This is the proposition originally denied a place on the California ballot. Now allowed by the court, Proposition 59 is merely advisory with no force of law. It instructs the California Congressional delegation to use their Constitutional authority to find a means, including a new Constitutional Amendment, to overturn the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v Federal Elections Commission (558 U.S.310) and other judicial precedents that have expanded the presence of unlimited corporate money to be used to influence election outcomes. Although advisory, Prop. 59 will express the “mind of the citizens” in calling for strategies to end the power of money in our campaigns.
This measure is a labor rights and human safety concern. It requires producers (owners) of adult film production companies to have performers wear condoms in performing vaginal or anal sex acts during filming. It further requires producers pay for STD (sexually transmitted diseases) testing for all such performers, post the regulation about condoms at each film site, and obtain state health license at beginning of filming. Anyone with financial interest in such film may be sued for failure to adhere to law including talent agencies knowingly referring performers to non-compliant studios. Permits performers, state of California, or state resident to enforce violations. Adult film performers are 64 times more at risk for various STDs including HIV than the general public. California Occupational Safety and Health already requires that adult industry performers be protected from such harm, and Proposition 60 will strengthen those regulations. The industry will not leave CA since adult film production is legal only here and in NH. It is not an issue of sexual prudishness but of public health for these workers. It is worth doing to preserve lives.
The state of California spends $3.8 billion annually on pharmaceuticals administered through state health and medical programs ranging from Medi-Cal to state hospitals to prisons. That is approximately half of all prescription purchasing in the state. This proposition would direct the state to set the purchase price for drugs it distributes. While most agencies already do that, this would unify the lowest target costs as equal to rates paid by the federal Veterans Administration. Those drugs on the VA formulary would be purchased in California at VA rates. This would not cover all drugs, but the purchasing power of the combined agencies would provide enormous leverage to do the same for non-VA formulary pharmaceuticals. As the 7th largest economy in the world, state price standards are a powerful base from which to negotiate and provide incentive to drug manufacturers. It could set a trend for further required negotiation by all sectors.
Every mainline Protestant denomination, Catholics, and many other faiths oppose the death penalty. The use of capital punishment is sometimes justified Biblically – “an eye for an eye” – but the greater premise of faith is “restorative justice” that seeks healing and wholeness, not state sponsored violence and vengeance. Two factors come into our deliberation. First, the death penalty falls heavily on people of color while white people convicted of the same crime escape. Second, since 1973 Death Penalty Information Center states that 156 people have been found conclusively innocent. At least two people in other states recently executed left evidence that now shows overwhelmingly that they were innocent. That is blood on society’s hands. Moreover, the victims’ friends and families have no absolute assurance that the real perpetrator is not walking free. There can be no justice and no healing when this remains a powerful possibility. Therefore the appeals process must take time to make sure that those sentenced for capital crimes get every available opportunity to contest their sentencing. The monetary costs to society are enormous. It has cost California $5 billion to execute 13 people since 1978. The emotional costs to survivors is worse since at every turn they need to appear to state their objection to release.
Proposition 62 will change all death sentences, for those already on death row and any new capital cases, into life sentences without the possibility of parole. The perpetrators will never walk the streets again. This is a life sentence, period. Save for exculpatory appeals, the costs of reconsideration will be reduced. This is restorative justice at work. Life without the possibility of parole ends all of our costs and moral uncertainties. It is the essential step to a criminal system that works for everyone.
This proposition comes in response to the waves of mass shootings that have devastated our nation. Because controversies swirl around the meaning and content of the Second Amendment, legislators have struggled with a way to limit the use of large-capacity weapons and keep them and their ammunition from people who have already been judged incapable of responsible gun ownership.
California complies with all federal laws on who is permitted to own and not own firearms. We use strict background checks and the state Department of Justice keeps a database of firearm owners used by their agents to remove firearms from persons no longer legally allowed to have them. There is also a limit on numbers of firearms, a ten-day waiting period before clearance to possess, and recording and reporting requirements for sales. In 2016 the state also enacted laws to license ammunition dealers and to regulate the standards for sale of that ammunition. In 2019 dealers will have to do background checks for anyone not already cleared to carry concealed weapons and will have to report the buyers’ identities and types of ammunition purchase. Further legislation will limit ownership of large-capacity magazines – the types used in so many recent mass shootings across the country – and created a penalty for failure to report lost or stolen firearms to police.
Proposition 63, if passed, will replace some of these provisions with tighter ones. It will require permits to purchase and permits to both buy and sell ammunition from individuals and dealers. It will prohibit bringing ammunition in from out of state without it passing though licensed dealers first. It creates a stronger set of regulations for removing guns from people who are convicted of offenses that prohibit them from owning firearms at all. It tightens reporting on sales, loss, theft and, while it reduces the time of forfeiture for failing to report, it requires the name of the offender to be submitted to the list of prohibited persons at the national registry. More important, the sale of large capacity magazines (above 10 rounds of ammunition) will be banned for sale to most people. Those who had such magazines before 2000 may retain them unless they have a firearm that operates only with such magazines.
In all civil society, rights are cherished. However, there are limitations on time and place for any right – even free speech – that may be enacted for the General Welfare. The plague of mass shootings made possible by the existence of ever-greater weapon capacity can be regulated with judicious oversight that controls but does not eliminate the right. This is a balance between the right to bear arms and the right of the general public to walk and live freely in society.
This proposition allows people 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate, or transport small amounts of marijuana for personal use. It permits local governments to regulate and tax commercial production and sale of marijuana to people 21 years old or older. It also maintains current prohibitions against driving while impaired. It protects children, workers cultivating and processing marijuana, small growers against corporate farming, protects the environment from abusive growers.
No one wishes to have a society in which people feel impelled to use harmful or addictive substances for self-soothing. America has a high rate of addictive behavior in their uses of alcohol, tobacco, food, gambling, sex, and other media to ease their psychic pains. Adding another legal though regulated component, marijuana, seems contrary to ending this problem. Addiction exists, legal or not, and it is far more likely that we can reduce addiction by eliminating the underground economy that has a rabid profit motive to sweep users into its clutches.
Marijuana is a fact of life in every community despite its illegality. Prohibition has not stopped the use of marijuana, but it has added a culture of criminality identical to what occurred in alcohol prohibition during the 1920s. It has spawned large gangs who make millions in the cultivation and transportation of the drug and is a significant portion of the dreadful drug cartel actions along our state’s border with Mexico. The toll at the border and within our cities, the death and destruction of lives over competition to sell marijuana, must end. Prohibition has inflicted far more harm than the marijuana itself. We, as people of faith, bear the same responsibility doctors do: first do not harm. When the “solution” outweighs the problem in terms of death and violence, we must alleviate that harm.
Marijuana has been called a “gateway drug” leading users into far more dangerous drug uses. But we believe the “gateway” is not the drug itself but the culture of criminality in which users must buy and consume marijuana that leads them to associate with pushers and gangs who profit from first selling marijuana, then in increasing the drug use with more and different substances.
Another critical reason for support for decriminalization of marijuana lies in much of the same reasoning that the NAACP brings to their support of this proposition – penalties for marijuana possession and use have fallen in discriminatory ways on especially people of color. Legalization of marijuana would result in charging minors with simple underage consumption, as we do with alcohol and tobacco. They should not be placed into a criminal drug culture and into prison because they lack adult judgment on these matters.
One argument for continuing as we are has been that people with addiction problems can receive mandated treatment via the drug diversion policies mandated by Proposition 36 that the state passed some years ago. However, with state budget crises, funding for diversion has been cut to the bone, drug courts have been markedly reduced. Proposition 64 increases drug prevention and treatment funding We supported Proposition 19 and support Proposition 64 as a step toward ending the violence and death of the drug wars and cartels and to end discriminatory drug sentencing. It is the rational way to deal with a substance that already infuses our society.
This proposition is a cynical ploy to offset Proposition 67. The ban on plastic bags may or may not be overturned, but the sponsors of Proposition 65, all out-of-state manufacturers of plastic bags, wish to look concerned for the impact of their products. By directing the small charge of 10 cents for carry-out bags to a new Wildlife Conservation Board, they want to appear environmentally conscious. In fact Proposition 65 is an effort to turn grocers against the bag ban and environmentalists by taking the income from sales of paper bags and diverting it to a non-existent programs. It has, in fact, turned many of us against the sponsors for a sneaky theatrical trick.
Given the data from Death Penalty Information Center that 156 people have been released from death row proven totally innocent, the last thing the state of California should be doing is reducing appeals and escalating the speed of executions. Billed as justice for victims, it is not. When the execution occurs, all contact with law enforcement ends withdrawing the support that may still be badly needed especially when it becomes clear that nothing has changed at all for those left behind. The Death Penalty does not deter murder, not even of prison guards who are more likely to be killed by non capital offenders. It serves no real justice, only revenge and then by a society that places itself in an untenable position of committing legal murder. It is an immoral and socially irresponsible measure.
This, as with Proposition 65, violates our commitments to environmental good. Vote YES to keep the ban
This is a referendum on an existing law so that to keep the law banning non-reusable plastic bags we vote YES. To overturn the ban and permit plastic bags in stores again, we vote NO. The plastic bag ban is an inconvenience and can be a hardship for poorer people who need to find alternative carriers that cost money. But the overall contribution of this ban to the improvement of our communities, our environment, to the well being of our wildlife definitely offset the initial inconvenience. We think this is a critical moment to change our throw away society into one that cares for creation even through this simple step.
The Legislative season is over, but there remains work to do with our Governor.
Here are updates:
Thanks to you we were able to get an increase in SSI funds for those on disability – a small Cost of Living Allowance. That was in the budget, so it does not require further action from us.
We also got the cap on the Maximum Family Grant lifted. Now, babies born to families already on CalWORKs will receive an addition $133 per month for that child. This, too, went into the budget and is a reality.
We did not even know that Assembly Member Cheryl Brown (D-San Bernardino) was pushing a resolution, AJR 35, that told Congress to remove the prohibition on food stamps for those on disability. This resolution changes nothing immediately – that is a federal action – but it passed unanimously, both parties, both houses, and is now being sent to Congress. This is a significant step in righting the wrong of cutting food stamps from people who most need them.
What does require action are:
AB 1066 – Overtime for farm workers. This is an historic and path-breaking bill giving farm workers parity on overtime pay with all other workers. This has been a central focus for National Farmworkers Ministry and for people of faith. That it passed is almost miraculous since we’ve been working on this for decades.
AB 1761 and 1762. These bills assist the victims of human trafficking. 1761 permits the victim to use the fact of enslavement to protect against charges of non-serious, non-violent crimes committed under that duress and to have records sealed. 1762 vacates records of prostitution and the like when the person so charged was trafficked. These bills correct horrible wrongs done to victims of human trafficking who are victimized again by the indifference of the judicial system to their plight.
SB 1107 (Allen, D-Santa Monica) – This bill would permit local governments to create public financing for elections. It passed, at the 11th hour with a small bi-partisan vote. The Governor needs to hear from us that signing this into law is the will of the people. There is a Constitutional issue since some years back voters declared we could not do this, but Common Cause and Clean Money Campaign believe it does not violate that directive. Let the Governor know we think this is a critical first step for ending the power of money in elections.
NOTE to those of you in Sen. Hueso’s district, San Diego 40: he refused to vote on this. After Republican Sen. Huff did, Hueso first put up an Aye vote, then took it back. He needs to hear from you that this cowardly behavior is not acceptable. His offices are:
Chula Vista 619-409-7690. El Centro: 760-335-3442.
SB 1349 (Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys) This bill directs the Secretary of State, in conjunction with the Fair Political Practices Commission to create a user-friendly record of all political donations to any campaign, local, state, federal, candidate or ballot issue. Bringing transparency to our election donations system is critical as more money enters the system, then hides under obscure committee names – “Americans For” or “Californians Against”. This requires full disclosure that we, the voters, may see.
The contact site for Governor Jerry Brown is compromised. Firefox has determined your contact information could be stolen, so we are bypassing the site in favor of calls or FAX numbers.
Capitol – 916-445-2841 and FAX 916-558-3160. This is the preferred number, often busy. Be persistent!
Los Angeles – 213-897-0322 and FAX 213-897-0319.
San Francisco – 415-703-2218 and FAX 415-703-2803.
Please let your voices be heard at the Governor’s office. No one can take his acceptance of our work for granted, not even the AB 1066 farm worker overtime bill. His past association with the farm worker movement and Cesar Chavez has proven very unreliable in his decisions, so lift your voice for justice, for putting people ahead of profits.
The Rev Dr Rick Schlosser