2014 California Propositions Guide

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1 Water bonds

Proposition 1 would authorize the state to borrow $7.12 billion and repurpose $425 million in previously approved bond funds to finance new water projects.

The measure would devote $2.7 billion to new storage, such as dams; $800 million to the cleanup of contaminated underground water supplies; and $725 million for water recycling projects. An additional $1.5 billion would be used to help protect and restore wildlife habitat and watersheds.

The bonds would be paid back from the state budget. The Legislative Analyst's Office estimates it would cost an average of $360 million annually to pay off the bonds over about 40 years.

Tracking the money

$20.7 million has been raised

Support
$20,598,792
Oppose
$89,949
Read more

2 State reserve funds

This proposed constitutional amendment, placed on the ballot by Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature, is intended to help the state save money and repay debt. Under this measure, state officials would set aside at least 1.5% of the general fund every year.

Half of the money would be placed in a "rainy day" account as a cushion against economic downturns. Half would be used to pay debt and other long-term obligations, such as retirement benefits for public workers.

Money could be withdrawn only when the governor and the Legislature declared a budget emergency. California has a reserve account already, but it's empty, and there are no strict rules on depositing or withdrawing funds.

Tracking the money

$20.4 million has been raised

Support
$20,401,013
Oppose
$0
Read more

45 Health insurance rate changes

Proposition 45 would give the state's elected insurance commissioner power to approve or deny proposed health insurance rates for individual and small-group policies covering about 6 million Californians.

The commissioner already has similar power to deny as "excessive" would-be hikes in auto, property and some other kinds of insurance.

Supporters, including current Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, trial lawyers and the Consumer Watchdog advocacy group, say rate review by regulators works well in 35 other states and is needed in California to keep insurance costs under control in the often-costly individual market.

A well-financed coalition of insurance companies, hospitals, doctors and others oppose Prop. 45, saying it would give the commissioner too much power, would boost – not cut – healthcare costs and would complicate California’s new insurance programs offered through Obamacare.

Under existing law, California regulators can review and criticize health insurance rate increases but they have no legal power to stop them.

Tracking the money

$60.2 million has been raised

Support
$3,240,082
Oppose
$56,971,326
Read more

46 Medical malpractice

This initiative would change California's medical malpractice law, which now limits lawsuit awards for pain and suffering to $250,000. That limit would increase to approximately $1.1 million, to account for inflation since the law was passed in 1975. The new limit would also be adjusted annually for inflation.

In addition, the measure would require hospitals to randomly test their physicians for alcohol and drug use. Doctors would also be tested after the occurrence of certain medical mistakes or any events that cause a patient’s death or serious disability.

Impaired physicians would be subject to disciplinary action including possible suspension of their licenses.

A third component of the measure would require doctors, when prescribing certain medications, to check a state database of patients' other prescriptions to help prevent drug abuse.

Tracking the money

$76.2 million has been raised

Support
$12,837,071
Oppose
$63,328,473
Read more

47 Criminal sentence reduction

The penalties for some common crimes would be reduced from potential felonies to misdemeanors, shortening the time some individuals spend behind bars.

Crimes covered by the measure include drug possession and the following offenses when less than $950 is involved: shoplifting, check and credit fraud, forgery, theft and possession of stolen goods. As with other misdemeanors, the new maximum sentence would be one year in jail, down from a maximum of three years. Those with histories of violence or sex offenses would be ineligible for the lighter sentences.

Most offenders who would be affected by this measure already serve their sentences in county jails, and many are released early. However, anyone already serving prison time for a felony conviction on a reclassified crime could petition for a new sentence. That includes those incarcerated under the state's Three Strikes law.

Any reductions in state prison spending that result from Proposition 47 would go to a fund for crime victims, the state jails commission and the California Department of Education.

Tracking the money

$9.9 million has been raised

Support
$9,310,449
Oppose
$541,350
Read more

48 Indian gambling referendum

Proposition 48 would preserve two gambling compacts between the state of California and Native American tribes: the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians near Yosemite and the Wiyot Tribe near Humboldt Bay.

The agreements authorize a casino in Madera County, 38 miles from the North Fork's reservation, with up to 2,000 slot machines. They also prevent the Wiyot Tribe from building a casino on its Humboldt County land.

The agreements, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown and ratified by the Legislature, require annual payments averaging $10 million by the North Fork to the state and local governments over 20 years. Under the Wiyot compact, the group receives a share of the Madera County casino's earnings.

Tracking the money

$19.4 million has been raised

Support
$823,355
Oppose
$18,534,976
Read more

Note: Committees campaigning for or against a proposition can contribute money to other committees working to support or oppose any of the propositions on the November ballot.

Credits: Lily Mihalik, Maloy Moore, Anthony Pesce.