Friday, April 27, 2018

Capitol Update: Friday, April 27, 2018

Prop Spotlight: Prop 69 - Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox and Appropriations Limit Exemption Amendment

The CFRW Recommends a NO vote

Ballot Title: Requires That Certain New Transportation Revenues Be Used for Transportation Purposes. Legislative Constitutional Amendment

Ballot Summary:

Requires that revenues generated by a 2017 transportation funding law, through a certain vehicle license fee and diesel sales tax, be used only for transportation purposes, including public transportation. Generally prohibits the Legislature from diverting those funds to other purposes.
Prohibits revenue from new vehicle license fees from being used to repay general obligation bond debt.
Exempts new revenues from state and local spending limits.

Last year the California State Legislature passed SB 1, “The Gas Tax”, by a 2/3rds majority vote. It was overwhelmingly unpopular with Californians, but they did it anyway. SB 1 enacted the highest tax increase in our state’s history, at $5.2 billion a year in higher taxes. SB 1 raised gasoline taxes an additional 12 cents a gallon, raised diesel taxes by 20 cents a gallon, raised diesel sales taxes from 1.75 to 5.75 percent, raised vehicle fees by $25-$100 per car, per year, and finally included an electric car fee of $100 per car, per year. Proposition 69 was written as an addendum to SB 1, so that voters could feel the legislature would be responsible with SB 1 revenue. Californians already voted to protect gas tax revenue in 2002- Prop 42 and again in 2010- Prop 22. Both previous propositions were designed to have gas tax revenue be only used for transportation funding. Both previous propositions were created to protect gas tax revenue from being siphoned off for other funding purposes. Prop 69 claims to do the same thing, except this time, we know better.

Talking Points

  • This proposition is a farce. It is disingenuous to voters and to all taxpayers who use our roads. Prop 69 claims to use gas tax revenue for transportation purposes only. When the legislature passed SB 1, they claimed we needed the higher taxes to fix our crumbling transportation infrastructure. But the truth is, we didn’t need higher taxes, we need representatives with integrity, who would use already existing gas tax revenue and vehicle fees for transportation purposes only. The legislature needed to write a constitutional amendment to keep their word?
  • We already have “lockbox” measures supposedly keeping our gas tax revenue “safe” and for “transportation funds” only. Why do we think this time they won’t use a loophole?
  • Speaking up loopholes, Prop 69 exempts the gas tax revenue from the state’s constitutional spending limit. This will RAISE the state’s General Fund spending by approximately $2 billion annually, with no taxpayer oversight.
  • Prop 69 does nothing to protect taxpayer’s money. Taxpayers were promised that SB 1 would fix our roads and transportation infrastructure. Prop 69 does not guarantee this. Instead, it puts some of the revenue in a “transportation fund” whereby the legislature can decide what qualifies as “transportation” (read: transit and High Speed Rail). It does not guarantee funding for our crumbling roads or easing traffic congestion! It is a duplicitous measure designed to make voters feel like they are in the “driver’s seat” with state spending, but we are being “taken for a ride” once again.

Official CFRW Positions

  • Prop 68: NO
  • Prop 69: NO
  • Prop 70: NO
  • Prop 71: YES
  • Prop 72: YES
June Ballot Measures

Proposition 68: California Parks, Environment, and Water Bond- would issue a $4 billion general obligation bond, with a 3.5% interest rate over 30 years, bringing the bill to the taxpayers up to $6.4 billion total. The CFRW says vote NO.

Proposition 69: Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox and Appropriations Limit Exemption Amendment- states that Senate Bill 1 revenue from diesel taxes will be placed in a “lockbox” and used only for transportation fund purposes. The CFRW says vote NO.

Proposition 70: Vote Requirement to Use Cap and Trade Funds Amendment- would require a one-time vote in 2024 by a 2/3rds legislative majority to allocate state Cap and Trade program revenue. The CFRW says vote NO.

Proposition 71: Effective Date of Ballot Measures Amendment- changes the date for when voter approved ballot measures take effect from the day after the election to the fifth day after the Secretary of State certifies the election. The CFRW says vote YES.

Proposition 72: Rainwater Capture Systems Excluded from Property Tax Assessment- would exclude any new rainwater capture structures from property value tax reassessment from counting as a new structure. The CFRW says vote YES.

If you would like ALL the talking points for each proposition, please email our Advocate at

SB1424 Social Media Censorship
(Contributed by our CFRW Intern, Kurtie Kellner)

SB1424 is the work of Senator Richard Pan, and if passed, will force social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, to hire outside fact checkers to check the credibility of the new articles being circulated on the sites, and mark articles warning users if an article contains false or misleading information. While this might seem like a good idea at first, the language the bill uses promises that it will do more harm than good. The fact checkers are required to check if information is false or ‘misleading’ but there are no guidelines for what will be classified as false or misleading. Along with that, since this bill only targets companies that have a “physical presence in California,” there is nothing stopping companies from leaving California as a way to avoid this bill. Lastly, this bill is redundant given that Facebook has already started information sourcing news articles that are circulating on its site. Then, what is likely the most concerning part of this bill is the degrees in which it infringes upon our First Amendment rights. This is a form of required government censorship that is trying to regulate the free flow of information that social media has given us.

SB 1424 is being heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 8th! If your Senator is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, call them next week and ask them to VOTE NO on SB 1424! Find your Senator ◼ >HERE.

Senate Judiciary Committee

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (Chair): D-19th, (916) 651-4019
Senator John M. W. Moorlach (Vice Chair): R-37th, (916) 651-4037
Senator Joel Anderson: R- 38th, (916) 651-4038
Senator Robert M. Hertzberg: D-18th, (916) 651-4018
Senator Bill Monning: D-17th, (916) 651-4017
Senator Henry I. Stern: D-27th, (916) 651-4027
Senator Bob Wieckowski: D-10th, (916) 651-4010

Policing the Police

(Contributed by our CFRW Intern, Kurtie Kellner)

AB 931 (Weber, D) changes just one word of original law, but has the potential to make our police officers and those they serve to protect much less safe. This bill was amended barely ten days ago and was completely gutted of the bill’s original intent. Originally AB 931 was meant to build off of the Suicide Prevention Act of 2000 and increase awareness, education, and prevention of suicide, with a focus on colleges. This new amendment removes any mention of suicide and changes the focus of the bill to use of deadly force by police officers. The main effect of this bill is that it changes the allowable use of force changes from reasonable to necessary. While this seems like a minor change it endangers our police officers because it makes them second guess themselves in what a split-second decision is already. Along with that, what is deemed as necessary will put our officers under even more scrutiny than they already face. AB 931 is waiting for a hearing date in both the Senate Public Safety Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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Disclaimer: The Capitol Update is an activity of the CFRW Advocate's Office. The update is for information only. CFRW official positions on legislation are stated immediately preceding the stated legislation or immediately following the stated legislation in this report.