-First up is the legalization of marijuana: Initiative 1377 is currently pending signature verification. The signatures are currently randomly being tested and the random sample deadline is March 24th. According to the Secretary of State’s web site, “If the result of the random sample indicates that the number of valid signatures represents between 95% and 110% of the required number of signatures to qualify the initiative measure for the ballot, the Secretary of State directs the county elections officials to verify every signature on the petition.” Marijuana advocates are no doubt eagerly awaiting the results in order to vote on legalization come November.
-In other ballot news, Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina endorsed this week an initiative that would curb the political power of public employees unions, otherwise known as the “citizen power initiative.” According to Sign on San Diego, the initiative would “prohibit public employees unions from spending members’ dues money for political purposes. Instead, they would have to ask members to donate to their political fund.” This type of proposal has been a favorite of Republicans, but voters have already defeated similar propositions twice in the past, in 1998 and 2005. In a speech to Republican women, Fiorina argued, “[Unions] have become the costly backbone of special interest politics in this state and the nation.”
As of February 9, the Secretary of State cleared two more ballot initiatives for circulation (another one is pending at the Attorney General’s office). Here’s the rundown:
-1451: Eliminates State Commission on Redistricting. Consolidates Authority for Redistricting with Elected Representatives. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. This initiative would essentially remove the redistricting commission that was approved by voters last November through Proposition 11 and would instead return redistricting privileges to the Legislature. Proponents also argue that it will also save the state millions in redistricting costs if drawing congressional districts is left to just elected officials and not a commission. It’s yet another twist in the redistricting wars, as the commission approved by voters was narrowly passed.
The LA Times reports that “A new measure to repeal Proposition 11, which was passed narrowly by voters in 2008 with a boost from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, was on the streets and gathering signatures as of Monday. Sponsor of the measure UCLA law professor Daniel Lowenstein is a former staffer for Jerry Brown, and was appointed by Brown to be the first chairman of the state’s election watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission, in 1974.”
See the full text here.
In 1988, voters approved Proposition 103, a consumer protection law that applied great reforms on the auto insurance industry, such as anti-trust laws, civil rights laws, and limiting the costs of policies. However, a new report obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle reveals that Mercury Insurance may have engaged in activities that are in opposition to Proposition 103, which is made all the more interesting by the company’s aggressive efforts to promote an insurance initiative on June’s ballot.
According to the Chronicle, evidence against the insurance company includes:
- “Raising insurance premiums after its sales agents quoted prices for discounts for which the consumer was not eligible.”
- “Flagging some consumers for higher rates if they had been in an accident, even if it was not their fault.”
-“Not immediately granting coverage to applicants including military personnel on active duty, "artists," those employed "in the entertainment industry as actors, dancers, etc.," and emergency vehicle drivers.”
A spokeswoman for Mercury insisted that such allegations had nothing to do with Proposition 17 and should not be used to “muddy the waters” leading up to the June ballot. However, opponents of Mercury's initiative point to the insurance company's practices as a way to demonstrate that the company is not to be trusted and the proposition is not in the best interest of Californians.
The Surge of Applicants: After a surge in applications, the State Auditor has decided to extend the application deadline for the Citizen's Redistricting Commission to February 16th at 5 p.m. So far, almost 20,000 Californians have applied to be a part of the commission, which will be in charge of redrawing the state legislative and Board of Equalization districts. In response to criticism of the applicant pool’s lack of diversity (see coverage here), State Auditor Elaine Howle said that a media campaign that brought in more applicants is likely to increase the diversity of the submissions. Readers will recall that the Redistricting Commission was enacted by voters in November of 2008 through Proposition 11. If you’re interested in putting through a last minute application, then find out more here.
Props to Cash: The Capital Alert reports that the California Teachers Association has placed $500,000 into a campaign account in order to support efforts to qualify its proposed ballot initiative that would repeal tax benefits for corporations.
Park Funds: The Capital Alert also reports that the California State Parks Foundation has also reported placing campaign funds in the hands of a committee that will support its measure to add $18 to the annual vehicle registration fee in order to raise funds at parks across the state. The measure would create free admission at all parks, but the cost of the registration fee would be higher.
First up is the California Teachers Association, which is looking to qualify an initiative for the November ballot that will repeal corporate tax benefits. The Capital Alert reports that “The tax changes are worth an estimated $1.7 billion annually and scheduled to begin in 2011-12.” The CTA has formed a new committee called “Taxpayers for Jobs and Against Corporate Handouts” in order to spearhead election efforts. You can view what was filed to the Attorney General’s office here.
Next up is the Los Angeles Labor Federation, as it increases its efforts to get an initiative on the ballot that would limit legislative term limits from 14 years to 12 years, even though one can serve the entirety of their years in one house. The major committee charged with getting the initiative on the ballot is “Californians For A Fresh Start,” which has already collected $580,000 in donations, according to The Capital Alert. The proposal has already been cleared for circulation and has until April 22nd to gather the necessary signatures (694,354). Donors include: the Los Angeles Jobs Political Action Committee, Majestic Realty, and the BNSF Railway Co.
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