Plethora of Initiatives Headed Toward 2016 Ballot


Denise Cross / flickr

Denise Cross / flickr

According to the recent Public Policy Institute of California poll, state residents like the initiative process but think too many initiatives appear on the ballot. To borrow a line from Al Jolson: “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

Of the 100 or so initiative proposals that have been filed with the Attorney General, maybe 20 percent will make the ballot. As Los Angeles Times Sacramento bureau chief John Myers reported last month, 15 to 19 look like possibilities, the largest number of propositions since 20 appeared on the March 2000 ballot.

In the nine November general elections since 2000, the ballot has averaged about 10 propositions per election. Remember, the law was changed in 2012 to force all initiatives – measures put on the ballot by petitions – to the November elections. No longer could they appear on the June primary ballot. So the longer November ballot in 2016 could be a harbinger of future elections.

However, it is possible another rule change that is about to come into play might also limit the number of initiatives on the ballot. Now, initiative proponents are allowed to pull their initiative before a measure is certified even if enough signatures have been gathered to qualify the measure.

The idea behind this change is for initiative advocates to try and work out a legislative fix to the problem they are addressing with their initiative thus avoiding a costly ballot fight. However, the power to pull an initiative also gives proponents the ability to negotiate with others who may have a conflicting initiative and come to a mutual agreement thus avoiding a ballot duel.

As of now, gathering signatures on the street are initiative measures for death penalty repeal, parental notification on abortions, minimum wage and property tax increase on million dollar properties. These measures will soon be joined by a host of others, including an effort to hasten the use of the death penalty, which could give a clear policy choice to voters in November.

Already qualified for the ballot are measures dealing with hospital fees, voting on revenue bonds, use of condoms in adult films, school bonds and a referendum to overturn legislation on one-time use plastic bags.

The thing that voters like about the initiative process as captured in the PPIC poll is the ability to have their voices heard on policy issues. Looks like the voters will have plenty of opportunities to participate in decision-making next year.

Which in turn will probably have them grumbling again about the number of initiatives they have to consider.


Write a comment
  1. joan
    joan 6 December, 2015, 15:31

    Message to Gov Brown & those who voted to eliminate initiatives on primary election ballots.

    Reply this comment
  2. joan
    joan 6 December, 2015, 15:32

    Message: be careful what you ask for.

    Reply this comment
    • ricky65
      ricky65 7 December, 2015, 09:11

      True. And the fact that most voters in this state are so woefully uninformed will mean most have no knowledge about the issue they will be asked to vote on.
      That is how we end up the passage of nonsense initiatives like high speed rail or condos for chickens which has doubled the prices of eggs.
      Most likely low information voters will just skip by all these initiatives altogether which means those who actually vote on them are the activists who placed them on the ballot in the first place.
      And lower vote totals means the crazy stuff has a much better chance to pass which is what the activist ideologues, politicians and special interests want.
      Even worse, the historic low levels of voting then makes it easier for an ever smaller group of initiative supporters to get one qualified since the signature requirement is based on the percentage of folks voting in the previous election.
      Absent of people actually becoming better informed which is unlikely, maybe what we need is another initiative (sigh) that mandates none of them can pass without the support of 50% of the registered voters of the state.

      Reply this comment
  3. caveman1951
    caveman1951 6 December, 2015, 18:53

    Does the property tax increase on million dollar properties include residential property? How many million-dollar homes are there in California?

    Reply this comment
    • Joel Fox
      Joel Fox 7 December, 2015, 11:24

      All properties valued over $3 million on the tax rolls (not necessarily the market value) are subject to the property tax surcharge if the measure passes

      Reply this comment
  4. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 7 December, 2015, 06:49

    There needs to be a giant sink hole open up and swallow the entire stat capital building brown,Newsrom and all the rest of the lowlife reptiles

    Reply this comment

Write a Comment

Leave a Reply

Tags assigned to this article:
minimum wagePPICElection 2016Initatives

Related Articles

Are special interests blocking housing reforms? Or is public opposition?

The belief that California has a profound housing crisis took hold in the state’s media and political establishments in recent

State Assembly approves plan to bring back Kelo-style redevelopment

Redevelopment agencies would once again have the power to seize private property for big developers under a bill that passed the

Activists Gear Up to Stop Tax Increase

MARCH 21, 2011 By JOHN SEILER Opponents of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed $12 billion tax increase already are spoiling for