California propositions stir campus conversation

In the aftermath of conversations concerning the presidential election, the propositions on the ballot in California received less attention. On Nov. 8, a total of 17 propositions were voted on, 12 of which passed.

Proposition 62 would have repealed the death penalty and replaced it with a life sentence in jail without possibility of parole. It was defeated with 6,913,025 votes to 6,068,675 votes.

Freshman English major Reilly Fitzpatrick voted yes on Proposition 62.

“I think that the death penalty is putting the role of God into man’s hands, and I don’t agree with that. I think making capital punishment as part of human government is something that goes against my personal Christian beliefs,” Fitzpatrick said.

Helena Mayer, a freshmen music major, voted no on Proposition 62.

“I said no only because from the last research I had. The amount of money spent keeping someone in prison for lifetime means that taxpayers have to spend a significant amount of money further. I think the death penalty is not as barbaric as people make it sound; it’s quick and easy, as long as it’s humane,” Mayer said.

Mayer also voted yes on Proposition 66, which was designed to speed up the process of the death penalty and eliminate certain appeal trials that prolong the process by years and cost the state and taxpayers millions of dollars a year. It was approved by a margin of 6,340,488 votes to 6,058,853 votes.

The death penalty was not the only controversial issue with two propositions. Propositions 67 and 65 dealt with the ban of single-use plastic bags. Proposition 67 banned plastic bags, which has made grocery stores charge 10 cents per reusable bag. It was approved by a margin of 6,893,455 votes to 6,082,718 votes.

Proposition 65 would have taken the 10 cents per bag and dedicated it to a wildlife conservation fund, giving grants for drought mitigation; clean drinking water supplies; recycling; litter removal; wildlife habitat restoration; beach cleanup; and state, regional and local parks. It was defeated by a margin of 6,987,497 votes to 5,919,018 votes.

Fitzpatrick, Mayer and sophomore communication studies major Lindsay Goodell all voted yes on the plastic bag ban propositions.

“Everyone will just get used to it. A lot of places in California are already doing that. To me, it’s not that big of a deal,” Goodell said.

Fitzpatrick shared Goodell’s view that it’s something people will get used to.

“It’s a first world problem,” Fitzpatrick said. “I think that paying 10 cents for a bag or bringing your own bag is not that big of a deal, and we should be able to deal with that.”

Fitzpatrick said that environmental issues weren’t as important to her as others, but they were still important because she wanted to keep the environment safe and clean.

Proposition 64 dealt with the legalization of recreational marijuana for people 21 and older. It was approved by a margin of 7,602,606 votes to 5,744,950 votes. Mayer was one of the more than 7 million that voted yes.

“You see a lot of teenagers start drinking because of rebellion. I feel like it’s the same thing. No matter what, it’s still being produced,” Mayer said.

Both Fitzpatrick and Goodell voted no on the proposition.

“I think it’s going to cause a lot more accidents—we already have enough accidents even with people that are drunk driving. I think it will cause a lot more problems than it will help,” Goodell said.

Proposition 58 was concerned with bilingual education. It suggested that students who speak English as their second language (ESL) shouldn’t have to take subjects like math or science in English, and can instead learn it in their native language. It was approved by the largest margin of 9,530,008 votes to 3,466,275 votes. Fitzpatrick voted yes on 58.

“I tutor kids at the library; a lot of them are ESL students, and they have a lot of trouble with a concept that they would easily grasp if it was in their native language. I think that’s really helpful for them academically,” Fitzpatrick said.

To view the rest of the propositions that did and did not pass in California, visit ballotpedia.org/California_2016_ballot_proposition.

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