Should more felons convicted of non-violent crimes be eligible for parole? learn more about Proposition 57
Proposition 57 will allow people convicted of nonviolent crimes to be eligible for parole consideration if they have exhibited good behavior. The proposition will save the California Department of Corrections tens of millions of dollars annually. See public opinion
Should California keep the death penalty? learn more about Proposition 66
Proposition 66 keep the death penalty in place and will speed up executions through a series of procedural adjustments that we suspect would have little to no effect. It opposes Proposition 62 which is also on the California ballot in 2016 and seeks to ban the death penalty. See public opinion
Should California enact stricter gun control measures including banning large capacity ammunition magazines? learn more about Proposition 63
Proposition 63 would enact stricter gun control measures including requiring federal background checks to purchase ammunition, banning the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines and prohibiting people who have been convicted of stealing a firearm from possessing firearms. Proponents include Senator Diane Feinstein, Senator Barbara Boxer, the City of L.A. and the City of San Francisco. Opponents include the California Republican Party and the NRA. See public opinion
Should California repeal the death penalty? learn more about Proposition 62
Proposition 62 repeals the death penalty and replaces it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole. It applies retroactively to inmates who are on death row. Proponents include Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsome and former President Jimmy Carter. Opponents include the California Republican Party and former Governor Pete Wilson. Proposition 66 is also on the California state ballot in 2016 and it seeks to keep the death penalty in place. Whichever proposition receives the most votes will pass. See public opinion
Should there be more restrictions on the current process of purchasing a gun? Learn more?
The 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings caused several states and cities to pass strict gun control measures. In response, state lawmakers in gun friendly states in the South and West passed bills that would strengthen Stand Your Ground laws and allow weapons in most public places. In 2014, 21 states passed laws that expanded the rights of gun owners allowing them to possess firearms in churches, bars, schools and college campuses. The federal government has not passed any gun control measures since the 1994 Brady Bill and 42 states now allow the possession of assault rifles. In the U.S. two-thirds of all gun deaths are suicides and in 2010 there were 19,000 firearm suicides and 11,000 firearm homicides. See public opinion
Do you support affirmative action programs? Learn more?
Affirmative action is a policy that encourages the increased representation of members of a minority group. In the U.S. these policies are often enacted by employers and educational institutions in education or employment. See public opinion
Are you in favor of decriminalizing drug use? Learn more?
In 1970, Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act which banned the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of certain drugs. The act ranked drugs by their potential for abuse and placed them into five categories. Two of the most widely used drugs in the U.S., wine and alcohol, are exempt from the classifications. Ballot measures in several states including Colorado, Washington and Oregon have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. These laws apply only within the respective states and have no effect on Federal law. See public opinion
Should local police increase surveillance and patrol of Muslim neighborhoods? Learn more?
After the March 22nd terrorist attacks in Belgium, Republican U.S. Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz said law enforcement should be empowered to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.” In defending the plan, Cruz cited former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his aggressive policing efforts, including the alleged targeting of Muslim neighborhoods for surveillance. Current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton held a press conference where they criticized Cruz’s proposal as “incendiary” and “foolish.” See public opinion
Should it be illegal to burn the American flag? Learn more?
In 2006, the U.S. Senate rejected a Constitutional Amendment which would have allowed Congress to pass legislation prohibiting the burning or desecration of the U.S. flag. The Flag Protection Act of 2005 was introduced by Senators Bob Bennett (R-Utah), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Mark Pryor (D-ARK) and Thomas Carper (D-Del). The Act proposed a punishment of up to one year in jail and a fine of no more than $100,000. See public opinion
Should there be term limits set for members of Congress? Learn more?
A term limit is a law that limits the amount of time a political representative may hold an elected office. In the U.S. the office of the President is restricted to two four year terms. There are currently no term limits for Congressional terms but various states and cities have enacted term limits for their elected officials at the local level. See public opinion
Should victims of gun violence be allowed to sue firearms dealers and manufacturers? Learn more?
In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). The law protects gun manufacturers and dealers from being held liable when crimes have been committed with their products. The law was passed in response to a series of lawsuits filed against the gun industry in the late 1990s which claimed gun-makers and sellers were not doing enough to prevent crimes committed with their products. Proponents of the law argue that lawsuits will discourage gun manufacturers from supplying stores who sell guns that end up being used in violent crimes. Opponents argue that gun manufacturers are not responsible for random acts of violence committed with their products. See public opinion
Should people on the “no-fly list” be banned from purchasing guns and ammunition? Learn more?
After the December shooting in San Bernardino, CA, President Obama stated in his weekly radio address that it was “insane” to allow suspected terrorists on the country’s no-fly list to purchase guns. Shortly after, Senate Democrats introduced a measure that would have restricted anyone on the federal terrorism watch list, also known as the no-fly list, from being able to purchase firearms in the U.S. The measure did not pass after Senate Republicans voted down the measure. See public opinion
Should the NSA (National Security Agency) be allowed to collect basic metadata of citizen’s phone calls such as numbers, timestamps, and call durations? Learn more?
Under a provision of the Patriot Act the NSA is allowed to collect phone metadata — the numbers, time stamps, and duration of a call, but not its actual content. Opponents include civil liberties advocates and Senator Rand Paul who argue that the collection is unconstitutional since it is done without a warrant. Supporters of the collection argue that the collection is necessary to track suspected terrorists. See public opinion
Should corporations and unions (Super PACs) be allowed to donate to political candidates? Learn more?
In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures from a nonprofit corporation. The plaintiff in the case, Citizen’s United, was a conservative political action group which wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton during television broadcasts. In 2010 the airing of the ad was outlawed by the McCain Feingold Act which banned radio and TV advertising by corporations and unions within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary. Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion struck down these provisions and ruled that corporations, as associations of individuals, therefore have speech rights under the First Amendment. See public opinion
Do you support the Patriot Act? Learn more?
In response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Patriot Act expanded intelligence gathering capabilities including: monitoring of foreign financial transactions, detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism, wiretaps, business record searches, and surveillance of individuals suspected of terrorist activities. Learn more or See public opinion
Should the redrawing of Congressional districts be controlled by an independent, non-partisan commission? Learn more?
Currently, the redistricting of congressional boundaries is controlled by state legislature every ten years. Gerrymandering is the redrawing of districts with the intent of benefiting a political party. It is most often implemented by state political parties with the intent of marginalizing districts of voters who represent the minority party. To gain extra seats, the incumbent party will redraw voting districts so that voters of the minority party will be grouped into smaller districts with less seats. Critics of gerrymandering say these practices allow incumbent representatives to choose their voters instead of voters choosing them. Proponents say that drawing districts is a privilege of the ruling party and have little effect on the popularity of their policies or candidates. See public opinion
Should the government raise the retirement age for Social Security? Learn more?
Former Florida Governor Bush recently told CBS News that the current basic retirement age of 65 needs to go to 68 or 70 as a way to sustain Social Security for those now under 40. The Social Security retirement age is based on a sliding scale which takes into account when the recipient was born and whether they want to retire early in return for a reduction in monthly benefits. The current age to begin receiving benefits is set at 65 for those born prior to 1938. Under current law, it rises gradually to age 67 for those born in 1960 or later. Proponents argue that Americans are living longer and healthier lives than they did when Social Security was founded and the program will run $7.7 trillion in the red during the next 75 years. Opponents argue that Social Security provides at least half of total retirement income for more than two-thirds of all retirees and raising the age will rob lower income seniors of necessary benefits. See public opinion
Should the government be allowed to seize private property, with reasonable compensation, for public or civic use? Learn more?
Eminent domain is the power of a state or a national government to take private property for public use. It can be legislatively delegated by state governments to municipalities, government subdivisions, or even to private persons or corporations, when they are authorized to exercise the functions of public character. Opponents, including Conservatives and Libertarians in New Hampshire, oppose giving the government the power to seize property for private projects, like casinos. Proponents, including advocates of oil pipelines and national parks, argue that the construction of roads and schools would not be possible if the government could not seize land under eminent domain. See public opinion
Should internet service providers be allowed to speed up access to popular websites (that pay higher rates) at the expense of slowing down access to less popular websites (that pay lower rates)? Learn more?
Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers should treat all data on the internet equally. Proponents of net neutrality laws argue that they balance the rights and duties of individuals, governments and corporations, while ensuring that the Internet continues to be an open and decentralized network. Opponents include internet companies who complain that the law would increase their costs and create barriers to the free flow of information. See public opinion
Should the U.S. government grant immunity to Edward Snowden? Learn more?
Edward Snowden is a former National Security Agency contractor who turned over classified documents revealing a board global surveillance program previously unknown to anyone outside the intelligence community. After the documents were published in the Guardian Newspaper in June 2013 Snowden fled to Russia where he is currently living under asylum. See public opinion
Should the military upgrade Air Force One? Learn more?
In 2015, the U.S. Air Force announced that it had selected Boeing to build the next generation of Air Force One aircraft. Two new aircraft will be built and will enter service in 2024. The defense department estimates that the two new planes will cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $4 billion. In December 2016, President-elect Donald Trump announced that costs for the project were out of control and he would cancel the plane order once he took office. Proponents of the new planes argue that the current planes used for Air Force One will be fifty years old in 2021 and spare parts for the old planes are becoming hard to find. See public opinion
Should the government pass laws which protect whistleblowers?