October 10, 2010

There are nine statewide propositions on the ballot that cover a range of subjects, including car fees, global warming and marijuana use:

Proposition 19 — Marijuana

What it would do:

Make it legal to use marijuana in California. Supporters say regulating and taxing the sale of marijuana would help raise money for cash-strapped local governments and save tens of millions of dollars per year on the costs of jailing and supervising marijuana offenders. As with alcohol, the legal age for buying marijuana would be 21, and it would still be illegal to drive under the influence.

Supporters include:

California NAACP; National Black Police Assn.; city councils of Berkeley, Oakland and West Hollywood; California Libertarian Party; California Green Party; Latino Voters League

Opponents include:

Mothers Against Drunk Driving, California State Firefighters Assn., California Police Chiefs Assn., Assn. of California School Administrators, gubernatorial candidates Jerry Brown (D) and Meg Whitman (R), U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R).

Proposition 20 — Congressional districts

What it would do:

Remove from the Legislature the power to draw congressional districts, transferring it to an independent, 14-member commission that is already set to redraw lines for state legislative districts next year. The commission has five Democrats, five Republicans and four members registered with neither party. District lines must be approved by nine members, including three Democrats, three Republicans and three from neither party. The goal of the measure’s promoters is to eliminate gerrymandering — the practice of creating politically safe districts.

Supporters include:

AARP, National Federation of Independent Business/California, California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, California NAACP, California Chamber of Commerce, California Common Cause, Asian Pacific American Public Affairs Assn.

Opponents include:

League of Women Voters of California, California Teachers Assn., California State Firefighters Assn., Sierra Club Chairman Carl Pope, NAACP Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond, Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund Chairman Thomas Saenz.

Proposition 21 — Car fees

What it would do:

Charge Californians a new annual $18 fee for each car they register. The surcharge would be used to pay for upkeep of state parks and wildlife conservation programs. Vehicles subject to the fee would receive free admission and parking at all state parks. The measure would generate at least an additional $250 million for state parks and wildlife conservation, according to the nonpartisan legislative analyst’s office.

Supporters include:

California Assn. of Museums, California Center for Public Health Advocacy, California Labor Federation, California Teachers Assn., California League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club California, Gray Panthers California, state Democratic and Green parties.

Opponents include:

California Taxpayers Assn., Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., state Board of Equalization member Michelle Steel and the California chairman of Americans for Prosperity, Peter Foy.

Proposition 22 — Local government funds

What it would do:

Prohibit the state from taking funds from local governments and other local agencies, including regional transportation improvement projects. The measure, championed by the League of California Cities and other local government groups, also would bar the state from delaying the distribution of tax revenue owed to local governments, even during a budget crisis. The California Teachers Assn. and other labor groups oppose the measure, saying it would force cuts in education and other state services.

Supporters include:

California Police Chiefs Assn., Los Angeles Police Protective League, California Fire Chiefs Assn., League of California Cities, Automobile Club of Southern California, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., California Teamsters Public Affairs Council, California Chamber of Commerce.

Opponents include:

National Taxpayer Limitation Committee, California Teachers Assn., Congress of California Seniors, California Democratic Party, California Federation of Republican Women.

Proposition 23 — Global warming

What it would do:

Suspend implementation of the state’s landmark global-warming law until unemployment in California drops to 5.5% or below for a full year, a rare occurrence in California. Backers of the measure include large oil companies that stand to lose financially from the state’s push toward less-polluting sources of energy. Environmentalists and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger oppose the measure, which they say would set back efforts to curb greenhouse gases in California and elsewhere and undermine growth of the state’s green sector.

Supporters include:

Assn. of Energy Service Companies, California Assn. of Business and Property Owners, California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, California Republican Party, California State Firefighters Assn.

Opponents include:

Gubernatorial candidates Jerry Brown (D) and Meg Whitman (R), Sierra Club California, California Public Health Assn., League of Women Voters of California, AARP, California Teachers Assn.

Proposition 24 — Corporate tax breaks

What it would do:

Repeal about $1.3 billion in annual corporate tax breaks scheduled to begin taking effect this year. The tax breaks were approved as part of the state budget in 2008 and 2009. The campaign is funded by organized labor groups that argue the state cannot afford the tax breaks during the budget crisis.

Supporters include:

ACLU of Southern California, California Faculty Assn., California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, California State Firefighters Assn., Congress of California Seniors, League of Women Voters of California, California Democratic Party.

Opponents include:

California Taxpayers Assn., California Small Business Alliance, California Chamber of Commerce, California Business Roundtable, California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, California Assn. of Independent Business, American Council of Engineering Companies of California.

Proposition 25 — State budgets

What it would do:

Allow the Legislature to pass state budgets with a simple majority rather than the two-thirds vote now required. It would not apply to tax increases, which would still require a two-thirds majority. The proposal also would penalize state lawmakers if they fail to pass a budget by June 15, causing them to forfeit their salaries and expenses for every day they fail to settle on a spending plan.

Supporters include:

California Common Cause, League of Women Voters of California, California State PTA, California League of Conservation Voters, Peace Officers Research Assn. of California, California Gray Panthers, California Democratic Party.

Opponents include:

California Chamber of Commerce, California Taxpayers Assn., Assn. of California Life and Health Insurance Companies, California Business Properties Assn., National Taxpayers Union, South Bay Assn. of Chambers of Commerce, Valley Industry & Commerce Assn.

Proposition 26 — State government fees

What it would do:

Require a two-thirds vote, rather than the simple majority now required, for the Legislature to pass or raise certain fees for government programs. The measure also would prohibit local governments from raising some taxes without two-thirds voter approval. The head of the California Chamber of Commerce says the measure closes a loophole to protect consumers, but environmentalists say the measure is the work of big businesses that want to make it harder for government to charge them for the cost of protecting the environment and public health.

Supporters include:

Same as those opposing Proposition 25.

Opponents include:

Sierra Club, Peace Officers Research Assn. of California, League of Women Voters of California, California Common Cause, California Democratic Party, Latino Voters League, California Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, California Tax Reform Assn., California League of Cities.

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