By Jason KUROSU
Proposition 32, titled the Stop Special Interest Money Now Act, would place new limits on campaign finance rules and the current avenues for making campaign contributions.
Specifically, payroll deductions for political purposes would be prohibited, corporations and labor unions would be forbidden from making direct contributions to candidates and government contractors would not be allowed to contribute to elected officials who might fund their contracts.
The proposition has drawn similarities to Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court case that prohibited any restrictions on corporations and/or unions making political expenditures.
Proponents of Prop 32 view it as preventing special interests the ability to “buy” politicians, whereas opponents view the proposition as overwhelmingly restrictive upon unions and much less so with corporations.
Prop 32 does not place any restrictions on voluntary political contributions, but its specific restrictions on payroll deductions would have a larger impact on unions, which generally fund political campaigns through automatic pay deductions.
Corporations tend to fund campaigns through other means. While corporations, along with unions, would be unable to directly fund a particular candidate, corporations would not be restricted from making political contributions through Super PACs (Political Action Committees) and other independent expenditure committees, which are not directly connected with any specific candidates’ campaigns, and may raise unlimited amounts of funds for political expenditures.
Proposition 33 would provide a new “continuous coverage discount” for those drivers who have been insured for at least five years. Originally, this discount only applied to drivers insured with the same insurance company for five years. Prop 33 would allow drivers who wanted to switch insurance providers to still qualify for the discount.
Other stipulations apply to those who have had lapses in coverage if the lapse was over a period of 90 days or less, no more than 18 months due to unemployment or no coverage due to military service. Anyone else would be ineligible for the discount.
According to the proposition’s text: “Consumers who are unable to demonstrate continuous coverage shall be granted a proportional discount. This discount shall be a proportion of the amount of the rate of reduction that would have been granted if the consumer had been able to demonstrate continuous coverage. The proportion shall reflect the number of whole years in the immediately preceding five years for which the consumer was insured.”
Proponents feel the discount would reward responsible behavior (i.e. owning car insurance) and encourage uninsured drivers to obtain insurance. They also feel that competition between insurance companies would increase, as drivers would not be forced to remain with any one company to attain the discount and could shop around.
Opponents feel that many who won’t qualify for the continuous coverage discount are those who cannot afford auto insurance or at least couldn’t for the full five-year period and thus are being unfairly punished. Those who only partially qualified would be similarly punished, receiving a smaller slice of the discount due to being potentially unable to afford auto insurance for the full five-year period.