On Nov. 4, polls will be open for voting from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), of all young voters between the ages of 18 and 29, only 24 percent voted in the 2010 midterm elections. We highly encourage everyone to vote in this year’s midterm elections. The propositions will directly affect many people living in California, as well as the UC Davis community, so it is important to inform yourself of the pros and cons of each proposition before you vote.
According to the Yolo County Elections Office website, there are 37 polling places throughout Davis; including one polling place on the second floor of the Memorial Union in the events room. There are also several in Sacramento, West Sacramento and Woodland.
We hope to provide you some information on the propositions on this year’s ballot, including some of the benefits and drawbacks in each of the propositions.
Proposition 1, known as the Water Bond proposition, was put on the ballot by the legislature. It would allocate $7.545 billion to fund state water supply infrastructure projects. The projects would address surface and groundwater storage. The drawback is having to build dams throughout California, which experts say can have detrimental effects on the ecosystem. Critics have said that the proposition would also cause an increase in the privatization of water.
Proposition 2, known as the State Budget Stabilization account, would transfer state general fund revenues to a budget stabilization account annually. Half the revenues would be used to repay state debts. Revenue would be collected over the next 15 years. California is currently in debt of approximately $423 billion, with an 18.7 percent debt-to-GDP ratio. Supporters of the bill say it would benefit California because it will address the large debt without implementing new taxes. However, critics of the proposition say it will actually limit school districts’ ability to save and that it will be detrimental to school district funding.
Proposition 45, concerning healthcare insurance rate changes, would require an insurance commissioner to approve any change in rates proposed by a health insurer. The proposition would exempt large group health plans. Additionally, they would have to provide notice of change in premium rates.
Proposition 46 addresses medical negligence lawsuits as well as drug and alcohol testing of doctors. It also requires a review of statewide prescription database before prescribing controlled substances to patients. The proposition would increase the pain/suffering cap in medical negligence from the current $250,000 to $1.1 million, while adjusting annually for inflation. Some drawbacks are that it could significantly increase doctors’ medical-liability insurance, which might push doctors to leave California.
Proposition 47 was put on the ballot by petition signatures. It requires a misdemeanor sentence instead of a felony sentence for certain drug and property offenses. This would not be applicable to those with prior convictions for serious or violent crime and registered sex offenders. The proposition could save the state and county criminal justice systems hundreds of millions of dollars annually. The state’s savings could be spent on school truancy and dropout prevention, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and victim services. However, it would potentially release 10,000 felons from state prison, reduces penalties for stealing guns and reduces penalties for possession of “date rape” drugs.
Proposition 48, which was put on the ballot by petition signatures, would implement a tribal gaming compact between the state and the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians and the Wiyot Tribe. The proposition would allow them to start a new casino in Madera county and would require the tribes to pay a one-time payment of $16 million to $35 million in addition to annual payments of $10 million for 20 years. They will also be allowed to game in the area. Supporters of the proposition say that the casino would generate thousands of jobs and promote self-sufficiency in the tribe. Critics say the proposition would instead cause an increase in crime and pollution in the Central Valley as well as breaking a promise that casinos would only be on reservation land.
Please vote in the midterm elections and have your voice heard on these issues.
Graphic by Jennifer Wu