A Guide to California’s Propz

Voting day is almost here and if you’re like most Americans there are a few things that are probably true about your life:

  • You know which Presidential nominee you will be voting for
  • You want this all to be over
  • You are lying down, buried beneath 500 pounds of political ads and can’t get up
  • You’ve been so inundated with Yes and No on certain propositions that you might just try to mark “All of the above” on your ballot

There are only so many solutions to these issues and there is not much that I can do to fix this from my high horse in this corner of the internet, but I will try.

I’ve put together a simple guide to the California Propositions here (let’s call ’em propz, shall we? That’ll help convince your brain that all this stuff is really cool right?), hoping to give you the faintest idea of what each is all about as you try to cram for this huge test we have coming up this Tuesday. (For something similar and better go here to study up in a fun, edgy way).

This guide will give you the pros, as well as the cons, as well as a basic description in the form of a mock Friends episode title. And when you’re done reading this go ahead and go watch an episode of Friends, because you deserve it (but stay away from anything surrounding those episodes where Rachel gets pregnant cuz boy has that show jumped the shark by that point).

Hope this helps.

Prop 51:

If it were a Friends episode title: The one that gives schools 9 billion dollars.

Pro: It provides desperately needed upgrades to schools.

Con: Jerry Brown and co. don’t want it because it seems to favor schools who already receive funding rather than those who need it most; mostly benefits wealthy areas and construction companies.

Prop 52: 

If it were a Friends episode title: The one that continues the taxing of hospitals and gives the $ to Medi-Cal (and back to hospitals), while matching this with their own $.

Pro: The government doesn’t take your tax $ to pay for Medi-Cal, instead they take it from private hospitals.

Con: I suppose one could argue that by taxing hospitals it would make them more expensive, but nobody seems to be doing this and it seems like it will pass.

Prop 53:

If it were a Friends episode title: The one that forces big state construction projects to be approved by voters before being built.

Pro: Puts a check on big projects that can often go over-budget and end up forcing tax-payers/users of the project to pay more.

Con: It’s a confusing bit of legislature that never really makes it clear who would vote on what and when, it slows down certain projects, and how are we supposed to know whether high speed trains are good or not?

Prop 54:

If it were a Friends episode title: The one where a bill doesn’t become a law unless it’s been on the internet for 3 days.

Pro: It gives us all the chance to read fun laws in between checking Facebook and Instagram!

Con: It’s supposed to give special interest groups less time to persuade lawmakers, but actually may give them more time.

Prop 55:

If it were a Friends episode title: The one that continues a 2012 prop, maintaining the higher tax rate on those who make over 263K.

Pro: If we don’t continue it we might not have enough money to support important things like education.

Con: Essentially it breaks the promise of Prop 31 and extends it for another 12 years (oh and if you think taxing the rich doesn’t work, you won’t like this one).

Prop 56:

If it were a Friends episode title: The one that increases how much your smoking habit will cost you.

Pro: Incentivizes people not to smoke while giving $ to Medi-Cal and tobacco research for every pack of smokes that is purchased.

Con: Incentives to not do something are great, but when people are addicted to something it’s not as simple as more $ = less people will do it, especially when smoking demographics lean toward low-income, vulnerable individuals—it punishes them for choices they probably made when they were young.

Prop 57:

If it were a Friends episode title: The one where prisoners can earn reduced sentences for good behavior (and also makes it harder for juveniles to be sent to adult court).

Pro: Decreases the prison population in a way that could be good for society.

Con: The prisoners who can receive shortened sentences is not really defined well, which is, uh, not good.

Prop 58:

If it were a Friends episode title: The one that allows for more bilingual education.

Pro: Has a potentially easier path for children who don’t speak English to learn it; certain studies show that bilingual educated students end up on equal or better levels of English at a later date.

Con: You REALLY don’t like Spanish being spoken in school.

Prop 59:

If it were a Friends episode title: The one that lets the government know how you feel (particularly about their ruling on Citizens United: corporations are people too!)

Pro: There’s no legal effect, but if you think the Supreme Court was wrong and corporations should be limited on public spending then this will let the government know that.

Con: Same as the pro, but the opposite.

Prop 60:

If it were a Friends episode title: The one about porn.

Pro: Would lower risks of STDs spreading by forcing people in adult films to wear condoms.

Con: There’s little evidence that there is any need for this amendment as there are hardly any cases of STDs happening and tests are done quite frequently.

Prop 61:

If it were a Friends episode title: The one that forces pharmaceutical companies to change their sales model from used car (where anything is negotiable) to Target (where everything is the same for everyone).

Pro: The government would be able to buy drugs as cheap as possible, making it cheaper for those on their programs to access them.

Con: Pharmaceutical companies would attempt to maneuver around this and the price wouldn’t drop as much (for Veterans Affairs it probably goes up)

Prop 62:

If it were a Friends episode title: The one that prevents the state from executing people (or more mildly put: repeals the death penalty)

Pro: These vary dependent on your morals, but there’s also the fact that it would save a lot of $ and skirt the issue that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to buy the lethal injection drug.

Con: You see capital punishment as a moral imperative.

Prop 63:

If it were a Friends episode title: The one that makes it a little more difficult to buy gun ammo.

Pro: This is another one that depends on your politics, but there will be more background checks, less ammo available, and harsher punishments.

Con: If you’re pro-gun rights you already know what this is about.

Prop 64:

If it were a Friends episode title: The one with POT!

Pro: Legally provides access for the selling and use of marijuana which could be beneficial tax-wise and would eliminate small crimes that occur around its usage.

Con: The same arguments that have prevented marijuana from being legal thus far—morals, possibility of gateway usage, its effects on the brain.

Prop 65:

If it were a Friends episode title: The one where grocery stores have to give away all the $ they make from charging people for plastic bags.

Pro: More $ toward research and sustainability initiatives.

Con: Stores have less incentive to support these initiatives because they don’t gain anything from it.

Prop 66:

If it were a Friends episode title: The one that amends the death penalty in order to speed up the trial process for those facing execution.

Pro: It will save $ by making it easier to kill someone via the state.

Con: Risks wrongfully executing someone and continues the death penalty.

Prop 67:

If it were a Friends episode title: The one where plastic bags are really made illegal in California.

Pro: Keeps the law that already has passed and pushes people to using reusable bags.

Con: You have to pay for plastic bags.


Hey, you finished! Congrats! I might even say props to you (get it, get it!?). Now go out and as Ted Cruz would say, “vote your conscience.”