Making Democracy Work

LWV RECOMMENDATIONS

League Recommendations on Ballot Measures - Nov. 6, 2018

For California ballot measures, see League Recommendations.

YES on PROP 1: Veterans and Afforable Housing Bond California is experiencing a housing crisis. The state's extreme shortage of affordable housing has life and death consequences, especially for people with low incomes. Housing instability has been linked to public health crises, food insecurity, and developmental problems in children. Prop 1 will build and preserve affordable homes, including supportive housing, for veterans, working families, people with disabilities, Californians experiencing homelessness and others struggling to find a safe place to call home.

YES on Prop 2: Homeless Housing Bond A quarter of the nation's homeless reside in California--over 130,000 people. A significant percentage of our homeless population suffers from mental illness. Prop 2 allows the use of unspent money, originally allocated through a 2004 measure to fund mental health services, to be used to address the problem. If passed, the unspent money would be used to provide permanent supportive housing for people who need mental health services, and are either currently homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

NO on Prop 3: Water Bond It is essential that California manage and develop water resources in ways that benefit the environment, and that the environmental focus emphasizes both conservation and use-appropriate high water quality standards. However, this bond is not the way to accomplish those goals.

While the League of Women Voters of California supports the use of long-term debt (bond measures) to finance capital projects, this measure has a number of fatal flaws, including: ● Shifting the cost for water from the end users to California taxpayers;

NO on Prop 4: Children's Hospital Bond While the League supports quality healthcare for all Californians, Prop 4 would use $1.5 billion in public, general obligation bond money to support privately-owned children's hospitals, along with five children's hospitals in the University of California system. State funds should not be used to support private facilities. This principle stands even when, as is the case in this measure, the facilities serve severely ill children. The bond money would be used for construction, expansion, renovation, and equipment projects.

NO on Prop 5: Property Tax Property taxes are the major source of funding for schools and local services. Prop 5 is a costly constitutional amendment that would reduce funds for schools and local services by $1 billion per year. In exchange for that $1 billion a year, Prop 5 would provide special tax benefits to some property owners. It does nothing to help low-income seniors, or families struggling to find housing. Seniors already have the ability to keep their tax break when they downsize. Prop 5 drains California's coffers of money that is essential to schools and communities.

NO on Prop 6: Gas Tax Repeal California is in critical need of highway and local street repairs and maintenance, and improvements to mass transit and transportation. Prop 6 would repeal the recently-enacted 2017 package of taxes and fees approved by the State Legislature to fund transportation projects, amounting to a loss of $4.7 billion in annual funding. The measure would also add a constitutional amendment requiring any fuel or diesel taxes to be approved by voters, limiting the legislature's ability to address California's serious infrastructure needs.

YES on Prop 10: Repeal Costa Hawkins Multiple strategies are needed to address the significant housing shortages and inequities that exist across California. While this rent control measure offers little systemic progress, and may not result in adding new affordable housing units, it does allow local communities to respond to the housing crisis in ways that are appropriate for each of them. We support providing local communities with this control.

LWVC Recommends

How the LWVC Takes Action

To reach [the League's aim], study is not enough, becoming experts is not enough. Good citizenship requires not only knowledge but ability to act.

- Marguerite Wells, President, League of Women Voters 1934-44

Leagues at all levels take action. Our advocacy can include writing letters to media or legislators, holding press conferences, speaking at hearings and public meetings, adding our voice to a ballot measure campaign or sending action alerts to our members. Taking action is always based on current program positions and/or on League Principles. Positions are developed based on member study and consensus. We have many positions, and many opportunities to act, so how does the League of Women Voters of California board determine when to take action on state legislation and statewide ballot measures, and on which items?

League Priorities

The LWVC has a series of priorities: the Issues for Education and Advocacy set every two years at the LWVC convention, the legislative priorities set for each legislative session by the board, and the core issues of the League that include redistricting, elections, initiative and referendum process, voting rights, campaign finance reform and reproductive choices.

Requests for Action

Recommendations and requests for action on issues--bills before the legislature, potential ballot measures--come from a variety of sources. Local Leagues or League members can request that the LWVC look at a potential piece of legislation for action, or we may be asked by the author of a bill for the League's endorsement. Other groups working in a particular area can ask that the League join them in endorsing a bill or ballot measure. Or, most commonly, we simply are following legislation in a particular area closely and find something that we want to address.

Analysis: How Does It Fit with League Positions?

These requests are first sent to the off-board Program Director and/or Legislative Consultant responsible for the issue area for analysis. Off-board Program Directors and Legislative Consultants are experts on League positions and previous League action on the positions in a particular area, and do analysis of bills and ballot measures with recommendations about potential League action. They watch legislation in their area of expertise, and they frequently are the ones that draft the letters and testimony in their issue area.

The Legislative Consultants write analyses of the measure under consideration, including a summary of the measure and how it changes current law, a summary of the related League positions, and how the League positions apply to the measure. They also give recommendations about supporting or opposing the measure and indicate how important they feel it is within their area. The Program Directors may add their comments and recommendations, including information about previous League action on similar measures.

Legislation Committee

Recommendations for action on legislation and ballot measures are considered by the LWVC Legislation Committee, made up of the LWVC President, VP for Advocacy and Program, all program directors from the LWVC board, and two off-board members. The Legislation Committee can take action for the LWVC on bills, and makes recommendations to the whole LWVC board for action on ballot measures. Whenever action is taken, that is reported to the board and the membership. Members can find a record of League action in the Bill Status Report and on our Web site, http://lwvc.org.

Some of the criteria that the Legislation Committee and the board use in determining whether to take action on a particular issue are:

League positions, including previous League action

What does the League's voice add to the debate on this?

What will happen if the League does not speak?

Frequently, the League has multiple positions covering a single measure, and the Legislation Committee must balance these positions together + and sometimes against each other. At other times, the League supports a part of a measure, but doesn't like another part, so we must weigh the importance of the supported portion against that of the non-supported portion. All of these factors weigh in the Legislative Committee and the board discussions.

For ballot measures, we also consider what else is on the ballot for that election. That element of the decision process for ballot measures doesn't so much affect whether or not we will take a position but rather when we might take a position and how strongly we will be involved in a campaign.

Ballot Measures

We only take positions on ballot measures based on current program positions and/or on League principles. Positions are developed based on member study and consensus. We have many positions, and many opportunities to act, so how does our board determine when to take action on statewide ballot measures, and on which items?

Endorsement Strategy

Because the League's resources are limited, we try to be strategic about how we endorse measures.

We want to make sure

that it is something that we really can endorse (that it isn't still in a nebulous state)

that it isn't going to change in some way that will make us have to either withdraw our support or otherwise backpedal

If there is going to be some kind of campaign, we also want to be given a strong voice in the campaign messaging.

We are involved in some campaigns from the very beginning (redistricting, clean money), but frequently wait to see whether a measure qualifies for the ballot before endorsing.

Some of the other factors that we consider when looking at a ballot measure include

the reality of its passage (is it really worth putting our energy into this?)

who else is working on it (can we realistically be in a coalition with these organizations?)

overall campaign strategy (is there a total plan, and can the League take an effective role?)

whether we want to make a statement of principle on an issue

For More Information:

League of Women Voters of California, Our Work (LWVC position statements and action policies as well as our current priorities for education and advocacy)

League of Women Voters of California, Legislative Priorities

League of Women Voters, Our Work (LWVUS statements of position and priorities)

Are you looking for fair and balanced non-partisan voter education material?

Find it at CAVotes.org