This year, the California state ballot includes twelve propositions that vary widely in topic and support base. We’ve compiled this guide to prepare you for 2020’s metaphorical ballot box. 

Illustration by Willow Gelphman.

Proposition 14: Stem Cell Research
Allocates $5.5 billion in state bonds to fund medical research, training, and construction of new facilities. This includes $1.5 billion dedicated to research on Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other diseases affecting the central nervous system.Does not authorize state bonds to be used for grants from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine to other private, educational, or nonprofit entities.
Supports: University of California Board of Regents
California Democratic Party
Opposes: Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society
Proposition 15: Taxes on Commercial Property 
Would require commercial and industrial properties be taxed at their current market value, instead of their value at time of purchase. Would lead to a $7.5 to $12 billion dollar increase in tax revenues to be used in schools and local government services.Would not require commercial and industrial real properties be taxed at their current market values. No net increase in property tax revenues.
Supports: Kamala D. Harris (D), U.S. senator
Joe Biden (D), Democratic presidential nominee
Bernie Sanders (I), U.S. senator (Vermont)
Gavin Newsom (D), California governor
Opposes: Ted Gaines (R), California State Board of Equalization member
Antonio Villaraigosa (D) , former Los Angeles mayor
Proposition 16: Allow Public Agencies to Consider Diversity

Proposition 16 aims to repeal Proposition 209 from 1996, which banned affirmative action in public education and government employment decisions. If Proposition 16 passes, state and local governments, public universities, and other public institutions will be able to consider race, sex, color, ethnicity, and country of origin in their decision-making.

Would repeal Proposition 209, allowing public agencies to consider race, sex, color, ethnicity, and country of origin in their decision-making.Proposition 209 stands and does not allow the government or public institutions to consider race, sex, color, ethnicity, or country of origin in their decision-making. In effect, affirmative action is still disallowed.
Supports: Kamala D. Harris (D), U.S. senator
Gavin Newsom (D), California governor
Opposes: Ling Ling Chang (R), state senator
Melissa Melendez (R), state senator
Proposition 17: Voting Rights for People Who Have Completed Their Prison Term

In 1974, Californians convicted of a felon gained the right to vote after completing their parole, which typically lasts about three years. If Proposition 17 were passed, over 40,000 Californians on parole would be allowed to vote, and California would join 19 other states that allow parolees to do so.

Would allow convicted felons to vote after serving their state or federal prison term. Would keep the current policy, disqualifying those serving parole for a felony from voting.
Supports: Kamala D. Harris (D), U.S. senator
Alex Padilla (D), California secretary of state
Opposes: Jim Nielsen (R), state senator
Proposition 18: Primary Voting Rights for 17-Year-Olds
Would allow 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the time of the next general election to vote in primary and special elections before then.17-year-olds who would be 18 during the next general election will continue to not be allowed to vote in primary or special elections before then.
Supports: Alex Padilla (D), California secretary of state
Kevin Mullin (D), assemblymember
Opposes: The Election Integrity Project California
Illustration by Willow Gelphman.
Proposition 19: Changes in Property Tax Rules 
Would allow eligible residents to transfer their current home tax assessments to other properties in the state, including to more expensive homes with an adjustment, up to three times. Second homes and rental properties would have to be re-evaluated at market value when transferred. Would allocate additional revenues or savings to Cal Fire and other wildfire agencies.Would keep current rule that tax assessment transfers can only be to counties and properties with equal or lesser value, and only allowed once. Tax assessments on homes besides the primary home can now be transferred to children and grandchildren.
Supports: National Association of RealtorsOpposes: Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
Proposition 20: Changes to Criminal Penalties and Parole

Proposition 20 seeks to retract many of the penal standards established under California Propositions 47 and 57, which made attaining parole easier for some offenders, and lowered drug and property crimes to misdemeanors.

Reclassifies certain misdemeanor crimes as felony charges, and increases the list of factors that are considered for releasing certain inmates early from prison. Law enforcement would be required to collect DNA samples from adults convicted of certain misdemeanors and submit them to the state database.Penalties for these misdemeanors would not be increased. There would be no change to the state’s process for releasing inmates from prison early. Law enforcement would continue to be required to collect DNA samples from adults only if they are required to register as sex offenders or arsonists, or are arrested for a felony.
Supports: Jim Cooper (D), assemblymember
Vince Fong (R), assemblymember
Opposes: Jerry Brown (D), former California governor
ACLU of Northern California
Illustration by Willow Gelphman.
Proposition 21: Local Governments and Rent Control
Allow local governments to establish rent control on residential properties over 15 years old. Would allow rent increases on rent-controlled properties of up to 15 percent over three years from a previous tenant’s rent above any increase allowed by local law. Individuals who own less than two units would be exempt from new rent-control policies.State law on the limits of rent control that can be applied by local government would remain the same.
Supports: Bernie Sanders (I), U.S. senator (Vermont)
Maxine Waters (D), U.S. representative
Opposes: Gavin Newsom (D), California governor
State Building and Construction Trades Council of California
Proposition 22: Rideshare and Delivery Drivers
Would allow app-based ride share and delivery companies to hire drivers as independent contractors. Drivers would have more work flexibility, but do not get standard benefits and protections that are provided to employees.App-based ride share and delivery companies would have to hire drivers as employees. Drivers would have less work flexibility, but are provided standard benefits and protections by the business.
Supports: California Police Chiefs Association
Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Postmates, Instacart
Opposes: Kamala D. Harris (D), U.S. senator
Joe Biden (D), Democratic presidential nominee
Elizabeth Warren (D), U.S. senator (Massachusetts)
Illustration by Willow Gelphman.
Proposition 23: Kidney Dialysis Clinics
Would require chronic dialysis clinics to have a doctor onsite during all patient treatment hours, except during extreme shortage of medical personnel. Would require clinics to report dialysis-related infection data to state and federal governments and seek approval from state before closing or lessening services. Chronic dialysis clinics would not be required to have a doctor onsite during all patient treatment hours. Clinics would not need to send data to the state or seek state approval before closing and lessening services.
Supports: SEIU healthcare workers unionOpposes: DaVita Inc., dialysis clinic
California Medical Association
Proposition 24: Changes to Consumer Privacy Laws
Existing consumer data privacy laws and rights, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act, would be expanded, specifically, “pay-for-privacy” models that allow businesses to withhold discounts from consumers unless consumers allow the company to collect and share their user data. A new state agency and the state’s Department of Justice would share responsibility for enforcing state consumer privacy laws.Businesses would continue to be required to follow existing consumer data privacy laws. Consumers would continue to have existing data privacy rights. California’s Department of Justice would continue to enforce these laws.
Supports: Andrew Yang, former Democratic presidential candidate
Alastair Mactaggart, San Francisco-based real estate developer
Opposes: ACLU of California
California Nurses Association
Illustration by Willow Gelphman.
Proposition 25: Yes or No on Getting Rid of Bail

In 2018, state lawmakers approved legislation to abolish cash bail. The law has now been put on the state ballot as a referendum, after being opposed by most Republicans in the California State Legislature and the bail bond industry. If voters pass the proposition, California would be the first state in the nation to eliminate cash bail for suspected criminals.

Uphold existing law to eliminate cash bail system, replaced with a risk assessment system. No fees would be charged as a condition for release.Repeal existing law, keeping the cash bail system in place. Fees could continue to be charged as a condition of release from jail.
Supports: Gavin Newsom (D), California governor
California Democratic Party
Opposes: Orange County Board of Supervisors
American Bail Coalition