September 26, 2016
CONTACT: Jason Howe, Equality California
PHONE: (323) 848-9801•MOBILE: (415) 595-9245•EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Los Angeles —Equality California today announced positions on 10 voter initiatives appearing on the November ballot. Equality California takes positions on ballot measures to help LGBT and allied voters make informed decisions as they vote to advance LGBT civil rights and social justice.
“LGBT people are still far from equal compared to the the general public when it comes to measures of community health and wellbeing in many areas,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “LGBT people have lower rates of healthcare coverage, higher rates of smoking and substance abuse, higher rates of arrest and conviction in the criminal justice system, and lower success rates in school. Some of these ballot measures impede LGBT equality and social justice while others improve the lives of LGBT people, and our positions are meant to assist voters as they make their decisions in November.”
Equality California’s positions on state ballot measures are as follows:
Proposition 52: CA Medi-Cal Hospital Reimbursement – SUPPORT – VOTE YES – Proposition 52 would help make healthcare more accessible by extending fees on California hospitals to help fund Medi-Cal, as well as healthcare services for uninsured patients, children and undocumented people. Healthcare access is a key LGBT priority. LGBT people report worse overall health and are more likely to suffer from depression than non-LGBT people, with lesbians and bisexual women less likely to receive mammograms and other essential care. LGBT people are more likely than non-LGBT people to live in poverty, and the transgender community is four times more likely to have a household income under $10,000 a year. Children of same-sex couples are twice as likely to be poor as children of opposite-sex couples. Proposition 52 will provide and improve healthcare for the most marginalized members of the LGBT community, many of whom rely on Medi-Cal for life-saving services.
Proposition 55: California Children’s Education and Health Care Protection Act of 2016 – SUPPORT – VOTE YES – Proposition 55 would extend an income tax increase, imposed by voters in 2010 through Proposition 30, on couples earning more than $500,000 a year. The estimated $8-11 billion dollars raised would fund schools, as well as healthcare programs for seniors and low-income children, helping to protect both LGBT and non-LGBT youth. LGBT youth frequently face bullying in schools, leading to depression, suicide attempts and high dropout rates. Extending Proposition 30 will help give our public schools the resources they need to support LGBT students in California.
Proposition 56: CA HealthCare, Research & Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016 – SUPPORT – VOTE YES – Proposition 56 would increase taxes on a pack of cigarettes by two dollars. It would raise $1.5 billion dollars annually for smoking prevention and cessation programs, as well as address healthcare costs currently borne by Medi-Cal. LGBT people are up to 2.5 times more likely to smoke than their non-LGBT counterparts. The use of tobacco products is a serious public health problem for members of the LGBT community. With tobacco companies focused on luring LGBT teens into addiction, this initiative is an opportunity to help save lives, reduce smoking and improve health care for members of the LGBT community and for all of California.
Proposition 57: The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 – SUPPORT – VOTE YES – Proposition 57 would increase parole and good behavior opportunities for felons convicted of non-violent crimes and would allow judges, rather than prosecutors, to determine whether to try certain juveniles as adults. As a result of bias and unequal enforcement of our laws, members of the LGBT community are more likely to be arrested, and convicted upon arrest than the general public. LGBT people of color experience racial profiling, discriminatory policing and higher rates of incarceration for non-violent crimes. Equality California supports prop 57 because it creates greater opportunities for rehabilitation and for bringing LGBT people and all who have been convicted of non-violent crimes back into our communities and to productive lives.
Proposition 58: LEARN Initiative – SUPPORT – VOTE YES – This initiative would repeal Proposition 227, passed in 1998 to prohibit public instruction in languages other than English. It would remove a key provision of the ban on bilingual education in California, and allow local decisions on English- and dual-language teaching methods. Equality California is committed to social justice for all the communities of which LGBT people are a part. Proposition 58 would create more inclusive schools and better prepare all students to compete in a global economy.
Proposition 60: The California Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act -OPPOSE – VOTE NO – Proposition 60 would require use of condoms in adult film production and allow lawsuits for any perceived violation. Equality California believes this measure ignores current advances in HIV prevention, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis regimens (PrEP), and would in fact be counterproductive by forcing film production underground or out of state. Equality California supports safer sex practices in the adult film industry. However, the Condoms in Pornographic Films Initiative, by driving production away from California regulations that encourage these practices, will exacerbate the very problem it purports to solve. Equality California joins HIV service providers and other organizations statewide, including AIDS Project Los Angeles, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the California Democratic and Republican parties, in opposing this ballot measure.
Proposition 62: The Justice that Works Act of 2016 – SUPPORT – VOTE YES – Proposition 62 would repeal California’s death penalty and replace it with life without the possibility of parole. As a civil rights organization dedicated to social justice for all communities of which LGBT people are a part, Equality California opposes the death penalty on moral and ethical grounds. It violates the Constitution’s protections against cruel and unusual punishment and, due to widespread bias in the criminal justice system, is far more likely to impact low-income communities and people of color.
Proposition 63: Safety for All Act of 2016 – SUPPORT – VOTE YES – Proposition 63 would further strengthen California’s gun safety laws, which are already among the strongest in the country. It would provide a clear process to keep guns out of the hands of those convicted of felonies or violent misdemeanors; require notification of law enforcement when guns are lost or stolen; share background check data with the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System; require licensing of ammunition vendors and background checks for purchasers; and prohibit possession of large capacity magazine clips. LGBT people are more likely to suffer violence than the general population, with violence up sharply in the past two years against gay men. Transgender women of color continue to be targeted by epidemic levels of homicide. Because of this, advancing tough, commonsense gun safety laws is one of Equality California’s highest priorities. Strengthening gun safety laws is critical to keeping LGBT people and everyone safe.
Proposition 64: Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act – SUPPORT – VOTE YES – Proposition 64 would legalize recreational marijuana use in California and authorize state agencies to regulate and tax its cultivation and sale. Current marijuana laws send thousands of young, non-violent offenders to prison every year. These laws are deeply discriminatory, and are applied far more often to low-income and communities of color and members of the LGBT community. Equality California supports Proposition 64 because it is important to reform drug laws which have a disparate impact on communities of color and LGBT people.
Proposition 66: Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act of 2016 – OPPOSE – VOTE NO – Proposition 66 puts California trial courts, rather than the state Supreme Court, in charge of initial challenges to death sentence convictions. The judge hearing the original conviction also would hear the challenge. Equality California opposes Proposition 66 as part of its opposition to the cruel and discriminatory death penalty. The measure is poorly written, confusing and would remove important legal safeguards, increasing the risk of executing an innocent person.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization dedicated to creating a fair and just society. Our mission is to achieve and maintain full and lasting equality, acceptance, and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBT communities, inside and outside of California. Our mission includes advancing the health and well-being of LGBT Californians through direct healthcare service advocacy and education. Through electoral, advocacy, education and mobilization programs, we strive to create a broad and diverse alliance of LGBT people, educators, government officials, communities of color and faith, labor, business, and social justice communities to achieve our goals. www.eqca.org