By Mary O’KEEFE
Tom Carson and Rene Leask, representatives from the League of Women Voters, stopped by the Crescenta Valley Community Association to discuss a number of propositions that will be on the Nov. 8 ballot.
The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization that sponsors debates among candidates and holds informational meetings, like the CVCA one, to present an overview of ballot propositions to communities.
In upcoming weeks, CVW will be going through these propositions a few at a time sharing the opinions of those who favor and those who are opposed to the specific measures. Below is a thumbnail overview provided by the League of Women Voters of four of the propositions. These propositions will be on the statewide ballot on Nov. 8:
Prop. 51: School bonds, funding for K-12 school and community college facilities. This proposition asks whether the state should sell $9 billion in general obligation bonds. These bonds would dedicate $3 billion for new construction, $3 billion for modernization of K-12 public school facilities, $1 billion for charter schools and vocational education facilities, and $2 billion for California Community Colleges facilities.
“From 1998 to 2006 voters approved $40 billion worth of general obligation funds and virtually all of that has been spent on education,” Carson said.
Local districts can apply to the state for these funds. Normally, Carson said, local districts are asked to supply some of the funds needed but when it does not have sufficient funds it can apply for state support.
Prop. 52: State Fees on Hospitals, Federal Medi-Cal Matching Funds. Passing this proposition would increase the required vote to two-thirds for the Legislature to amend certain existing laws that impose fees on hospitals for the purpose of obtaining federal Medi-Cal healthcare services and directs those fees and federal matching funds to hospital-provided Medi-Cal health care services, to uncompensated care provided by hospitals to uninsured patients and to children’s health coverage. Eliminates law-ending date.
Carson explained that Medi-Cal is basic health coverage for low-income California residents.
The funding of the program is shared 50/50 between the state and federal government. The state charges private hospitals a fee that helps with the costs of the state’s portion of Medi-Cal. At present the Legislation votes whether or not to extend this charge to hospitals. The proposition would make this charge permanent.
Prop. 53: Revenue Bonds. Statewide Voter Approval. This would require statewide voter approval before any revenue bonds can be issued or sold by the state for projects that are financed, owned, operated or managed by the state or any joint agency created by or including the state, if the bond amount exceeds $2 billion. Prohibits dividing projects into multiple separate projects to avoid statewide voter approval requirement.
This would require that any bonds that would be larger than $2 billion would have to be approved by California voters. Carson gave the example of the bullet train as a large project that would have had to go to the voters for approval as opposed to going through the Legislation and governor’s office.
Prop. 54: Legislature, Legislation and Proceedings. Prohibits Legislation from passing any bill unless it has been in print and published on the Internet for at least 72 hours before the vote, except in cases of public emergency. Requires the Legislature to make audiovisual recordings of all its proceedings, except closed session proceedings, and post them on the Internet. Authorizes any person to record legislative proceedings by audio or video means, except closed session proceedings. Allows recording of legislative proceedings to be used for any legitimate purpose, without payment of any fee to the state.
At present bills can be changed just before they are presented to the Legislation for a vote. This proposition would require a posting of the exact bill being presented 72 hours prior to introducing it on the floor.
Carson said this would allow the public enough time to read the bill prior to it coming to a vote.
“And many legislators themselves do not have time to read the new bill. This would give the opportunity [of time],” he said.
It would also require meetings including those of committees, be recorded and placed online for the public to watch. It would have an initial cost of $1 to $2 million to buy equipment and annually $1 million to hire people for production.