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Californians Will Decide on Minimum Wage, Rent Control, Forced Labor, and More in November

Californians Will Decide on Minimum Wage, Rent Control, Forced Labor, and More in November

A polling station worker prepares to hand out "I Voted" stickers in Burbank, Calif., on March 5, 2024. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Sophie Li
Sophie Li

7/6/2024

Updated: 7/15/2024

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California voters will decide on 10 ballot measures in November, addressing a wide range of issues including the minimum wage, rent control, public safety, taxes, education, and health care.
Each of the initiatives—including three state constitutional amendments and two multibillion-dollar bonds—will need approval from at least 50 percent of voters to pass.

State Constitutional Amendments

Prop. 3: Marriage Equality (ACA 5)

The California Constitution currently states that only marriage between a man and a woman is recognized in the state, but federal law prevents the enforcement of this provision.
A yes vote on this ballot measure means removing this state constitutional rule and establishing marriage as a fundamental right for all individuals.

Prop. 5: Local Taxes to Fund Housing (ACA 1)

This state constitutional amendment, if approved, will make it easier for local governments to approve bonds and special taxes for affordable housing and public infrastructure projects.
A yes vote means the threshold to pass such bonds and taxes would reduce from a two-thirds supermajority to 55 percent.

Prop. 6: Ban Slavery (ACA 8)

A yes vote on this state constitutional amendment would ban forced prison labor by abolishing slavery in any form.
It specifically targets various labor practices involving prison inmates, citing that many are compelled to work in roles such as firefighting and road paving.
The measure would additionally prevent the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from punishing inmates who refuse to work. It also clarifies that the department can still give credits—which can help advance the release date or parole hearing date, depending on the sentence—to inmates who choose to work voluntarily.

Bonds

Prop. 2: Education Bond

Voters will vote on a $10 billion education bond designed to allocate state funds for the renovation of school buildings that are 75 years old or older. Additionally, the bond will finance testing and remediation efforts for lead contamination in school water systems.
Should this measure be approved, it would be the first voter-sanctioned education construction bond since Proposition 51 in 2016, which authorized $7 billion for the construction and repair of public school facilities in California.

Prop. 4: Climate Bond

Voters will decide on a $10 billion bond aimed at prioritizing safe and affordable drinking water, wildfire prevention, extreme heat mitigation, sustainable agriculture, and clean, renewable energy.
The proposed bond would allocate at least 40 percent of the $10 billion to disadvantaged communities.
If approved, it will be the largest climate investment ever made by California and the most substantial climate measure approved by voters in the United States.

Other Ballot Initiatives

Prop. 32: Minimum Wage

Under the Living Wage Act, the state’s minimum wage increased to $16 earlier this year and will rise to $17 in January 2025 for businesses with more than 25 employees.
A yes vote on the proposed ballot measure means the minimum wage will continue increasing to $18 in January 2025. For employers with fewer than 25 workers, the minimum wage would increase from to $17 in 2025 and then $18 in 2026.
If the measure is passed, California’s minimum wage will be the highest in the nation, surpassing the $17 minimum wage of the District of Columbia.

Prop. 33: Rent Control

The proposed measure, titled Justice for Renters Act, seeks to repeal the nearly three-decades-old Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which prevents local governments from setting rent caps on housing built after 1995 and single-family homes.
A yes vote means the local governments will have more authority to regulate rental rates and to expand rent control to properties that were previously exempt.
This is the third attempt to implement rent limits in California since the state’s passage of the Rental Housing Act in 1995. Similar initiatives in 2018 and 2020 failed to pass.

Prop. 34: Direct Patient Care

A yes vote on this initiative means certain health care providers must spend 98 percent of revenue from a 2000 federal prescription drug discount program on direct patient care. The law would apply to providers that spent more than $100 million in any 10-year period on anything other than direct patient care and operated multifamily housing with more than 500 severe violations, according to the ballot summary.
It also permanently authorizes the state to negotiate Medi-Cal drug prices for the whole state, the summary says.
The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that enforcing the measure could increase state government costs by millions annually because of compliance and enforcement costs.

Prop. 35: Tax on Medi-Cal Insurance Providers

A yes vote means a current tax on health care insurance providers, originally set to expire in 2026, will be extended indefinitely to fund health care for those covered by the Medi-Cal program.
It also mandates that the tax revenues—collected on monthly enrollments—must be used only for specific Medi-Cal services such as primary and specialty care, emergency services, family planning, mental health care, and prescription drugs.

Prop. 36: Reform Prop. 47

Initially passed by voters in 2014, Proposition 47 aimed to lower prison populations by downgrading some felony theft and drug crimes to misdemeanors. Ten years later, Prop. 47 returns to the ballot for voters to decide whether to reform the law amid heightened concerns about public safety across the state.
A yes vote on the reform proposal means strengthening penalties for repeat offenders and allowing prosecutors to charge felonies for certain drug and theft crimes.
The initiative also encourages offenders to join drug rehabilitation programs to avoid prison sentences.
On July 1, Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers introduced a competing ballot measure that also aims to reform Prop. 47, more moderately. However, he backed out at the last minute and withdrew the effort.

Removed From Ballot

Five initiatives were recently pulled from the ballot because of repetitiveness, moot bills, or compromises in the Legislature, and one because of concern about high advertising costs due to the crowded list of measures now qualified for the ballot.
The initiatives covered such topics as low-income housing projects, tax increases, personal finance courses for high schoolers, workplace justice, and child health care.
A voting threshold initiative, ACA 13, was moved to November 2026.
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Sophie Li
Sophie Li
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Sophie Li is a Southern California-based reporter covering local daily news, state policies, and breaking news for The Epoch Times. Besides writing, she is also passionate about reading, photography, and tennis.

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