Sunday, October 16, 2016

California Propositions 2016 Part 3: Props 59-62

Continuing my review of the propositions for the upcoming election: (Remember you can read the full text of each proposition as well as more in depth arguments for and against each proposition at ballotpedia.org/California_2016_ballot_propositions).


Proposition 59 is the California Overturn of Citizens United Act Advisory Question. If approved, Prop 59 would allow state’s officials to use their authority to overturn the Citizen United v Federal Election Commission decision. The Citizens United v Federal Election Commission decision ruled that laws placing certain limits on political spending by corporation and union are unconstitutional. The arguments for the proposition is to insure the voice of the people is not drowned out by corporations and billionaires and to limit excessive political spending (i.e. “buying” elections). The arguments against the proposition is that it is a “feel good measure” that would hurt small businesses that are incorporated and fails to prohibit or limit corporate and union contributions. The proposition limits free speech of the corporation.


Proposition 60 is the Condom in Pornographic Films Initiative. If approved, it would require the use of condoms and other protective measures during filming pornographic films as well as requiring producers to pay for certain health requirements and checkups such as vaccinations, testing and medical examinations related to sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Producers would need to obtain a state health license and post condom requirement at film sites. The proposition imposes violation liability on producers or anyone with a financial interest as well as talent agents who knowingly send performers to noncomplying producers. Prop 60 permits state, producers or any state resident to enforce the requirements. The arguments for Prop 60 are that it creates accountability for work safety and health, and reduces risk of STIs and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Arguments against Prop 60 are it is poorly drafted, it could lead to lawsuits which threaten performers’ safety and violate worker privacy.


Proposition 61 is the Drug Price Standards Initiative. If approved, Prop 61 would regulate drug prices by requiring state agencies to pay the same prices that the US Department of Veteran Affairs (USDVA) do. It is designed to strict the amount that any state agency could pay for drugs and provides funding for the purchase of drugs, even if the drugs are not directly purchased by a government agency. Prop 61 only applies to purchases by state agencies and not individuals. It also prohibits state agencies from buying prescription drugs at any price over the lowest price paid by the USDVA, except where required by federal law. Prop 61 would apply to any program where the state agencies are the ultimate payer of the prescriptions with exempts purchase under managed care like Medi-Cal. The main arguments for Prop 61 are to fight price-gouging from drug companies and provide access to life-saving drugs. The main arguments against Prop 61 are that it will rise costs to veterans, reduce patient access to medicines and increase bureaucracy red tape and taxpayer costs. According to FacesOn61.com, Prop 61 was written by Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), who exempted his own organization from the requirements of Prop 61.


Proposition 62 is the Repeal of the Death Penalty Initiative which would repeal the death penalty and making life without possibility of parole the maximum punishment for murder. It would retroactively apply to those already on death row, requires restitution paid to victims’ families, raises the amount of wages from inmates paid to victims’ families by 60%, and any provision found invalid would not affect other provisions. The arguments for Prop 62 are to save taxpayer money by replacing a costly and inefficient system, provide criminals opportunity to work and pay restitution, provide closure for victims’ families and eliminate the risk of executing an innocent person. The arguments against Prop 62 are that it protects the worst criminals while diminishing protections of victims’ rights, cost millions, and it would end the death penalty when it should be amended.


Just a few thoughts on the proposition. In response to the Prop 59 opposition who arguments that it limits free speech. Unions are made of members who may or may not agree with the candidate or law which the union leadership is trying to endorse. What about their free speech to not want their union to spend their union dues to support someone or something they don’t agree with? In response to the Prop 60 opposition’s argument that it violates worker privacy. Employers are required to provide for the safety of all their employees. So if your illness is putting others are risk, then the employers need to be aware to ensure the safety of another. I also find it highly suspicious that the individual drafting Prop 61 makes a provision to exempt his own organization. If it benefits California, why exempt the AHF? I’m on the fence when it comes to the death penalty, so Prop 62 (and the related Prop 66), however, closure for victims’ families doesn’t always come from the offender’s death. I think many people would be shocked to find out that there are victims’ families who advocate against the death penalty. Read for yourself. Research each proposition as best you can. Weigh the pros and cons when making your decision for a yes or no vote.