California voters support abortion but reject corporate-backed proposals

Californians vote to protect abortion in the state constitution

Voters approved with great success a ballot measure to enshrine abortion and contraception rights in the state constitution.

Other states also considered measures to regulate reproductive health after the US Supreme Court Roe v. Wade in June, ruling that states could decide whether to allow abortions.

Partial results showed that Proposition 1 from California led with 68% of the vote. Ballots for the November 8 election will be counted as long as they are postmarked by Tuesday and received by the district electoral offices within seven days.

The measure was expected to pass, with polls showing at least two-thirds of respondents support it. But supporters wanted a decisive victory to send a clear message that abortion is legal and accessible in California and to encourage other states to do the same.

Big bet on bust to legal sports betting in California

The most expensive ballot-gambling in US history went bust Tuesday as California voters overwhelmingly rejected sports betting initiatives by Native American tribes and the gambling industry.

About $460 million has been raised in competing efforts to expand gaming and grab a share of a potentially multi-billion dollar market in the nation’s most populous state. Final contributions are still counted.

But voters didn’t want a piece of the action.

With more than 4.6 million votes counted, a measure widely backed by gaming companies that would have allowed adults to bet on mobile devices and online had just 16% support. A proposal that would have legalized sports betting in tribal casinos and horse racing tracks had less than 30% support.

The money raised and spent more than doubled the record amount spent in 2020 by Uber, Lyft and other app-based ride-hailing and delivery services to prevent drivers from becoming employees who are entitled to benefits and job protections.

See page 3 for more information on the status of gambling measures.

Voters advocate a big boost in funding for arts education

California voters on Tuesday approved a voting measure supported by a prominent lineup that included Barbra Streisand and Los Angeles-born rappers and Dr. Dre, which could pump as much as $1 billion annually from the state’s general fund into arts education.

The measure met with no organized resistance, a rarity. With about a quarter of the votes counted, Proposition 28 won comfortably with 75.8% of the votes. The state must provide the equivalent of 1% of California state funding to public schools from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade for arts.

Supporters said it would benefit public school programs that go beyond traditional art, drama, dance and music classes to include graphic design, computer coding, animation, music composition and screenwriting.

Despite California’s vibrant arts and music scene, which has given the world everything from Hollywood to surf rock, fewer than a quarter of public schools have a full-time art or music teacher, and some schools don’t offer such classes at all.

The measure will send 30% of the earmarked money to low-income school districts that have large numbers of Black and Hispanic students.

It was supported by everyone from Austin Beutner, former superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, to the Los Angeles County Business Federation.

Some critics had expressed concerns about providing more money from the state’s general fund when California faces many other challenges, from homelessness to wildfires.

Californians reject measure to change dialysis clinic rules

For the third time in three consecutive elections, California voters rejected a voting measure that would have mandated major changes to the operations of dialysis clinics, which provide life-saving care to 80,000 people with kidney failure.

Proposition 29 failed after nearly 70% of Californians voted “no” late Tuesday.

The measure would have required the presence of a doctor, nurse or medical assistant during treatment at the country’s 600 outpatient dialysis facilities.

Dialysis clinic companies said between two and three doctors would be needed at each facility as part of the mandate, as most are open at least 16 hours a day. That would have created a financial strain that could result in some clinics closing, making it harder for patients to find treatment, they said.

It was the third straight general election in which Californians were asked to vote on dialysis regulations. And it was one of the costliest election issues in the state’s history. According to state records, the two sides combined spent more than $90 million that year.

All three measures were supported by unions representing healthcare workers.

California voters oppose taxing the rich for more electric cars

California’s wealthiest residents will not see a tax hike after voters on Tuesday rejected a measure that would have raised interest rates on income over $2 million to get more electric cars on the road.

The defeat of Proposition 30 marks a victory for Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has campaigned against it despite his administration’s efforts to ban sales of most new gas-powered cars over the next decade. He branded it a taxpayer-funded giveaway for ridesharing, which California regulations must ensure nearly all trips booked through its services are zero-emissions by 2030. Ride-sharing company Lyft provided most of the funding for the Yes campaign.

The measure would have levied a 1.75% tax on income over $2 million. That’s an estimated fewer than 43,000 taxpayers in a state of nearly 40 million people. Even without that, California’s top earners pay more than 13%, the country’s highest income tax.

Voters approve California law banning flavored tobacco

Californians voted Tuesday to enact legislation banning flavored tobacco products such as menthol cigarettes and strawberry-gum vape juice.

With about a quarter of the votes counted, Proposition 31 won with 76.5% of the votes.

A campaign funded by tobacco giants including RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA had effectively blocked the law passed two years ago. The $20 million campaign garnered enough signatures to put the issue on the national vote.

Proponents of the ban, which included doctors, child protection advocates and the state’s dominant Democratic Party, said the law was needed to stem the staggering rise in teenage smoking.

Proponents of the ban said the win will save lives and money on tobacco-related health care costs.

State Senator Ben Allen should win his race against Republican Kristina Irwin, and Rep. Ted Lieu should also win his Republican challenger Joe Collins III.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta, a progressive reformer appointed last year and the first Filipino to hold the office in a state, beat down a challenge from a Republican former federal attorney general to reach a full four-year term.

Janie Har, Julie Watson, Brian Melley, Christopher Weber, and Kathleen Ronayne contributed to this report.