A Proposition for 2012 120711
Fun with California’s Initiative Process
A glance at this year’s crop of initiatives and referenda reveals, yet again, that politics is a strange endeavor, and California is a strangeness attractor.
There are currently 31 such documents awaiting your signature; most won’t receive enough signatures to make it to the ballot, which is probably a good thing. California voters seem to make decisions from the heart and the wallet, with logic and rationality given scant exercise.
Here is a brief rundown of what’s on the menu.
Parental notification for abortion for minor women.
John Smith, if that is his real name, wants the state to force doctors to do what parents have failed to do: get their pregnant under-age daughters to fess up. Mr. Smith wants females under the age of 18 to have either a parent’s or judge’s permission to have an abortion. Mr. Smith specifies females, so he’s probably fine with minor males seeking an abortion. Mr. Smith has six versions of his proposal looking for signatures.
It’s a thorny issue. On the one hand, what parent wouldn’t want to know if their daughter had a bun in the oven? On the other hand, might the female under 18 have her own reasons for keeping her decision to herself? The age at which young women throughout time and across the globe have enjoyed adulthood is typically 14 or so. Further, pregnancy is a singularly personal thing, and whatever social consequences it has for mothers and dads, the physical and emotional consequences fall solely on the expecting young woman. Life isn’t as we imagine it, neat and tidy if you manage it right. Life is simply one damn thing after another, and for some young women, the stark reality of pregnancy and the determination to carry or terminate the child is an experience which creates her as a mature woman. Life is never without regret. Finally, the female under 18 took responsibility without her parent’s knowledge or consent to tuck the problem in, it might be a measure of respect and confidence to let her decide how to get it out.
Thorny problem on an unfortunate situation, but not a place for the government. The Fringe gives all six versions a thumbs down.
There are, so far, three measures to legalize or decriminalize cannabis. One simply decriminalizes possession; one legalizes cannabis and sets up the possibility of state regulation, and the third, which your Fringe Editor supports, proposes to control and tax the herb as wine is currently controlled.
Decriminalizes marijuana sales, distribution, possession, use, cultivation, and transportation. Dismisses pending court actions inconsistent with its provisions. Retains laws forbidding use while driving or in workplace. Establishes regulation of commercial marijuana trade to match regulation of wine and beer. Allows noncommercial production up to 24 flowering plants per household, or more with local approval. Authorizes retail sales of marijuana with THC level of .3% or more to persons 21 or older; if less, no age limit. Directs state and local officials to not cooperate with federal enforcement of marijuana laws. Bans development of genetically modified marijuana. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: The fiscal effects of this measure are subject to considerable uncertainty depending on: (1) the extent to which the federal government continues to enforce federal marijuana laws and (2) the specific taxes applied to marijuana. Savings of potentially several tens of millions of dollars annually to state and local governments on the costs of incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in net additional tax revenues related to the production and sale of marijuana products. (11-0039) (Full Text)
The federal government is morally bankrupt on the issue of cannabis, and the states need to take the lead. It’s only a matter of time. (Big shout out to DG; you’ll see it legalized yet!)
A bad drug related idea is a measure that would tax a tiny amount from each prescription pill to create a massive pill bureaucracy at the Department of Justice.
Cops are not doctors, they aren’t even social workers. No more drug money for cops!
An interesting initiative addresses the issue of personhood, but with a twist: it identifies the blastocyst as a person, making abortion more difficult. On the one hand, take personhood from corporations, on the other hand, making a sneak attack on abortion rights. Very interesting, and it should bisect two disparate groups, but might only discourage both.
Defines "person" as including all living human beings from the beginning of their biological development as human organisms, for purposes of state constitutional protections of due process and equal protection. Eliminates state constitutional protections of due process and equal protection for non-biological entities, such as corporations
Several proposals seek to take benefits and representation away from public unions. Not clear how this benefits people; can see it’s good for those who pay a lot of taxes. Civil service is one of the best ways for the average person to get ahead, to make a good wage, and to retire someday. Who thinks people shouldn’t have that? Further, who thinks we should have the worst employees we can possibly get teaching our children and putting out our fires. Likely it would seem like a good idea to outsource the work to India. No, stop attacking the one decent living left for the average American.
Finally, my very favorite initiative proposal. It does away with environmental laws, gives everyone the opportunity to heal themselves (or something) and gives us individually the right to tell the federal government to go to hell. What’s not to love about this initiative, indeed, why stop there, why not jail all lawyers, outlaw bras and finally drive a stake through disco. Seriously, government simply can’t work like that, which isn’t as attractive as it seems. The Fringe Editor has to admit he’s out-fringed by this one.
Elimination of Environmental Protection Laws and Agencies. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.
Proponent: Oscar Alejandro Braun
Repeals the California Environmental , California Endangered Species Act, California Global Warming Solutions Act, and California Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act. Abolishes the California Environmental Protection Agency and Air Resources Board. Establishes new inalienable rights to produce, distribute, use, and consume air, carbon dioxide, water, food, habitat for humanity, universal heal thyself care, and energy generating natural resources. Grants Californians the individual right to nullify all federal powers not specifically delegated to the United States by the federal constitution.
None of these are on the ballot for 2012 yet, but no doubt a few of them will make it to the people.
One measure has already been approved for the ballot which will dramatically change the watershed landscape in the Sierra if it passes. The Delta water bill, also known as the Safe, Clean and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2012, is complex and needs a lot of reading. You can find it HERE