On Monday, Governor Schwarzenegger is expected to announce that he will be holding a special election on November 8th, 2005. The centerpiece of this vote is expected to be a ballot initiative to redraw the legislative districts in California. If this plan is approved, the new maps are intended to go into effect for the June 2006 primary.
Also along for the ride are three other initiatives. The first is parental notification 48 hours prior to a scheduled abortion. This initiative includes a judicial by-pass which is a necessary component to withstand judicial scrutiny. The second is a change of public school teacher tenure from two to five years. The third is commonly known as payroll protection.
Reapportionment. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
Amends state Constitutions process for redistricting California’s Senate, Assembly, Congressional and Board of Equalization districts. Requires three-member panel of retired judges, selected by legislative leaders, to adopt new redistricting plan if measure passes and again after each national census. Panel must consider legislative, public proposals/comments and hold public hearings. Redistricting plan becomes effective immediately when adopted by judges panel and filed with Secretary of State. If voters subsequently reject redistricting plan, process repeats. Specifies time for judicial review of adopted redistricting plan; if plan fails to conform to requirements, court may order new plan. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: This measure would have the following major fiscal impact: One-time state redistricting costs, probably totaling a few million dollars. Comparable savings for each redistricting effort after 2010 (once every ten years).
Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy. Waiting Period and Parental Notification. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
Amends California Constitution to bar abortion on unemancipated minor until 48 hours after physician notifies minor’s parent/legal guardian, except in medical emergency or with parental waiver. Permits judicial waiver of notice based on clear and convincing evidence of minor’s maturity or minor’s best interests. Physician must report abortions performed on minors and State shall compile statistics. Authorizes monetary damages for violation. Minor must consent to abortion unless mentally incapable or in medical emergency. Permits judicial relief if minor’s consent to abortion is coerced. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: The net costs of this measure to Medi-Cal and other programs are unknown, but are probably not significant in the context of the total expenditures for these programs.
Public School Teachers. Waiting Period for Permanent Status. Dismissal. Initiative Statute.
Increases length of time required before a teacher may become a permanent employee from two complete consecutive school years to five complete consecutive school years; measure applies to teachers whose probationary period commenced during or after the 2003-2004 fiscal year. Authorizes school boards to dismiss a permanent teaching employee who receives two consecutive unsatisfactory performance evaluations. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Unknown impact on school district teacher salary costs as a result of changes in teacher tenure and dismissal practices. Fiscal impacts could vary significantly district by district.
Public Employee Union Dues. Required Employee Consent for Political Contributions. Initiative Statute.
Prohibits public employee labor organizations from using dues or fees for political contributions unless the employee provides prior consent each year on a specified written form. Prohibition does not apply to dues or fees collected for charitable organizations, health care insurance, or other purposes directly benefiting the public employee. Requires labor organizations to maintain and submit to the Fair Political Practices Commission records concerning individual employees’ and organizations’ political contributions; those records are not subject to public disclosure. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Probably minor state and local government implementation costs, potentially offset in part by revenues from fines and/or fees.
There may be other initiatives that will appear on this ballot.
Russell Crow’s line in Gladiator “Unleash Hell” is a susinct description of the labor unions in California and their plans for this special election. Eric Hogue claims that the unions are prepared to spend two hundred million dollars to stop the paycheck protection and teacher tenure initiatives from passing. The Democrats will go after reapportionment. This leaves parental notification as either political roadkill or a stealth initiative. It will be fun to watch what transpires.
One of the crucial aspects of these initiatives is the ability to withstand judicial challenges when any or all of these are passed. The Governors appointment to replace Janice Rogers-Brown on the California Supreme Court is critical in this regard. Watch this process carefully and pray that we get a strict constructionist.
If parental notification has any hope of becoming state law, then look to the US Supreme Court as vacancies are filled by President Bush. Will the Dems filibuster? Will the Republicans get a spine?