Calif. Voters Approve Water Bond, Rainy Day Fund Increase, and Reduced Sentences

Californians voted on 6 statewide propositions on Election Day, three of which were approved by a majority of voters: Propositions 1, 2, and 47. Propositions 45, 46, and 48 did not pass.

Proposition 1: Passed

Prop. 1 is a $7.5 billion water bond for California’s water system.

Californians approved Prop. 1 66.8 percent to 33.2 percent. This means California can sell $7.1 billion in bonds for water-related programs and redirect $425 million of unsold bonds for water and environmental-related issues. The LAO estimates that Prop. 1 will cost taxpayers $360 million annually over the next 40 years. The funds from Prop. 1 will be divided between projects to increase water supply, water storage, regional water projects, and water recycling.

Proposition 2: Passed

Prop. 2 is a constitutional amendment to increase the amount of money in the Rainy Day Fund and puts in place measures to ensure the debt is paid down at a faster rate. Prop. 2 would also cap the amount of money schools can keep in their local reserves.

Prop. 2 passed 68.7 percent to 31.3 percent. As a result, state debts will most likely be paid down faster and the state must now put $800 million annually into the Rainy Day Fund. The size of the reserve fund will be increased from 5 percent to 10 percent of General Fund Revenues. A new reserve fund will be created for schools and K-12 school districts reserves will be capped after the next few years.

Proposition 45: Not Passed

Prop. 45 would require the approval of the insurance commissioner before health insurance companies change insurance rates or benefits for individual and small-group health insurance.

Voters struck down Prop. 45 59.8 percent to 40.2 percent. State regulation boards will continue to review health insurance rates, but they will not have the authority to approve changes for individual and small-group insurance.

Proposition 46: Not Passed

Prop. 46 would increase the cap on certain medical malpractice damages from $250,000 to $1.1 million, as well as require the drug and alcohol testing of physicians. In addition, Prop. 46 would require health care providers to consult a patient’s history in a prescription drug database to help prevent abuse.

Prop. 46 was defeated 67.1 percent to 32.9 percent. Voters struck down the increase in medical malpractice damages, meaning the cap will remain at $250,000. Doctors will not be required to undergo drug and alcohol testing and health care providers will not have to consult a statewide database before issuing prescription drugs.

Proposition 47: Passed

Prop. 47 would reduce many non-violent crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor classification. The proposition would also reduce penalties for non-serious and non-violent crimes in an effort to reduce the prison population.

Voters passed Prop. 47 58.5 percent to 41.5 percent. As a result, criminal offenders who commit certain non-violent or non-serious crimes will be subjected to reduced penalties or sentences. Money saved from Prop. 47 will go to support dropout and truancy prevention efforts as well as other programs to prevent repeat-offenses.

Proposition 48: Not Passed

Prop. 48 would ratify the gaming contract between the state of California and the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians and the Wiyot Tribe. It would allow the building of a casino in Madera County on non-tribal land.

Results show voters struck down Prop. 48 60.9 percent to 39.1 percent, thereby nullifying the compact between the government and the North Fork and Wiyot tribes. Neither tribe will be allowed to build a casino on non-tribal lands unless they make a new tribal-state compact.

Image: KCET