail talking to campuses all across California in order to boost momentum for the suffering measure. The grassroots campaign efforts and political strategy paid off in the end. Schools and colleges also won’t face an additional $6 billion in cuts, and UC and CSU students will not see $250 million cut from each of their budgets.
Prop. 32: This measure was portrayed as reformation to campaign finance that would prohibit both corporations and unions from contributing directly to candidates and automatically collecting dues from members’ payrolls. However, opposition to Prop. 32 avidly campaigned on that argument these restrictions to interest groups only truly limit unions. While corporations maintain their same resources. Attempts at similar legislation have tried and failed in the past under the might of unions, who will never stand to lose their main source of funding. The multi-million dollar efforts of labor leaders resulted in a 10-percentage point defeat of the proposition Tuesday evening.
Props. 34&36: Prop. 34 was an attempt to repeal the state’s death penalty for ethical and financial reasons. But despite Field Poll numbers predicting the measure would pass, Prop. 34 failed to pass the electorate. The state of California will maintain its death row, which has taken the lives of 13 convicted criminals in its 34 years and costs taxpayers $137 million a year according to the ACLU.
However voters did approve Prop. 36 to amend California’s “Three Strikes” Law. This means that individuals will serve a 25-year-to-life sentence only if their third strike is considered serious or violent. Prop. 36 is estimated to affect about 3,000 current inmates who were convicted of minor crimes by allowing them to appeal their cases. Prop. 36 will save California an estimated $100 million savings for California each year.
Prop. 39: Voters passed this measure that will alter California’s corporate income tax code. Bay Area investor, philanthropist and environmentalist Thomas Steyer played a lead role in designing the measure and was the primary financial backer. Prop. 39 will possibly raise $1 billion for the state’s revenue by closing a loophole that allows out-of-state businesses to reduce their California income taxes by having facilities and employees located outside of the state. A new program to promote green buildings will receive half of the revenue generated by Prop. 39 and the remaining will go toward the general fund.
Congressional District 7: The election between Dr. Ami Bera and Rep. Dan Lungren involved more outside funding than any other House race, raising $8.3 million. The winner of this close Sacramento district election couldn’t even be determined until the final votes were counted early Wednesday morning. But in the end, Bera won over incumbent Lungren by just couple hundred votes. This is Dr. Bera’s second consecutive time running in the competitive California district. Bera has managed to defeat Lungren, despite the incumbent's decades-long career in California politics. However, the fact the race was determined by merely 184 votes means there may be a recount of ballots if Lungren requests.
Assembly District 8: In the battle for Sacramento’s District 8 in the State Assembly, Democrat Ken Cooley defeated Republican Peter Tateishi adding to the Democratic super-majority in the state Legislature. Cooley dramatically outspent the moderate conservative, raising millions of dollars in contributions and expenditures compared to Tateishi’s hundreds of thousands. Cooley ran on platform of experience and effectiveness, airing several ads touting his policy work in Rancho Cordova. Cooley maintained a comfortable lead over Tateishi throughout the tallying of precinct numbers, and ended with roughly 52 percent of the vote.
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