California Ballot Propositions

California voters await polling results for statewide propositions, which took place on Tuesday during the presidential election.

GCC Professors Roger Bowerman, John Queen, Sandy Somo, and Andra Verstraete spoke to students regarding statewide propositions on Thursday.

Passed – Promoted by Jerry Brown, Proposition 57, Parole for Nonviolent Crimes and Juvenile Court Trial Requirements Initiative, would increase parole and good behavior opportunities for criminals convicted of nonviolent crimes. This proposition would also allow judges, not prosecutors, to decide on whether a child should be tried as an adult on trial.

“This tries to give points to non-violent offenders for good behavior in prison so that they could actually get out much sooner,” Verstraete said.

Those in favor of the bill argue that approval of Proposition 57 would reduce California’s overcrowded prisons while rehabilitating adult and juvenile inmates. It would also keep dangerous offenders still in prison.

Those opposed to Prop 57 claim the bill was poorly drafted and would allow criminals convicted of rape, lewd acts against a child and human trafficking to be released early from prison. It would also allow career criminals to be treated as first time offenders.

Awaiting Results – Proposition 59, Overturn of Citizens United Act Advisory Question, would overturn the supreme court case involving Citizens United and 501(c)(3)  non-profit organization.

“Decided in 2010, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court held that corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited, because doing so would violate the First Amendment,” said According to Ballotpedia.

Critics of the Citizens United argued  that the ruling allowed unlimited amounts of money from special interest groups in political campaigns. A vote yes on Prop 59 would overturn that Supreme Court decision.

Awaiting Results – Proposition 61, Drug Price Standards Initiative, would regulate drug prices by requiring state agencies to pay no more than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for prescription drugs.

This measure has the most funding behind it, totaling to $128.89 million in both support and opposition.

Bernie Sanders came out publicly in support of Prop 61. Financial support comes from the AIDS Foundation, with over $16 million in contributions and the California Nurses Association, with $55,000.

“It’s unacceptable that the exact drugs that we buy in our country are sold infraction of the price.” The Campaign for Yes to Prop 61 said. “My urgent message is to vote yes on Proposition 61 to make medicine more affordable in California and send a signal to Washington that the whole nation’s prescription drug policies need an overhaul.”

Financial opposition to the bill comes from pharmaceutical drug companies, with over $109 million spent. Merk & Co., Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson top the list with each donated more than $9 million. They argue that if passed, Prop 61 would harm veterans and reduce patient access to medicines.

Awaiting Results – On Proposition 57, the Repeal of the Death Penalty, Bower spoke about his opposition to the sociological effects the death penalty can have.

“The death penalty has never been proven to be a deterrent to crime,” said Bowerman, history and ethnic studies professor, when discussing Proposition 62 and Proposition 66.

“There’s even a lot of research saying that the person that committed the violent crime that resulted in death, when that person that executed, it limits the healing process of the families that suffered loss. The death penalty in and of itself is detrimental to the victims.”

Proposition results should be available by Friday.