California — There are now eight ballot measures certified for the November election. Two were recently certified and another for November 2013, may begin collecting signatures.
One of the new proposals requires mandatory labeling on foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. The mandatory labeling initiative statute prohibits labeling or advertising certain foods as “natural.”
The other newer initiative deals with modifying California’s three-strikes sentencing law. The revision imposes a life sentence only when new felony conviction is serious or violent. It authorizes re-sentencing for offenders currently serving life sentences if third strike conviction (or previous convictions) were not serious or violent and a judge determines they do not pose unreasonable risk to public safety. The financial impact is estimated to save the State in the high tens of millions of dollars annually in the short run, possibly exceeding $100 million annually in the long run.
Other Qualified Statewide Ballot Measures:
The Safe, Clean, and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2012
A referendum for continuing the process of redistricting the State’s Senate Districts
A change of the law to allow auto insurance companies to increase cost of insurance to drivers who have not maintained continuous coverage
An initiative statute that prohibits political contributions by payroll deduction (allows yearly deduction if in writing) and other restrictions on contributions to candidates.
Repealing the death penalty and replacing it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole. Applied retroactively to persons already sentenced to death. It requires persons found guilty of murder to work while in prison, with their wages to be applied to any victim restitution fines or orders against them. Creates $100 million fund to be distributed to law enforcement agencies to help solve more homicide and rape cases. The Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance found that implementation would result in a net savings to the state and counties that could amount to the high tens of millions of dollars annually and one-time state costs totaling $100 million from 2012-13 through 2015-16 to provide funding to local law enforcement agencies.
Lastly, a ballot measure increases criminal penalties for human trafficking to 15-years-to-life and fines up to $1,500,000 and requires those convicted to register as sex offenders. New mandatory training requirements for certain law enforcement officers.
The new initiative for 2013 that may begin collecting petition signatures is for a measure that will eliminate property tax exemptions for religious use. Tuolumne County Tax Assessor, Ken Caetano, says based on the current fiscal assessment he is preparing now, the value of exempt religious properties in Tuolumne county amount to $35 million. The property tax that could be collected from that would be 1% or $350,000. Caetano noted that only 26 cents of every dollar, or $90,000 would remain in the county, if this got enough signatures and passed, the rest would go to the state.