| We're starting to get a better picture of what will and will not be on the November 2010 ballot. Back on New Year's Day I thought we might be facing a "ballot initiative thunderdome" but now it looks like it'll be a bit less of a Hobbesian war of all against all come November.
Here's what has already qualified, according to Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office:
• $11 billion water bond
• Cannabis legalization
• Extending Prop 11 commission to redistrict Congressional seats
• State parks funding initiative
• And as of today, an initiative to finally ban state raids on local government funding.
(Unfortunately, the sequence of qualification means cannabis legalization won't be Prop 20, unless the Legislature itself puts one more initiative on the November ballot.)
Several initiatives are pending signature verification:
• Majority vote budget
• Closing recent corporate tax loopholes
• Extends 2/3 rule to cover fees
• Eliminates Prop 11 commission
• Dirty Energy Proposition (AB 32 repeal)
Assuming these qualify, and the deadline is later this week, that would mean at least 10 initiatives for the November ballot, double the number we had in June. Four of them would involve different sides of the same issue - one initiative would roll back the 2/3 rule (for budgets), another would extend it to fees. One would eliminate the Prop 11 commission, another would extend its purview to Congressional races too.
Some initiatives we thought might be on the November ballot aren't going to be there. One of these is the parental notification initiative - perhaps after 3 consecutive defeats the anti-choice, anti-woman forces are finally having trouble getting people to take them seriously.
Another one that didn't make it is the term limits extension initiative.
And of course, other high-profile reform efforts appear to have stalled out for 2010, including the constitutional convention and the California Forward reform package.
It's always possible that, as in 2009, the final budget deal will include reforms or constitutional changes that need to be approved by voters, so we could see a couple more initiatives for November.
But overall, the ballot initiatives will continue the theme of corporations trying to rewrite state law for their own benefit (water bond and dirty energy prop) from the June 8 election. It will also give voters very clear choices on how to proceed with reforming our state government, and will finally start the process of rolling back our ridiculous and costly "law and order" policies with cannabis legalization.
It should certainly be an interesting battle on November 2.