Updated: Nov 19, 2020
The fate of 12 state measures have been decided by California voters.
By Marcos Franco, Cassandra Nava, and Aimee Martinez
With the passage of Proposition 22, Uber and Lyft can continue hiring drivers as contractors. (Public Domain)
Californians voted on 12 propositions leading up to the Nov. 3 election that covered important issues like voting for parolees, expanding privacy laws and keeping rideshare drivers as independent contractors. Here are the most recent results of six ballot measures pertinent to students.
Proposition 16, a ballot measure that would have repealed the ban on affirmative action, failed to pass with 56.5 percent of Californians voting no. The section of the California Constitution that prohibits considering diversity in hiring and educational enrollment will stay the same. This is the second time since 1996 that Californian voters have rejected affirmative action. It was only passed in five bay area counties and Los Angeles. California is currently one of nine states that bans affirmative action.
The bill was originally proposed by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber earlier this year in the hopes that the increased political interest, the pandemic and deaths by police would help reverse Proposition 209, which banned affirmative action in 1996. According to Yes on 16, this proposal would have been a step toward deconstructing systematic racism and sexism. The website also states that since the ban, the admission rate at UC campuses for Latino and black students has decreased by 26 percent and the measure would have helped level the disparity.
In an article by the San Francisco Chronicle, some supporters suggested that voters may not have supported the measure because they were confused about it, such as believing it would implement quotas and discriminate against Asian American students. On the Californians for Equal Rights website, opponents stated this was not the case and cited some polls taken over the years to emphasize how public opinion on the subject has remained consistent. Among them was a 2016 Gallup poll that asked whether students should be accepted into higher education on the basis of merit, even if it meant fewer minorities, or if race should be considered to increase diversity, even if those students would not normally be considered. Seventy percent responded in favor of merit.
Proposition 17, which restores the right to vote for parolees, was passed with 58.8 percent of the votes. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, it will allow 50,000 former prisoners to vote while on parole. Until now, the California Constitution prohibited people convicted of felonies from voting until their sentence and parole were completed, though it did allow those on probation to vote. Nineteen other states currently allow parolees convicted of felonies to vote, according to Ballotpedia.
Annual county costs will be increased to pay for more voter registration and ballot materials as a result. State Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, a supporter, argued that parole was meant to integrate prisoners back on to the community, not to be a punishment. Others argue that voting helps them to do just that, reenter society.
Proposition 21, which would have enacted rent control in California, was not passed in the Nov. 3 election. Ballotpedia displays that 59 percent of voters voted no on the proposition. This has not been the first ballot measure to address housing issues, and voters rejected (the similar) Proposition 10 in 2018.
Proposition 21 would not have changed any rent control laws in place, but would have allowed cities and counties to pass their own measures. Although it was rejected, tenants are still protected under Assembly Bill 1482 which was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last year. This bill caps annual rent increases at 5 percent plus inflation in most rental housing more than 15 years old.
Since Proposition 21 did not pass, this means that the state’s ban of certain forms of rent control will stay in effect.
California voters have given rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft the green light to continue hiring drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. Proposition 22, which grants an exemption to tech companies from a state labor law requiring them to provide drivers basic employee protections and benefits, was carried to a victory last week. With all votes having been accounted for, Prop. 22 has passed with a 58 percent approval rate from voters.
Prop. 22 has stood out on the ballot since rideshare companies have spent over $200 million advertising in support of the proposition, making it the most expensive state measure in history. The approval has given app-based drivers the go ahead to continue operating without interruption. Supporters of Prop. 22 claim that with its passing, drivers can continue to earn money as they please without having a designated work schedule. Opponents claim that the tech giants have found a sneaky loophole to conduct business in California without fully abiding to state labor laws.
Since passing, Uber’s stock price has increased 14 percent as well as an 11 percent increase from Lyft. With the approval of the measure, users will continue requesting rides and commuting as they did prior to the proposition.
Voters in California voted in favor of Proposition 24. The measure that seeked to expand the state’s consumer data privacy laws passed with 56 percent of the vote on Election Day. Loopholes created by the 2019 California Consumer Privacy Act will be closed with Proposition 24’s California Privacy Rights Act.
Data privacy and concerns are a growing issue, and are especially popular locally. Proposition 24 aims to limit businesses from using personal data, triple the fine for violating children’s privacy rights and create a new agency that will enforce these rules and privacy laws. According to Fortune, consumers will now be able to ask businesses to not share their personal data, which is a customary practice in online advertising and marketing. Consumers will also be able to ask businesses to stop hoarding personal information for longer than necessary.
The state agency in charge of enforcing these new privacy rules will go into effect starting in 2023.
California voters rejected Proposition 25, which would have kept Senate Bill 10 — a legislature to replace cash bail with risk assessment for detained criminal suspects. With 55.9 percent voting no, SB 10 is repealed and the cash bail system remains. According to Ballotpedia, the assessment would have categorized suspects as low, medium and high risk. Those deemed low risk would have been released from jail until the trial. The goal of supporters was to create a safer, less expensive system, so that a rich person accused of a serious crime could not be released simply because they could afford it. But opponents argued that a computer algorithm would replace judges and be racially biased.
Results are considered unofficial until certified on Dec. 11. Until then, Californians can expect propositions to go into effect the fifth day after the secretary of state certifies election results. Some changes voters will see are parolees’ right to vote and strengthened online privacy rights.