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Voters Pass Prop 28, Defeat Prop 29

Californians vote to change term limits for state legislators, but narrowly decide not to increase the state's tobacco tax.

California voters adopted a change to term limits for state legislators, while a proposal to increase the tobacco tax to fund cancer research was narrowly defeated, according to results released early Wednesday by the California Secretary of State's Office.

Proposition 28 was approved by a margin of 61.4 percent to 38.6 percent with all of the state's 21,993 precincts reporting. Proposition 29 was defeated 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent.

Proposition 28 will allow a person to serve 12 years either in the Assembly, state Senate or a combination of the two. The previous law generally allowed people to serve three two-year terms in the Assembly and two four-year terms in the Senate. An exception was when an individual finished less than half a term of another person who left the Legislature.

The change will only apply to legislators first elected after the measure is passed.

"Voters understood the need to fix term limits and make the Legislature more accountable," according to a statement from Californians for a Fresh Start, the campaign on behalf of Proposition 28. "They saw past the misleading campaign tactics of out-of-state interests and voted based on the facts.

"Proposition 28 will do exactly what it says—reduce time in office from 14 to 12 years without extending the terms of any sitting legislators. Voters have said tonight they want to continue on the path of reform with this sensible measure."

Californians for a Fresh Start included the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the League of Women Voters of California and California Common Cause.

The major financial backing in support of Proposition 28 came from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor ($612,500); Majestic Realty, which is based in the City of Industry ($400,000); Alliance for a Stronger Community ($149,500); LA Live Properties LLC ($100,000); and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce's LA Jobs Political Action Committee ($100,000), according to figures from MapLight, a nonprofit organization that favors greater transparency in government, based on statistics from the Secretary of State's Office.

Majestic Realty is seeking to build a football stadium in Industry. It donated $300,000 to the signature-gathering drive on behalf of the initiative in 2009 shortly after the quick passage of a bill granting it an exemption from potential litigation arising from the California Environmental Quality Act, The Sacramento Bee reported.

Alliance for a Stronger Community was formed in 2008 as a union-backed independent expenditure committee supporting Mark Ridley-Thomas' successful campaign for Los Angeles County Supervisor.

Major financial backing in opposition to Proposition 28 came from Howie Rich, a New York City real estate developer who founded U.S. Term Limits, his wife Andrea, and grown sons Joseph and Daniel ($654,880) and the Liberty Initiative Fund ($100,000), a Woodbridge, Va.-based group that describes itself as helping place measures on ballots to protect individual liberty and hold government accountable.

A similar measure, Proposition 93, was defeated by voters in 2008.

Proposition 29 would have increased the taxes on each cigarette distributed by five cents ($1 per pack) and an equivalent increase on other tobacco products to fund cancer research and finance prevention programs. It would also have created a nine-member committee to administer the funds raised from the measure.

Major funding in support of Proposition 29 came from the American Cancer Society ($8.47 million); the foundation of the retired cycling champion Lance Armstrong ($1.5 million); the American Heart Association ($563,594); New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ($500,000); and the American Lung Association ($421,986), according to MapLight.

Major funding in opposition to Proposition 29 came from five tobacco companies —Phillip Morris ($27.53 million); R.J. Reynolds ($11.17 million); U.S. Smokeless Tobacco ($3.04 million); American Snuff Co. ($1.75 million); and the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. ($1.15 million).

Propositions 28 and 29 will be the last measures to appear on a statewide primary ballot. SB 202, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Oct. 7, 2011, restricts future ballot measures to November general election ballots.

Christopher Bedord June 10, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Jim, what proposition 28 did was actually increase term limits for house and senate members not decrease them. It was titled as term limits which was confusing. Very few, 8%, actually serve in both house and senate where they could attain 14 years. So all we did was decrease the the term limits for 8% and double it for 92% of those who serve. Senate time went from a limit of 6 years to 12 years under this plan. Unfortunately, Californian's were tricked again and dishonest representation and lack of reading confused the issue.
Jim Triolo June 11, 2012 at 07:45 PM
On the question of prop 28.It is time for all Californians who care about this state to put political difference's aside,"cause were choking to death on those divisions" and retake what is the peoples state capital through the power which is ours...the vote and the propositions.What are we puppets,controlled by political ideologues who only care about what they can scavenge like vultures from a state and its people.Or are we thinking human beings,who know right from wrong.I have to believe,"or want to believe maybe I'm just fooling myself".That we the people know what they're doing in Sacramento is wrong.We have eyes,and with those eyes can't we see that it is killing the state that the rest of the country refers to as the "State of Disaster".But either we don't care,can't be bothered or just have given up. Heck I don't even no why I care anymore,or why I'm writing this!?If the state and its people want to go down like the Titanic,then who knows that might be the answer.When what's left is cleared away,then maybe,just maybe what's left can be salvaged and we can rebuild a state and reclaim the title of the "Golden State".
jay m. June 11, 2012 at 10:31 PM
I don't believe that the money would have gone to cancer research per se, it would have gone to the 9 person panel who would have governed where the money was spent, right into some person pocket. The tax is already too high, hence the lack of tax money in the State coffers our law makers refuse to see that when you eliminate some things that folks don't care for (smoking etc.,) we lose the tax money being spent on the items, which leaves a hole in the tax revenue, which law makers put onto us to make up the difference. Think about it.
joe ross June 12, 2012 at 10:47 AM
leys say prop 29 passed and every smoker in the state said enough is enough and quit smoking or dipping snuff its stiil a law so than where does the tax money come from the general fund. it was like the rob reiner passed bill a few years ago. that fund is not garnering the funds it hoped for to fund due to people quitting or giong through other avenues to buy the product
Fishing June 12, 2012 at 09:07 PM
With or without passage of Prop 29, research will still go on. California is so desperate for funding due to wasteful spending, they would go so far as to unfairly tax a portion of consumers, based on their purchase of a product that is not illegal and appeals to anti-smokers. There's a difference between non- and anti-smokers. How would anti-smokers react to my call for a tax on the purchase their favorite (e.g.) perfume, simply because I don't use or like it? Pretty dumb, huh?

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