California Propositions 2012: Prop 34, Prop 36 and a Complete Guide to All the Propositions


Californians will vote on 11 propositions this Tuesday, including measures to eliminate the death penalty and raise taxes. To help you make your way through the complex California ballot, we have compiled a basic summary of the 11 propositions and a list of resources to help you make up your mind.

California’s 11 Propositions

Proposition 30 increases taxes and funds education.

If approved, the measure proposed by Governor Jerry Brown would increase the sales tax by a quarter cent for the next four years and raise income taxes on Californians earning over $250,000 a year by 1-3%. The proposed revenue increases are intended to help balance the state budget without demanding further cuts to education, health, and public safety.

Among those in favor of the measure are: Gov. Jerry Brown (D), League of Women Voters of California, California Democratic Party, and the California Teachers Association. Parties against include: Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, National Federation of Independent Business California, and the Small Business Action Committee.

You can visit the Prop 30 campaigns' websites to read more about arguments in favor and against the proposition. 

Proposition 31 changes the budget cycle and gives the Gov. more fiscal authority.

Prop 31 is a fairly complicated measure proposed by California Forward, a nonpartisan government reform group seeking to increase the efficiency and transparency of the government. The bill would create a two-year state budget cycle, allow the governor to unilaterally cut spending during fiscal emergencies, and create new laws regarding increases in state spending or decreases in revenue. Proponents say the bill will increase fiscal oversight and require performance reviews for state spending, while opponents say the bill is poorly written and will lead to gridlock in Sacramento.

In favor of the bill are groups such as the: California Republican Party, California Chamber of Commerce, and California Forward. Those against include the: League of Women Voters of California, California Tax Reform Association and Health Access.

The San Fransisco Chronicle  has recommended a yes vote, and the and the Los Angeles Times has suggested a no vote.  Prop 31 Facts has your no on 31 information, and Accountable CA has information in favor of the proposition.

Proposition 32 limits unions’ political influence by prohibiting political contributions by payroll deduction.

Prop 32 would prohibit unions from using automatic payroll deductions for political purposes and would prohibit unions and other corporations from contributing directly or indirectly to candidates.

The California Republican Party is joined by the Citizens for California Reform, Democrats for Education Reform, and the National Federation of Independent Business-California in support of the measure. The California Democratic Party, California Labor Federation, California League of Women Voters, and just about every union are against it.

Visit the No on Prop 32 or Yes on Prop 32’s websites for more information.

Proposition 33 raises auto insurance rates for the uninsured.

Current law would be changed if Prop 33 passes to allow insurance companies to set prices based upon whether a driver has previously carried auto insurance. Backers claim drivers with a history of prior coverage would see a discount but increased costs would face those drivers new to auto insurance.

Those in favor include the California Republican Party, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the American Legion. Those against include the California Democratic Party, Consumer Watchdog, and the California Nurses Association.

Visit the Yes on Prop 33 or Consumer Watchdog’s No on Prop 33 sites for more information.

Proposition 34 ends the death penalty and saves the state money.

Prop 34 would end the death penalty in California and require all of those found guilty of murder in the state to work while in prison, directing an additional $100 million to law enforcement agencies for investigations of homicide and rape cases. The measure is expected to save the state $100 million annually in the first few years, growing to around $130 million annually thereafter.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the California Catholic Conference of Bishops, The League of Women Voters, and the California Democratic Party are in favor of the proposition. Those against include Californians for Justice and Public Safety and the California Republican Party.

Waiting for Justice shares the no-on-34 opinion, while SAFE California (Savings Accountability Full Enforcement) shares the yes perspective.

Proposition 35 increases penalties for human traffickers.

Prop 35 expands the definition of human trafficking and imposes more severe penalties for the crime, including prison sentences up to 15-years-to-life and fines up to $1,500,000. It also requires convicted traffickers to register as sex offenders and provide more information regarding their internet activity.

Supporters include both the California Republican and Democrat Parties as well as Planned Parenthood, NOW, and a coalition of women’s groups. Those against include the California Association for Criminal Justice and the Peace and Freedom Party. The Los Angeles Times notably endorsed a no vote. Supporters maintain the Case Act website, and no single website seems to unite the opposition.

Proposition 36 revises the three strikes law.

Overcrowding prisons and the rising expense of incarceration are two reasons Prop 36 would revise the three strikes law to impose life sentences only when the third felony conviction is serious or violent. The measure could save Californians up to $90 million annually over the next couple of decades.

Groups in favor include the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the California Democratic Party. Those against include the California Republican Party and the Sheriff Keith Royal, the President of the California State Sheriff’s Association.

Yes on 36 arguments are summarized here, and no on 36 arguments can be found here.

Proposition 37 would require labels for genetically-modified food.

One of the most publicized propositions on the ballot is Prop 37 which would require labeling on all raw and processed food with genetically modified material and would prohibit these foods from being advertised as “natural.”

Organic foodies galore join the Green Party and the California Democratic Party in favor of the proposition, with several food companies and the California Republican Party against it.

The Los Angeles Times recommends a no vote, citing a lack of scientific evidence for the harm of GMOs, and is joined by the San Fransisco Chronicle which says the bill is worded poorly.

Visit the respective websites of the campaigns for and against the proposition for more information.

Proposition 38 is an alternative to Prop 30, opposed by Gov. Brown.

Prop 38 provides an alternative to the tax increases proposed by Gov. Brown in Prop 30. It would raise personal income taxes for anyone earning over $7,316 a year and would deposit the revenues into an account earmarked for education.

The California State PTA supports Prop 38. Those against include the Republican and Democratic Parties and the California Chamber of Commerce.

Yes on 38 and No on 38 websites can provide more information.

Proposition 39 will raise multi-state corporate taxes for clean energy.

Multistate businesses would be liable to pay income taxes on a percentage of their sales in California under Prop 39, with the revenues used to create clean energy jobs in California.

In favor of the proposition include the: American Lung Association, California Teachers Association and the California Labor Federation. Those against include the: California Republican Party and California Employers against Higher Taxes.

You can read up further on Prop 39, in favor and against.

(And finally) Proposition 40 approves the new districts drawn by the Citizens Redistricting Commission.

A yes vote approves the redistricting of State Senate districts already made by the nonpartisan Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC), while a no vote would require new boundary lines to be drawn by officials supervised by the CA Supreme Court.

Those in favor of abandoning the CRC’s districts have largely abandoned their position. The League of Women Voters, AARP California, and the California Chamber of Commerce are all in favor of a “yes” vote.

In the words of the Los Angeles Times, “Who supports Prop. 40? Anyone with a brain.”

More resources for the confused California voter

If the summaries above and proposition websites don’t sway your vote, consider the following resources for information.

Newspaper endorsements: The Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Union Tribune San Diego all offer their editors’ opinions of the measures (and local and national candidates). Nonpartisan websites: CalVoter, the League of Women Voters-California, and the Easy Voter Guide can help you navigate your way with nonpartisan information.


PolicyMic will be covering the 2012 election and proposition results live from California. For live updates and analysis, click here.