2012 Election Wrap Up

November 15, 2012

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General Election Wrap Up

Last week's General Election provided California voters with numerous opportunities to impact education policy, from the Presidential contest to local school board races and everything in between. And on November 6, 2012, record numbers of Californians were registered to vote - 18,245,970 Californians in total. For the first time, voters were able to use California's new online voter registration option, making it easier than ever for citizens to register to vote and make their voices heard.

While final election results will not be known in some close contests for weeks, as county elections officials have until December 7 to report final results to the California Secretary of State (who in turn has until December 14 to certify the complete election results), most races have been decided.

Ballot Measures

California voters were faced with eleven ballot measures on the ballot, and approved only five of them. Among those approved was Proposition 30, thus staving off devastating mid-year cuts to California's public schools, including charter schools. Due to its passage, the trigger cuts of $460 per student will not be enacted.

Thank you to everyone who helped to educate their community about the impact of Proposition 30. As you know, CCSA endorsed this initiative earlier this year. CCSA President & CEO Jed Wallace issued a statement regarding its passage, saying in part "With the passage of Proposition 30 we now have real solutions and funding that will go directly to where it's needed most--in the classroom...we look forward to working with Governor Brown and the California Legislature to continue addressing the funding crisis in education." Our work is just beginning; on January 10 the governor will introduce his proposed 2013-14 state budget, and charter school advocates must be ready to advocate for equitable funding.

Another win for education funding is the passage of Proposition 39, the multistate business income tax initiative. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office has estimated that this initiative will raise the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee by $200 million in 2012-13. These funds were not included in the 2012-13 budget, so it is still unclear when or how these new revenues will be recognized.

The other three measures which voters approved were Proposition 35, strengthening human trafficking penalties, Proposition 36, which amended California's "Three Strikes Law," and Proposition 40, which approved the new State Senate districts drawn by the Citizens Redistricting Commission.

California State Legislature

Early returns indicate that the Democrats have attained a 2/3 majority in both the Assembly and the Senate, which will change dynamics in Sacramento, along with the influx of new legislators. As more vote-by-mail and provisional ballots are counted, it appears that the trend is holding, and that Californians will see a Democratic "supermajority" in both legislative houses. This means that Democrats will be able to raise taxes, confirm a governor's appointee, and override a governor's veto without a single Republican vote.

However, with two state senators winning congressional seats, there will be a domino effect as special elections are called to fill those vacancies; should an assemblymember win a state Senate seat in either of those special elections, then even more special elections would need to be held to fill those assembly seats. With this domino effect, the Democrats may not have a full two-thirds majority in each house for many months.

Additionally, the new legislators elected this November are the first to be elected under the newly approved term-limit changes, allowing them to serve up to twelve years in one house; the large class of freshman will likely wield considerable power as legislative leadership changes in the coming years.

It is still unknown how Democrats plan to use the supermajority to advance their agenda in Sacramento, and with a razor-thin two-thirds and the election of several moderate Democrats, it is likely that they will be cautious in their use of the supermajority power. The Legislature's swearing-in ceremony on December 3 will undoubtedly herald the start of a new political dynamic in Sacramento.

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