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Vote NO on Prop 32: Not What It Looks Like

On the ballot this season is Proposition 32, an initiative which claims to bring an end to special interests spending in California elections. Sounds like a good idea, if that were what it actually did. Proposition 32 is a reboot of two previous attempts by Orange County based anti-union activists to stop the ability of unions to participate in California politics. Because it targets all unions, rather than singling out public employee unions, it is a version of Scott Walker’s successful efforts in Wisconsin, on steroids.

Councilman Jim Righeimer – Costa Mesa, Photo: Chris Prevatt

After the previous failed attempts of Jim Righeimer and the Lincoln Club of Orange County the proponents of Prop 32 determined that the only way they could possibly sneak such a union busting move, would be to conceal it inside a Trojan Horse of campaign finance reform.

At first glance, Proposition 32 might sound fair and balanced, but take a closer look – it’s not what it seems.  Prop 32 – more appropriately called the Special Exemptions Act – was intentionally written to create special exemptions for billionaire businessmen, giving them even more political power to write their own set of rules.

Here’s how they’re planning to accomplish their goal:

What the initiative says…

Article 1.5 of Chapter 5 of Title 9 of the Government Code (commencing with section 85150) is added to read as follows:

§85150 (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law and this Title, no corporation, labor union, or public employee labor union shall make a contribution to any candidate, candidate controlled committee; or to any other committee, including a political party committee, if such funds will be used to make contributions to any candidate or candidate controlled committee.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law and this Title, no government contractor, or committee sponsored by a government contractor, shall make a contribution to any elected officer or committee controlled by any elected officer if such elected officer makes, participates in making or in any way attempts to use his or her official position to influence the granting, letting, or awarding of a public contract to the government contractor, during the period in which the decision to grant, let, or award the contract is to be made and during the term of the contract.

What that really means…

Prop 32 exempts thousands of big businesses, which aren’t technically “corporations,” but rather “LLCs” or “real-estate trusts” or any other form of business structure. This includes hedge funds, big Wall Street firms, insurance companies, and thousands of other business entities.

It also exempts secretive Super PACs, which can raise unlimited amounts of money from corporate special interests and billionaire businessmen to support their candidates or defeat their enemies and does nothing to prevent anonymous donors from spending unlimited amounts to influence elections.

What it says…

§85151 (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law and this Title, no corporation, labor union, public employee labor union, government contractor, or government employer shall deduct from an employee’s wages, earnings, or compensation any amount of money to be used for political purposes.

What it that really means…

The truth is that 99% of California corporations don’t use payroll deductions for political giving, and they would still be allowed to use their profits to influence elections. That’s why corporations spend 15-times as much as unions spend on political contributions, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Unions, on the other hand, use payroll deductions to collect a portion of dues money for political purposes. This is an accepted and practical way for unions to collect the funding needed to compete with the better-funded corporate special interests.

What it says…

(b) This section shall not prohibit an employee from making voluntary contributions to a sponsored committee of his or her employer, labor union, or public employee labor union in any manner, other than that which is prohibited by subdivision (a), so long as all such contributions are given with that employee’s written consent, and that consent shall be effective for no more than one (1) year.

What that really means…

In reality, employee contributions to political campaigns are already voluntary under existing law. The Constitution guarantees everyone that right.

Prop 32 actually restricts that right. It adds a new requirement that even voluntary contributions from teachers, nurses, firefighters and other union members must be accompanied by annual, written permission to use the funds. And payroll deductions are made illegal by Prop 32, even if written permission is given by the employee.

It is also important to remember that no one can be forced to join a union and contribute to politics. Nearly all unions allow members to opt out of contributions to political candidates. Prop 32 makes it illegal to use payroll deductions to collect funding for any political contributions, even if union members specifically authorize those deductions in writing.

Don’t be deceived.

Who’s against Prop 32…

The No On 32 campaign represents more than two million teachers, firefighters, police officers, nurses, school employees, and workers in the manufacturing, retail, construction, health care and other industries. Our members are every-day Californians — workers, parents, and community leaders who support adequate school funding, fair wages and benefits, workplace safety, smaller class size in our schools, better health care for children and senior citizens, and safe communities with sufficient police and fire protection.

Among the organizations opposed to Prop 32 is the League of Women Voters of California, California Common Cause, and Consumer Watchdog. Major newspapers across the state see what this initiative really is, a sham. re just some of those publications that have recommended a no vote on Prop 32.

Chico News & Review
Contra Costa Times
Desert Sun
Fresno Bee
La Opinión
Lompoc Record
Los Angeles Times
Marin Independent Journal
Merced Sun-Star
Modesto Bee
Oakland Tribune
Pacific Sun
Sacramento Bee
Sacramento News & Review
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Bay Guardian
San Francisco Examiner
San Jose Mercury News
Santa Cruz Sentinel
Santa Rosa Press-Democrat
Stockton Record
Vacaville Reporter
Ventura County Star
Woodland Daily Democrat

Click Here, if you want to know who is behind Prop 32.

The message is clear; If you vote on no other proposition on the Ballot, you must Vote No on 32 if you oppose unlimited campaign expenditures by corporate special interests in California politics.

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