With the starting of the month of July, we are about to begin the second half of the year. A lot has occurred and will continue to do so. So many things are affected by our right to vote and this should keep us tuned in to all the latest news and results. I will do a rundown of some of the most important items that will affect many people.
The biggest news in the California Presidential primary election was that the initiative to impose a $1-per-pack tax on cigarettes lost. Prop 29, would have raised $735 million dollars a year to be spent on cancer research.
A winner by 20 percent was Prop 28, which reduces California State Legislatures term limits from 14 to 12 years.
The biggest surprise in the LA County election was that Chief Deputy District Attorney Jackie Lacey, in her bid to become LA County’s first African American and first female District Attorney, will be in a runoff in November against Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson.
California Democratic legislative leaders reached a budget deal. Governor Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders agreed to reduce California’s welfare rolls and cut back other social service funding. This will enable them to enact a state budget on time and give them time to try to get voters to authorize tax hikes in November.
The key provisions in the state budget agreement are that spending on welfare, child care, home care, Medi-Cal, prisons, courts and state employees would be reduced for now. Education is basically untouched. The budget includes more than $1 billion dollars in cuts to Medi-Cal and other state health programs. The bulk of the savings, $663 million dollars, would come from a plan to move 1.4 million low-income seniors and people with disabilities who receive benefits from both Medicare and Medi-Cal into managed care.
To try to save billions over the few years, officials want to close a prison and end contracts with private out-of state facilities and cancel some construction projects. They also plan to shift staff to reduce costs, hold inmates in less expensive housing and continue sending low-level offenders to county jails instead of state prisons.
The budget aims to cut compensation for 182,000 state workers by 5%, saving $402 million dollars. That includes nurses, engineers, administrative workers and Highway Patrol officers.
Governor Brown and lawmakers have chosen to leave the financial fate of the state’s public schools, community colleges, and universities to the voters. Brown plans to place an initiative on the November ballot that would hike sales taxes and upper-income taxes. The measure expects to raise $8 billion dollars in the next budget year, according to administration figures, and leave schools relatively untouched.
As you can see decisions by our representatives and our votes can have a long lasting effect on all of us.