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Summarized from Mercury News editorial, dated Sept 4, 2020

Prop 14 Stem Cell Research

  • It means more money for stem cell research. This measure would boost funding for stem-cell research by $5.5 billion through bonds that would fund grants to universities and other research institutions through the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, which voters helped create by passing Proposition 71 in 2004.

  • Silicon Valley real estate investor Robert Klein, who also championed Proposition 71, says it would keep badly needed research alive.

  • Critics say it would produce more under-regulated stem-cell clinics that offer overhyped treatments.

Prop 15 Property Tax Reform

  • It takes aim at the third rail of California politics: Proposition 13 - the 1970s measure tied to property taxes. Critics have argued it has hamstrung cities and counties across the state. But it’s popular with homeowners.

  • By being more limited in scope, it would apply to commercial landlords who are sitting on more than $3 million, not the average homeowner. Depending on the real estate market, the measure could bring in another $12 billion in property tax revenue each year.

  • One of the most expensive ballot fights. Supporters, including a nonprofit established by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have already dumped roughly $30 million into the campaign, while opponents, including homeowner groups and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, have spent more than $10 million against it.

Prop 16 Affirmative Action

  • It’s endorsed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the leaders of all three California public higher-education systems and would do away with Proposition 209, a controversial 1996 measure that sent the number of Black and Latino students at top schools plummeting.

  • Opponents, including some Asian American groups, worry it could make it harder to gain admission for Asian Americans, who are overrepresented in proportion to their share of the state’s population at many of the state’s top public universities.

  • Advocates say it would be a step toward undoing some of the systemic racism that has prevented Black and Latinx young people from accessing higher education opportunities.



Prop 17 Parolee Voting Rights

  • Right now, convicted felons are not allowed to vote while behind bars or on parole. Proposition 17 would restore voting rights for prisoners once their prison terms are complete, so they could vote on parole.

Prop 18 Teen Primary Voting

  • Would let 17-year-olds vote in primary or special elections as long as they are 18 by the next general election.

Prop 19 Property Transfer Tax

  • It is backed by the real estate industry, and would create a tax break for victims of wildfires and natural disasters by letting them take advantage of and expanding a policy that already allows older homeowners and disabled people to transfer their lower property tax burden to a replacement home.

Prop 20 Criminal Code Changes

  • It’s an effort backed by law enforcement agencies to roll back reforms championed by former Gov. Jerry Brown aimed at easing prison overcrowding, would let prosecutors charge some current misdemeanors as felonies, restrict parole opportunities and require probation officers to go after tougher penalties for people who violate their parole three times.

Prop 21 Rent Control

  • It would allow more cities to create or expand rent control. They could apply new ordinances to homes built at least 15 years ago. The proposition would exclude single-family homes owned by landlords with two or fewer properties.

  • It’s similar to an unsuccessful 2018 rent control measure from AIDS activist Michael Weinstein who is also behind this new proposition, which is more modest in scope but still faces opposition from landlords and building trade groups. So far, Weinstein’s allies have spent more than $16 million, but opponents have also spent big, with the California Apartment Association and others kicking in roughly $30 million to kill it.





Prop 22 App Driver Employment

  • Is a pushback to last year’s Assembly Bill 5, which forced companies like Uber and Lyft to recognize its drivers as employees and provide the benefits and protections that come along with that, Proposition 22 would essentially reverse that but guarantee drivers a minimum level of compensation and health care subsidies.

  • Uber and Lyft say their futures depend on it and the Yes on 22 campaign has already spent more than $111 million, making it the most expensive issue on the ballot so far. Opponents have spent roughly $3.5 million.

Prop 23 Dialysis Clinic Changes

  • Dialysis clinics: In 2018, a health care union upset with for-profit dialysis clinics like DaVita Kidney Care proposed Proposition 8, which would have capped their profit margins. The clinics helped defeat the effort by pouring north of $100 million into opposing the measure. 

  • SEIU United Healthcare Workers West back Proposition 23, which would impose new regulations, including requiring clinics to have at least one physician on site during treatment. Already the dialysis industry has dumped nearly $63 million into defeating the effort.

Prop 24 Data Privacy

  • It expands on-line privacy protection. California has the strongest consumer privacy law in the country already, but Proposition 24 would strengthen it and create a new enforcement agency. The measure would let residents prevent businesses from sharing their personal information.

Prop 25 Eliminating Cash Bail

  • Is a referendum to overturn a 2018 law that got rid of a cash bail system and replaced it with one that instead looks at public safety and flight risk to decide whether to release someone before their trial. The tougher-on-crime measures are in sharp contrast to growing calls for police reforms after the death of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests throughout the country.

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