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Law Review: Porter’s humble recommendations on state propositions

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I am always reluctant to put out my opinions on statewide ballot measures because opinions and perspectives vary, but I must say, a lot of folks ask for this edition of the Law Review because, let’s face it – it’s hard to get on top of state propositions. With great humility (my middle name) here we go.

President of the United States: You know where I am on this. You can re-elect a narcissistic, pathological liar or vote for Joe Biden. It is that simple. That’s my proposition.

Proposition 14: NO. This is yet another measure to issue $5.5 billion in bonds for state stem cell research. I am sure quite worthwhile, but we do not need to spend $260 million a year for 30 years. That “no” comes in part from my proposition philosophy: when in doubt, vote no.

Proposition 15: NO, probably. Prop. 15 is an attempt, largely funded by the Zuckerbergs and the California Teachers Association, to partially overturn Prop. 13 passed in 1978 to place the cap on property taxes. Prop. 13 was an anti-tax measure that severely reduced funding for public agencies. Having failed to overturn Prop. 13 previously, this measure aims for the sweet spot and proposes to repeal the Prop. 13 property tax protections only for commercial and industrial properties worth more than $3 million. Of course, this is designed to get the support of us less wealthy property owners.

The most important thing, of course, is to VOTE.

Proposition 16: YES. Prop. 16 repeals Prop. 209 enacted in 1996. Prop. 209 mandated that the state cannot discriminate or grant preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, education or contracting. I support the affirmative action proposed in Prop. 16, but understand the potential negative impacts, especially if you are adversely affected.

Proposition 17: YES. This ballot measure allows people who have been convicted of felonies and have served their terms, but are still on parole – to vote. Why not?

Proposition 18: YES. Prop. 18 allows 17-year olds who will be 18 at the time of the next general election to vote in primaries and special elections. Any law that encourages 17-year olds to get involved in government and elections deserves support.

Proposition 19: NOT SURE. Read this measure which allows homeowners who are over the age of 55, disabled or wildfire/disaster victims to take a portion of their property tax base with them when they sell their home or buy a new one. A similar bill was defeated in 2018, but was “sweetened” by putting some of the money into a state fire response fund, a popular beneficiary these days.

Proposition 20: NOT SURE. Prop. 20 rolls back Governor Brown’s “leniency” laws which were enacted in 2011 and 2014 by the Legislature reversing the “tough on crime” policies he helped introduce in the 70s and 80s. Prop. 20 allows prosecutors to charge repeat or organized petty theft as a felony, requires probation officers to seek tougher penalties for those who violate the term of their parole three times and excludes those who have been convicted of domestic violence and certain non-violent crimes from early parole consideration. Your choice.

Proposition 21: NO. Prop. 21, which has been defeated several times in the past, expands local governments’ power to adopt rent control laws. This measure, geared to apply to residences over 15 years old, is largely financed by AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

Proposition 22: YES, I guess. This is the measure that allows Uber, Lyft and similar drivers to be independent contractors versus employees, and it enacts several labor policies related to app-based jobs. It may be unpopular, but it seems to me that Uber and Lyft drivers are poster-child examples of an independent contractor, going to work when and if they want to. Prop. 22 may have hidden negatives – so read it before you cast your vote.

Proposition 23: NO. Prop. 23 requires a physician or P.A. on-site at dialysis clinics, and consent from the state for a clinic to close. Nah.

Proposition 24: YES. Would strengthen California’s already strongest-in-the-nation Consumer Privacy law and establish a California Privacy Protection Agency. The measure would beef-up financial penalties and allows consumers to demand that personal information not be shared at all, rather than simply not sold. This bill may be overkill but I support any law that limits how our personal information is used.

Proposition 25: YES, I think. Prop. 25 asks voters to either approve (yes) or strike down (no) a state law that banished money bail from the state criminal justice system. In 2018, the Legislator ended cash bail in California giving judges leeway to determine whether someone who was arrested should remain incarcerated based on the risk they are deemed to impose on themselves and others. A “yes” vote keeps the state law ending cash bail, a “no” vote reinstates the bail system.

There you go, read the Propositions. The most important thing, of course, is to VOTE.

Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, California, and Reno, Nevada. Jim’s practice areas include: real estate, development, construction, business, HOAs, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at [email protected] or http://www.portersimon.com.



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