California’s 17 Statewide Propositions in 50 Words or Less

We’ve tried to simplify the most bloated ballot in California history by breaking down each state proposition to a sentence or two. —Editor


Prop 52This would make it harder for lawmakers to siphon off money meant for Medi-Cal. A way to protect health care for people who can’t otherwise afford it. There are literally no opponents to this prop.

Prop. 54Right-wing billionaires don’t usually inspire good government reforms, but Palo Alto-based physicist and GOP donor Charles Munger Jr. wants more public notice to review bills before they head to the governor's desk. It also requires all open legislative sessions to be recorded and posted online the next day.

Prop 55This prop creates a 12-year extension to the 1-3 percent tax on people who make more than $250,000 a year. It will help continue to fund public schools and healthcare programs. Easy choice.

Prop 56A $2 tax on e-cigs and traditional smokes has Big Tobacco and Big Vape hot and bothered. It’s probably time we quit anyway.

Prop 57Gov. Jerry Brown is trying to redeem himself by dismantling some of the tough-on-crime policies that led to mass incarceration. Yes on 57 would qualify more inmates for early release and prevent juveniles from being tried as adults.

Prop 58The “learn how to talk English” crowd might not like this one, but it’s time to end the state’s bilingual ban in public education.

Prop 61Big Pharma spent more than $100 million to kill Prop 61. Need we say more?

Prop 62It’s time the death penalty met its demise. Prop. 62 would both repeal capital punishment, direct more money to restitution for victims.

Prop 63This prop would ban the sale and possession of high-capacity ammunition magazines, enforce background checks for ammo purchases and enhance charges for gun thefts. If you really want to play with high-powered guns, get an X Box.

Prop 64Hey, pro-cannabis anti-legalization crowd: get over it. Weed isn’t “basically legal” as long as cops consider the scent of it probable cause, a fact that overwhelmingly affects people of color. Prop. 64 isn’t perfect, but we’ve put this off for way too long.

Yes on 67The state banned plastic bags in 2014, but this referendum requires a majority of Californians to sign off before it becomes law. Vote yes on 67. Future generations will thank you.


Prop 51Bankrolled by the construction industry, Prop 51 would create $9 billion in bond debt on top of all the local school bond measures. Gov. Jerry Brown called it a “blunderbuss effort,” and we wholeheartedly agree.

Prop 53Central Valley farmer Dean “Dino” Cortopassi says he penned this prop as a way to rein in state debt but it would actually stall major infrastructure improvement. Bad farmer! Bad!

Prop 59Citizens United made money equal free speech. This prop ask voters to pat state lawmakers on the back and agree that the U.S. Supreme Court decision was a clusterfuck. The prop accomplishes nothing. We’re better off focusing on getting Congress to confirm the next nominee(s).

Prop 60Keep porn dirty.

Prop 65The plastic bag lobby—seriously, it’s a thing—created this prop to confuse voters. Don’t let what seem like noble intentions get in the way of voting Yes on Prop 67.

Prop 66See Prop 62 in “Yes.”

This article is one part of our 2016 election guide special issue. To read up on our candidate endorsements, click here. While you're at it, check out our take on Santa Clara County’s 32 local ballot measures.

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