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Arguments for and against propositions, measures on the Nov. 8 ballot

Prop 51. School bonds. Funding for K-12 and community college facilities. Initiative statute.

Proposition 51 would authorize $9 billion for construction and modernization of K-12 public schools, charter schools and California Community Colleges facilities.

For: This would allow California to improve basic health and safety standards in schools, repair and upgrade older schools and expand the amount of classrooms available in order to create smaller class sizes.

Against: The proposition would cost an additional $500 million each year on top of the $2 billion Californians are already paying. Funding would go toward those first in line such as large wealthy districts rather than smaller districts needing help.

Prop 52. Medi-Cal hospital fee program. Initiative constitutional amendment and statute.

Most private hospitals currently have charges imposed on them that are scheduled to end on Jan. 1, 2018. However, this proposition would extend them permanently, which would help fund Medi-Cal health care services, care for uninsured patients and children’s health coverage.

For: This would extend California’s Medi-Cal hospital fee program that generates over $3 billion a year in federal matching funds. The funds help pay for children’s health care services, seniors and low-income families.

Against: Because it would remove the accountability for $3 billion of taxpayer dollars, it would give hospital CEOs the money, allowing them to have no independent audits and no requirements on how the money is spent.

Prop 53. Revenue bonds. Statewide voter approval. Initiative constitutional amendment.

If the bond amount exceeds $2 million, it would require statewide voter approval before any revenue bonds can be issued for certain projects.

For: This would allow taxpayers to know the true cost of projects, have a say as well as hold politicians accountable.

Against: Proposition 53 takes away local control and jeopardizes water supply, bridge safety and local repairs. In addition, it has no exemption for natural disasters and emergencies, and repairs after a major earthquake or flood may be delayed up to two years.

Prop 54. Legislature. Legislation and proceedings. Initiative constitutional amendment and statute.

Legislatures would have to publish bills on the Internet for 72 hours before voting begins. This would also require them to record their proceedings and post them on the Internet.

For: Having a bill published online for 72 hours would make the state government more transparent. It also gives everyone the opportunity to review, debate and contribute to the bill.

Against: If a bill needs to be changed quickly, this proposition will make lawmakers wait three days until any change can be made as well as slow down legislators’ ability to create bipartisan solutions for California’s biggest problems.

Prop 55. Tax extension to fund education and health care. Initiative constitutional amendment

This would extend the temporary personal income tax on income taxpayers exceeding $250,000 from 2012 by 12 years. The income tax would continue until 2030 instead of 2018.

For: Because the current tax rates would be maintained, the proposition prevents $4 billion in cuts to California’s public schools and would increase children’s access to health care.

Against: Voters voted on this in 2012, hoping it would be temporary and end in 2018, not in 2030. State budget estimates show that having the higher tax is not necessary to balance the budget.

Prop 56. Cigarette tax to fund health care, tobacco use prevention, research and law enforcement. Initiative constitutional amendment and statute.

Proposition 56 would increase tax by $2 per cigarette pack and make other tobacco products and electronic cigarettes containing nicotine have an equivalent increase.

For: California taxpayers are already paying $3.5 billion annually even if they do not smoke and taxing these products will help pay for smoking prevention and health care.

Against: This is a $1.6 billion tax increase and would give health insurance companies $1 billion. Only 13 percent of the money would help smokers and prevention.

Prop 57. Criminal sentences. Parole. Juvenile criminal proceedings and sentencing. Initiative constitutional amendment and statute.

This would allow parole consideration for nonviolent felons and authorize sentence credits for education, good behavior and rehabilitation.

For: It focuses on keeping criminals in jail and rehabilitating juveniles and adult inmates, while also saving money.

Against: Proposition 57 would allow criminals who have committed acts such as rape to get released from jail early. It authorizes immediate release for 16,000 criminals, including some who have been convicted of murder.

Prop 58. English proficiency. Multilingual education. Initiative statute.

Requires that public schools make sure students become proficient in the English language. School districts would have to get parents and the community’s input when developing language programs.

For: This would allow students to learn English as quickly as possible and allow English speakers a chance to learn a second language.

Against: The main focus is not to modernize the way English is taught, but to eliminate parental rights to an English language education for children. Children who are learning English as their second language are learning English faster than previous years and are gaining admissions into universities.

Prop 59. Corporations. Political spending. Federal constitutional protections. Legislative advisory question.

Proposition 59 asks California’s officials to overturn the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision.

For: Voting ‘yes’ would allow Californians to say they want big money out of politics. It would overturn a misguided Supreme Court ruling saying that unlimited campaign spending is free speech.

Against: The proposition would negatively impact small businesses.

Prop 60. Adult films. Condoms. Health requirements. Initiative statute.

Proposition 60 would require adult film performers to use condoms while having sexual intercourse during filming. Producers would have to provide the performers with vaccinations, testing and medical examinations in addition to having to post condom requirements at film sites.

For: Adult film performers would be less likely to encounter life-threatening diseases. They would follow the same workplace protection rules that apply to other industries in California.

Against: For adult film performers or those who distribute or produce adult content, this violates their privacy, and weakens workplace safety, therefore Californians would be allowed to sue them.

Prop 61. State prescription drug purchases. Pricing standards. Initiative statute.

The state would not be allowed to purchase prescription drugs from a drug manufacturer if its price is higher than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Bernie Sanders promotes this proposition.

For: All prescription drugs purchased by the state of California will be priced at or below the price of the same drug from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Against: The proposition has a chance of raising the price of prescription drugs, reduce patients’ access to medicines and create more bureaucracy and lawsuits.

Prop 62. Death penalty. Initiative statute.

Replaces the death penalty with life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

For: This would replace California’s death-penalty system with a life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Prisoners would work and pay restitution. Proposition 62 also guarantees that no innocent person is going to get executed.

Against: It will allow murderers to live off of taxpayers’ expenses and have free health care.

Prop 63. Firearms. Ammunition sales. Initiative statute.

Background checks and authorization from the Department of Justice would be needed in order to buy ammunition. Possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines would be prohibited.

For: Gun violence would be reduced because Proposition 63 requires a background check and authorization to purchase ammunition. It would improve public safety.

Against: The proposition was written by a politician trying to get public exposure, not to make communities safer.

Prop 64. Marijuana legalization. Initiative statute.

Californians over the age of 21 would be able to buy marijuana and grow a small amount at home. This would impose state taxes on sales and cultivation as well as allow local regulation and taxation.

For: This would allow California’s marijuana market to be publicly known, similar to the alcohol industry where it will be controlled, regulated, taxed, tracked and more.

Against: Proposition 64 would make it acceptable for marijuana to be grown near schools and parks. Since the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, the black market and drug cartel activity have increased. California has the possibility of an increase as well.

Prop 65. Carryout bags. Charges. Initiative.

Proposition 65 will require grocery and retail stores to redirect where the money from carryout bags goes. The proceeds will go toward a fund to support specific environmental projects.

For: Without the proposition, stores would gain $300 million while shoppers lose $300 million. This would prevent stores from gaining money off of carryout bags.

Against: The proposition is sponsored by out-of-state plastic companies that do not care about California’s environment.

Prop 66. Death penalty. Procedures. Initiative statute.

It would change death-penalty procedures as well as designate superior court for initial petitions and limits successive petitions. Attorneys who take noncapital appeals would have to accept death-penalty appeals.

For: Proposition 66 would save people, bring closure to victims’ families and justice to murderers.

Against: This would cost taxpayers more money and increases the chance of executing an innocent person.

Prop 67. Ban on single-use plastic bags. Referendum.

Stores would not be able to provide single-use plastic or paper bags. However, it allows the sale of recycled paper bags and reusable bags.

For: Plastic bags currently impact the environment in a negative way. They strangle wildlife, litter communities and increase cleanup costs.

Against: Consumers would have to pay 10 cents on every grocery bag, and the money would be going toward the store, not to improve the environment.

Measure X. Classroom education, neighborhood school repair, student safety measure.

Fresno Unified School District (FUSD) would be allowed to issue $255 million bonds to attract and keep quality teachers as well as repair and upgrade school’s classrooms, science labs, technology and more.

For: The current tax rate would be maintained, not increased, and the bonds would go toward local schools. According to studies, students who work in schools with modern technology will improve in performance.

Against: Some residents do not trust FUSD to properly handle the money.

Measure T.

Section 21 of the Fresno County Charter would appoint the chief probation officer to serve under the county administrative officer.

For: The outdated provision of the charter currently creates jurisdictional confusion between the responsibilities of Fresno County and the Superior Court, therefore Measure T would restore accountability to the probation department.

Against: Fresno County and the Superior Court would continue to have confusion about responsibilities.

Measure U.

For Amend Section 16, it would allow the director of public works to be removed as county surveyor and to appoint a county surveyor. Additionally, for Amend Section 14 and 16, the public administrator position would go from being elected to being appointed.

For: Changing the public administrator position to an appointed position would allow him or her to focus more on promoting safety and seeking justice for victims of crime.

Against: It is not necessary to hire two people to do what one person does now.

Measure L. Electronic bidding

The charter would allow responses and notices through the Internet for formal bidding.

For: Rather than only bidding through hard copies, people would also be able to bid online.

Against: City bid proposals would have to be delivered as a hard copy to City Hall.

  • Ilya Feldman

    Here is everything you need to know about Prop 61’s outside funding sources: both for and against. No on 61 has outraised supporters six-to-one. As of October 16, 2016, opponents have raised $86.9 million, while Californians for Lower Drug Prices has received $14.7 million. The top ten donors to No on 61 are all pharmaceutical companies or companies with interests in the pharmaceutical drug industry. Over 99 percent of contributions to Californians for Lower Drug Prices came from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Polls indicate support for Proposition 61 to be around 69.5 percent.

    Personally, I couldn’t give a flying f_ck about pharmaceutical companies, which are raking in billions in profits, while state and federal government has to subsidize the cost of medicine for people who can’t afford it. That is why I’m voting ‘Yes’ on Prop 61.

    • Person223

      The federal government doesn’t lift a finger to bring a product to market whether it be a drug, a car or a loaf of bread.
      Don’t look now, but those pharmaceutical companies pour a lot of time, money and effort into developing those drugs. They also deserve the profit after they develop it. What do you do for a living? Don’t you deserve money for helping to bring a needed product to market so that others can buy it?
      There is a 2.3% excise tax in ObamaCare of which many are unaware. This cut the profit of one company from $100 million to $50 million. This meant thousands of people lost their jobs at just that one company.