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Election 2022: California Propositions

Climate change, education, abortion rights and other hot button issues are all on the ballot this year. And they will generate tens of millions of dollars in spending and countless campaign ads before Election Day. Here’s everything voters need to know about California’s ballot props.

Get general information about the election, news coverage, an interactive ballot guide, and results on election day.

Proposition 1 — Abortion & Contraception

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What does it do?

This ballot measure would amend the California Constitution to enshrine a fundamental right to reproductive freedom. That includes the right to choose to have an abortion and the right to choose or refuse contraceptives. Because these rights are already protected by state law, Prop. 1 is unlikely to have any financial impact on California, unless a court interpreted it as expanding the government’s obligation to pay for contraception and abortion procedures, which it already does for low-income residents.

Why is it on the ballot?

There is already a right to privacy guaranteed in the California Constitution, but it is not explicitly defined. Historically, the language has been understood to preserve reproductive rights, including through a decision by the California Supreme Court. Abortion and contraceptive access were later expressly protected in state law.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in June overturning Roe v. Wade, however, has raised fears that a change in legal interpretation or partisan control of the now-overwhelmingly Democratic state Legislature could undermine those protections for Californians in the future.

Backed by abortion rights advocates and Gov. Gavin Newsom, lawmakers rushed to place Proposition 1 on the ballot to ensure that reproductive health care remains a constitutional right in California.

What are the arguments for and against?

  • For

Supporters argue that Proposition 1 will prevent California from going backwards on reproductive rights. By putting the right to abortion and contraceptions directly into the California Constitution, they say that reproductive health care will always be a medical decision, not a political one, no matter what party controls state government.

Supporters

  • Yes on 1 committee
  • Abortion rights groups, including Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and NARAL Pro-Choice California
  • California Medical Association
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • League of Women Voters of California
  • SEIU California
  • Equality California
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla and other Democratic statewide elected officials
  • Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and dozens of other Democratic legislators
  • California Democratic Party

  • Against

Opponents say that Prop. 1 is unnecessary to protect reproductive rights in California but is written so broadly that it could face years of protracted court battles to clear up the language, costing the state millions of dollars in legal fees. They raise particular concern that the measure would override state regulations that now limit abortions after the point when a fetus is viable on its own outside of the womb, at about 24 weeks of pregnancy. These late-term abortions are currently only legal if the health or life of the mother is threatened. Supporters say the measure does nothing to change that.

Opponents

Get the one-minute breakdown

Proposition 1 on KPBS Midday Edition
Listen to reporter Jeremy B. White from Politico's California Playbook discuss Proposition 1 on KPBS Midday Edition.

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Proposition 26 — In-Person Sports Betting in Tribal Casinos

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What does it do?

Prop. 26 would allow tribal casinos and the state’s four horse race tracks to offer in-person sports betting. At race tracks, sports betting could only be offered to people 21 or older. Age restrictions on sports betting at tribal casinos would need to be negotiated by California’s governor and each tribe, and written into each tribe’s compact with the state.

The proposition would also allow tribal casinos to begin offering roulette and dice games, including craps.

It taxes sports bets placed at horse race tracks. It doesn’t tax tribes, which are sovereign nations, but it requires tribes to reimburse the state for the cost of regulating sports betting.

The proposition also creates a new way of enforcing some gaming laws, allowing anyone to bring a lawsuit if they believe the laws are being violated and the state Justice Department declines to act. Any penalty and settlement money that results would go to the state.

State analysts say the proposition could generate as much as tens of millions annually for the state. It’s difficult to know the exact amount for a few reasons. New tribal-state compacts might require tribes to pay more to local governments, for example, and it’s unclear how much money will result from the new private lawsuits. The revenue would first be spent on education spending commitments and regulatory costs. If there’s any money left over, it would go to the state’s discretionary fund, as well as to problem gaming and mental health research, and the enforcement of gaming rules.

Why is it on the ballot?

Tribes have long had the exclusive right to offer certain forms of gambling in California, including slot machines and certain card games, such as 21 and baccarat. But sports betting — besides horse racing — isn’t legal in California currently.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could legalize sports betting in 2018, 35 states plus Washington D.C. have made the leap. In California, lawmakers tried to negotiate a deal on sports betting in 2020, but weren’t able to work it out in time to get a measure on the ballot.

Elsewhere it’s proven popular — and lucrative. Americans bet more than $57 billion on sports in 2021. The massive expansion has also concerned advocates, who say that gambling addiction will increase, and that research into the long-term effects of legalizing sports betting has fallen short.

Two different sports betting measures made it onto the ballot for the 2022 election. Prop. 27 would allow online sports betting across the state, while Prop. 26 would allow in-person sports betting only at tribal casinos and horse race tracks. If both pass, both could go into effect, but in all likelihood a court would decide.

What are the arguments for and against?

  • For

Supporters argue it will increase tribal self-sufficiency by bringing more business to tribal casinos. Tribal casinos create jobs, and help tribes pay for services like health care and education. Supporters also say it will protect against underage gambling by requiring people to be physically present to make bets, and by prohibiting advertising to people under 21. They also say it will also generate money for the state of California.

Supporters

  • Yes on 26 committee
  • 27 tribes and tribal organizations, led by tribes with casinos including Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, Pechanga Band of Indians, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation
  • NAACP, California-Hawaii state conference
  • Labor leader Dolores Huerta, and Communications Workers of America
  • Lieutenant Gov. Eleni Kounalakis
  • Treasurer Fiona Ma
  • California Young Democrats, and many local Democratic committees
  • California District Attorneys Association

  • Against

Opponents argue the new gaming law enforcement mechanism will be used by tribal casinos to sue competing card rooms and drive card rooms out of business. If that happens, they argue, it will lead to lost jobs and tax revenue, often in communities of color. Some casinos allow 18 year olds to gamble, so opponents argue the initiative could lead young people to develop gambling addictions. They also argue it will revive the shrinking horse racing industry, which they say endangers horses.

Opponents

  • No on 26 committee
  • Cities including Clovis, Commerce, Compton, and Huntington Park
  • California Republican Party
  • American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees California
  • Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals chapters and local humane societies
  • California Black Chamber of Commerce and California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Get the one-minute breakdown

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Proposition 27 — Online Sports Betting

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What does it do?

Prop. 27 would allow licensed tribes and gaming companies to offer mobile and online sports betting for adults 21 and older outside Native American tribal lands. Gaming companies — such as FanDuel and DraftKings — could only offer sports betting if they made a deal with a tribe.

The measure creates extremely high thresholds for gaming companies to do business in California, making it all but impossible for smaller gaming companies to compete.

The proposition creates a new division within the state’s Justice Department to regulate online sports wagering. That division could also decide whether to approve new forms of gambling, such as betting on awards shows and video games. It also gives the Justice Department additional powers to address illegal sports betting.

Tribes and gaming companies would pay fees and taxes to the state that could total several hundred million dollars a year, state analysts estimate. The actual amount is uncertain, in part because gaming operators are allowed to deduct certain expenses to reduce their tax bill.

After covering the state’s new regulatory costs, most of the money would be used to address homelessness and for gambling addiction programs, while 15% would go to Native American tribes that aren’t involved in sports betting.

Why is it on the ballot?

Sports betting — other than on horse racing — isn’t legal in California currently.

The U.S. Supreme Court allowed states to legalize sports betting in 2018. Since then, 35 states plus D.C. have made the move. It’s proven to be big business: Americans bet more than $57 billion on sports betting in 2021. The explosion of sports betting has also concerned advocates, who say that gambling addiction will increase, and that research into the long-term effects of legalizing sports betting has fallen short.

California lawmakers tried to negotiate a deal on sports betting in 2020, but weren’t able to work one out in time to get a measure on the ballot. Then came a rush of groups trying to qualify their own sports betting initiatives for the 2022 election. Ultimately, two different measures made it onto the ballot. Prop. 27 would allow online sports betting across the state, while Prop. 26 would allow in-person sports betting only at tribal casinos and horse race tracks. If both pass, both could go into effect, but in all likelihood a court would decide.

What are the arguments for and against?

  • For

Supporters say Prop. 27 would create a permanent source of funding to reduce homelessness and will allow every tribe to benefit — including tribes that decide not to offer sports betting. It would protect against underage gambling with fines for violators and would prohibit betting on youth sporting events.

Supporters

  • Yes on Prop. 27 committee
  • FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and four other gaming companies, which are funding the measure
  • Three Native American tribes: Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe, Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians, and Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians
  • Mayors of Fresno, Sacramento, Oakland, and Long Beach
  • Some homelessness advocates, including Bay Area Community Services and Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness
  • Major League Baseball

  • Against

Opponents say that Prop. 27 would turn every cellphone and computer into a gambling device. They say it would escalate the risks of underage and problem gambling. They also say it would drive business away from tribal casinos and threaten tribal sovereignty because tribes would have to give up some of their rights in order to offer sports betting. And they argue that most of the money would go to companies in other states.

Opponents

  • No on Prop. 27 committee
  • 50 Native American tribes and tribal organizations
  • California Democratic Party
  • California Republican Party
  • Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis
  • California Teachers Association, Communication Workers of America, United Food and Commercial Workers, labor leader Dolores Huerta
  • Homelessness and housing advocates, including Coalition on Homelessness San Francisco and California Coalition for Rural Housing
Get the one-minute breakdown

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Proposition 28 — Funding Arts and Music Education

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What does it do?

The measure would require the state to allocate at least 1% of Prop. 98 funding — money guaranteed for public schools and community colleges in the state budget — for music and arts education. That’s estimated to be a $1 billion annual set aside. Schools with high proportions of students from low-income households would get more funding. School districts will be required to spend 80% of the new funding on hiring arts and music instructors, and they will have to publish annual reports on how they spend the money.

Why is it on the ballot?

State law requires instruction in visual and performing arts for grades 1-6. For grades 7-8, schools must offer arts classes either during or after school. High school students must take either a year of art, a foreign language or career and technical education to graduate. But most California high schools require students to take art to align with the admissions requirements for the California State University and University of California systems.

But when school district budgets are cut during economic downturns, arts and music programs are often the first to be downsized. So former Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner said he launched the Prop. 28 campaign to turn the arts into a core subject along with math, science and reading.

He said the push for more arts education was inspired by conversations he had with educators during his time leading the state’s largest school district. Citing a 2021 study by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Beutner said giving students the space to express themselves creatively leads to a sense of belonging, which in turn helps them in math and reading.

“Math has rules. Grammar has rules. Art is unbounded,” Beutner said. “And if you think about preparing students for critical thinking, art isn’t just the sprinkles on an ice cream sundae. It’s an essential piece.”

What are the arguments for and against?

  • For

Beutner, who donated more than $4 million to the campaign, and other supporters also say that arts and music instruction could help address the mental health crisis facing California’s youth as they recover from the pandemic.
Along with Beutner, supporters include Sylvester Stallone and other Hollywood stars and musicians such as Anderson .Paak and Barbara Streisand. Prop. 28 also has strong support from teachers unions, as the arts funding is expected to generate jobs for educators.

Fender Musical Instruments donated more than $1 million to the campaign. Fender CEO Andy Mooney said the company has donated more than 10,000 guitars to Los Angeles Unified and hopes Prop. 28 will allow Fender to donate instruments to other districts.

Supporters

  • Vote Yes on 28 committee
  • SEIU California
  • California Democratic Party
  • Local arts organizations
  • Local music and arts education groups

  • Against

No official opposition filed

Get the one-minute breakdown

Proposition 28 on KPBS Midday Edition
Listen to CalMatters K-12 Education Reporter Joe Hong discuss Proposition 28 on KPBS Midday Edition.

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Proposition 29 — Kidney Dialysis Clinics

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What does it do?

This measure would require kidney dialysis clinics to have at least one physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant with six months of relevant experience available on site or, in some cases, via telehealth. It also requires that clinics report infection data to the state, as well as publicly list physicians who have ownership interest of 5% or more in a clinic. The measure also prohibits clinics from closing or reducing services without state approval and from refusing treatment to people based on their insurance type.

Why is it on the ballot?

This is the third time a labor union, Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, goes after dialysis clinics via the ballot process. The union says it wants to reform the booming industry and increase transparency, while dialysis companies that spent millions to defeat the two prior measures say it’s a union ploy to pressure clinics and organize dialysis workers.

There are about 650 dialysis clinics across the state and about 80,000 Californians receive the life-saving treatment. State analysts estimate that the clinics have total revenue of about $3.5 billion a year and that two private, for-profit companies — DaVita Inc. and Fresenius Medical Care — own or operate three-fourths of the clinics.

What are the arguments for and against?

  • For

Supporters argue that dialysis companies do not invest enough in patient care and safety despite being highly profitable. The hours-long process of removing blood, filtering it and returning it to the body is a physically draining process that leaves patients vulnerable to medical complications. Having a physician or nurse practitioner, in addition to current staff, available at all times could help reduce hospitalizations, proponents say. Meanwhile, adding reporting requirements would increase transparency in the dialysis business.

Supporters

  • Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West
  • California Democratic Party

  • Against

Opponents say that this measure is unnecessary as clinics already provide quality care and have the needed staff to treat and monitor people. Patients may also reach their nephrologists via telemedicine if needed. Plus, opponents say, clinics already report infection data to the federal government. The opposition warns that these new requirements could result in dangerous consequences — adding physicians would increase costs for clinics, pushing some to potentially reduce hours or close.

Opponents

  • No Prop. 29 committee
  • DaVita, Inc.
  • Fresenius Medical Care
  • American Academy of Nephrology PAs
  • American Nurses Association 
  • California Medical Association 
  • California Chamber of Commerce
  • California Republican Party
Get the one-minute breakdown
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Proposition 30 — Income Tax on Millionaires for Electric Cars

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What does it do?

Prop. 30 wouldimpose a 1.75% personal income tax increase on Californians making more than $2 million per year to fund a suite of climate programs. The goal is to clean up the state’s dirty air and help meet ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets.

The proposition creates a new revenue stream to subsidize zero-emission vehicles and fund wildfire response and prevention — between $3.5 billion to $5 billion annually, growing over time, according to state analysts.

Most of the money — about 80% — would go towards rebates for people buying zero-emission cars and to build more charging stations. Half of that funding will go to low- and middle-income residents, who are disproportionately affected by poor air quality and heavy pollution. The state already spends millions each year on zero-emission vehicle programs and dedicated an additional $10 billion over the next five years to those programs in this year’s budget.

A quarter of the tax money would provide funding to hire and train firefighters, who are battling increasingly worsening wildfires. On average, the state spends about $2 billion to $4 billion annually putting out wildfires.

The tax would go into effect in January 2023 and would end by January 2043, or possibly earlier, if the state is able to slash its emissions to at least 80% below 1990 levels for three consecutive calendar years.

Why is it on the ballot?

As part of its strategy to address climate change, California has made bold promises to cut emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. But transportation remains the largest source of the state’s planet-warming emissions, representing nearly 50% of California’s greenhouse gases.

The state won’t be able to meet its goals if it can’t transition away from fossil fuels. Affordable and efficient electric vehicles are critical to California’s efforts to tackle climate change and clean up its polluted air. By 2035, the state plans to ban all new sales of gas-powered cars. The state will also require Lyft and Uber drivers, by 2030, to log 90% of their miles in electric vehicles. But for many low and middle-income residents, purchasing an electric car is still out of reach. Many barriers still exist that make it difficult to obtain an electric vehicle, including low vehicle supply and high costs, lack of enough charging stations and surging demand.

At the same time, the state is increasingly facing more deadly and catastrophic wildfires, which contribute to air pollution, poor air quality and worse health outcomes for millions of residents.

What are the arguments for and against?

  • For

Supporters say Prop. 30 would generate much-needed funding to address the state’s two leading causes of air pollution: Gasoline-powered vehicles and wildfires. They say the money would help accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, beef up the state’s charging infrastructure and provide more resources to firefighters, who must now work year-round to fight and prevent deadly wildfires. They argue that these investments will better put the state on track to meet its ambitious climate goals.

Supporters

  • Yes on 30 Clean Air Coalition
  • Cal Fire Local 2881
  • California State Association of Electrical Workers
  • Unite HERE
  • California Democratic Party
  • Lyft
  • State Building and Construction Trades Council
  • California Environmental Voters

  • Against

Opponents say that Prop. 30 is an unnecessary tax hike that Californians don’t need because everyone is feeling the effects of high inflation and surging gas prices. They say Californians continue to grapple with exorbitant cost of living expenses and already pay some of the nation’s highest personal income taxes. They argue that the tax would drive many residents out of the state to benefit a special interest: ride-share companies. In his opposition, Gov. Gavin Newsom also calls the measure a “cynical scheme” by Lyft. In addition, many opponents say Newsom’s recent $10 billion climate investment and a $97.5 billion surplus in this year’s budget makes the state well-equipped to pay for the transition to electric vehicles and additional wildfire prevention efforts. If the state should need more money, opponents argue that it could tap into budget surplus funds to pay for these ongoing programs.

Opponents

  • No on Prop 30 committee
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom
  • California Republican Party
  • California Teachers Association
  • California Chamber of Commerce
  • California Small Business Association
  • Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
Get the one-minute breakdown
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Proposition 31 — Yes or No to Banning Flavored Tobacco Products

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What does it do?

The referendum will decide whether to overturn a 2020 law that prohibits the sale of some flavored tobacco products. A “yes” vote upholds the current law; a “no” vote would strike down the law and allow the sale of flavored tobacco products.

The outcome of Prop. 31 would impact the state budget because if the law is upheld the state could lose as much as $100 million in annual tobacco tax revenue from the sale of flavored tobacco.

Why is it on the ballot?

In 2020, the Democratic-controlled Legislature passed and Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law to ban the sale of certain flavored tobacco products — including those made to taste like cotton candy, honey and mango — as well as menthol cigarettes, both in stores and in vending machines.

The ban includes flavored cigarettes, e-cigarettes, pods for vape pens, tank-based systems and chewing tobacco. The law does not affect premium handmade cigars, loose leaf tobacco and hookah tobacco sold by certain hookah tobacco retailers and used at the store.

The law was intended to keep flavored tobacco away from kids and teens, who report in high numbers that they often started smoking with a flavored product. According to Tobacco Free Kids, youth smokers 12 to 17 use menthol cigarettes more than other age groups. At least 60 cities and counties across California have already banned the sale of some flavored tobacco products and menthol cigarettes.

The law has not gone into effect yet because tobacco companies funded and qualified this referendum.

What are the arguments for and against?

  • For

Supporters of Prop. 31 say the law prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products will protect youth because 80% of kids who use tobacco start with a flavored product. This law would prevent companies from targeting kids and teens with advertising for flavored products.

Advocates of the law also say it will help lower smoking rates, especially among people of color, who experience higher rates of smoking-related illnesses. Some African American groups say the tobacco industry has targeted their community for decades.

Supporters

  • Yes on 31 committee
  • American Lung Association
  • American Heart Association
  • SEIU California
  • Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids
  • California State PTA
  • California Democratic Party

  • Against

Opponents say the flavored tobacco ban is unnecessary because there are already laws on the books prohibiting the sale of all tobacco products to minors. They argue that banning flavored tobacco products infringes on the rights of adults who use the products and say a prohibition would increase underground markets and lead to more crime.
They also say this law is discriminatory against adults who use flavored tobacco to help them quit smoking, and especially against African Americans who favor menthol cigarettes.

Opponents

  • No on 31 committee
  • R.J. Reynolds Tobacco 
  • American Snuff Co.
  • President of California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce
  • California Republican Party
  • President of California Taxpayer Protection Committee
  • President of CalAsian Chamber of Commerce
  • CEO of Central Valley Business Federation
Get the one-minute breakdown

Important

🗳️ Vote-by-mail ballots begin to be sent to all active California registered voters starting Oct. 8. The last day to register to vote is Oct. 24. (If voters miss this deadline they can still register and vote in person at any vote center location.) Nov. 8 is the statewide election day but many vote centers are open prior to election day. Vote center and drop-off locations close at 8 p.m. on election day.

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