BISC Analysis + Impact – 2020 Ballot Measures

Table of Contents

Economic Justice Ballot Measures to Watch

Arizona’s Prop 208: Invest in Education Act

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The Invest in Education Act is a high earners income tax (above $250,000 annually) that restores hundreds of millions of dollars annually in K-12 education funding to solve the teacher shortage crisis, lower class sizes, hire aides and counselors, and expand career and technical education.

BISC Impact + Insights 

BISC has been working closely with Arizona partners on this measure since first partnering on exploratory research in 2015. Since then, BISC has partnered with the coalition through the signature-gathering and legal challenges of 2018, when the measure did not make the ballot – to this year as BISC supported partners through our COVID-19 Rapid Response work, and currently in BISC’s Peer-to-Peer cohort work. 

BISC also signed on to an amicus brief on behalf of the campaign when their 100-word summary language was challenged by the opposition. During the pandemic and ensuing economic crisis and racial reckoning, we’ve continued to see a shift in voters’ attitudes toward the role government should play to ensure the well-being of the collective. 

This shift seems to have translated positively to revenue measures that support critical public infrastructure, such as our public schools.

Colorado’s Prop 118: Paid Medical and Family Leave

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Prop 118 provides paid medical and family leave insurance to citizens of Colorado, providing 12 weeks (up to 16 weeks in certain cases) of paid leave, funded through a payroll tax to be paid for by employers and employees in a 50/50 split. This measure provides an affordable option for all Colorado businesses, allowing small businesses to pay nothing, while keeping their employees covered.

BISC Impact + Insights 

BISC has seen important issues like Colorado’s Paid Medical and Family Leave Proposition increase in popularity since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. BISC has provided one-on-one strategic assistance to this campaign, provided resources and support on steering committee calls and with research briefings. Members of the campaign have also been engaged in our COVID-19 Rapid Response work.

California’s Prop 22: App-Based Drivers as Contractors and Labor Policies (Gig Workers Exemption)

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Prop 22 creates an exception in existing California state law just for “Gig” or app-based companies that allows those companies to treat their workers not as employees, but as independent contractors. “Gig” workers who work for companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash are largely people of color and immigrants. This measure would take away the right these workers currently have, such as paid sick leave, unemployment insurance, or healthcare. Furthermore, it requires a 7/8 majority to make any changes to the law, setting a dangerous precedent for representative democracy.

BISC Impact + Insights 

The app driver workforce is largely people of color. This initiative will create a permanent underclass of drivers with subminimum wage and no protections. The campaign has a strong coalition of unions and community organizations, however, the app companies have raised more money for this ballot measure than any other in California history. The labor law ramifications of this measure, should it pass, will be felt globally. 

California partners have been longtime and original members of BISC’s Victory 2030/Alignment group and the Roadmap Project. BISC has also been working with national labor partners to elevate this measure so that those on a national level understand the potential disastrous impact of this measure.

Additional Economic Ballot Measures to Watch

CA Schools and Communities First

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Prop 15 would increase funding for public schools, community colleges and local governments by changing how commercial and industrial properties are taxed.

Florida for a Fair Wage

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Amendment 2 will raise the minimum wage in Florida to $10 in 2021, and increase by $1 each year until it reaches $15 in 2026.

Yes for Fair Tax

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This amendment would change the Illinois state constitution to eliminate the requirement that Illinois tax income at a single rate, allowing instead for higher rates for higher incomes and lower rates for people with low and moderate incomes.

Read the full list of economic ballot measures BISC is watching

Reproductive Rights & Sexual Health Ballot Measures to Watch

Louisiana’s Amendment 1: No Right to Abortion in Constitution

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Amendment 1 would ban abortion in the Louisiana state constitution. This amendment would pave the way to ban abortion in Louisiana, with no exceptions, including rape or incest.

BISC Impact + Insights 

Constitutional Amendments are incredibly difficult to remove once voted on and incorporated. If Constitutional Amendment 1 is not defeated by a majority of Louisianans in the fall, the State of Louisiana may outlaw abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

BISC has been working with Louisiana partners to defeat Amendment 1 since the Summer of 2019 and even worked with the coalition to design and facilitate the campaign coalition launch meeting in December of 2019. As with the two other reproductive rights and health measures on the ballot this year, Amendment 1’s campaign manager and steering committee members are active participants in our Peer-to-Peer and Skills Building cohorts.

Colorado’s Prop 115: 22-Week Abortion Ban

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Proposition 115 bans abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy by establishing criminal penalties for medical professionals who provide this care, including fines and suspension of their license for three years. This 22-week abortion ban would force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term with zero exceptions for health or individual circumstances – even in cases of rape, risks to the woman’s health, or a lethal fetal diagnosis.

BISC Impact + Insights 

This one-size-fits-all mandate ignores the uniqueness of each pregnancy, and allows politics to dictate personal health decisions.

BISC has been working with the No on Prop 115 campaign since 2019, at the start of the decline to sign efforts. Leading organizations from the coalition,  campaign staff and steering committee members, have participated in BISC’s Abortion Access cohort and currently are engaged in BISC’s peer-to-peer cohort. 

In addition, through the online polling platform that we use, Trendency, BISC has collaborated with the campaign research team on how they can incorporate the Trendency results into their overall research program and campaign strategy.

Washington’s Referendum 90: Sex Education in Public Schools

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This referendum will uphold and approve Washington state’s law requiring all public schools to teach age-appropriate, inclusive, comprehensive sexual health education to K-12 students. The measure does allow students to be excused at their parents’ request.

BISC Impact + Insights 

Young people who have quality sex education are less likely to put themselves and others at risk, experience unintended pregnancy, or get a sexually transmitted infection. Additionally, young people need access to information and resources about healthy relationships to help them understand how to respect personal boundaries, ask for consent, and learn how to say and receive a “no.”

BISC has been engaged with Washington state partners in an effort to Approve Referendum 90 since 2019 and has provided one-on-one strategic guidance to coalition members and campaign leadership. In addition, partners have been engaged in BISC’s Abortion Access Cohort and in our Peer-to-Peer and Skills Building cohorts.

Democracy & Election Ballot Measures to Watch

Colorado’s Amendment 76: Citizenship Requirement for Voting

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Amendment 76 would amend the Colorado state constitution to say that “only a U.S. citizen can vote.” This is already the case in Colorado and around the country. Amendment 76 is a racist dog whistle that would also strip the right of 17-year-old Coloradans to vote in Primaries should they turn 18 by the General Election.

BISC Impact + Insights

Amendment 76 would specify that only U.S. citizens age 18 and older can vote in Colorado. That’s already the case, but the measure would bar Colorado cities from opening the door to letting non-citizens, and those younger than 18, from voting in local elections. 

The proposal seeks to solve a problem that does not exist, as it proposes unnecessary changes to language in the Colorado Constitution. It may create voter confusion regarding state and local elections and could discourage or disenfranchise voters. 

BISC partners engaged in this campaign to oppose the Amendment, participate in BISC’s Peer-to-Peer and Skills Building cohorts and BISC regularly tracks the support and opposition to this measure for the benefit of state partners through our research program.

Missouri’s Amendment 3 – “Dirty Missouri”

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Amendment 3 would repeal most of the provisions of the “Clean Missouri” Amendment passed by a 2-1 margin by Missouri voters in 2018. 

This legislatively referred amendment would eliminate the requirement that state legislative maps be drawn based on total population. Passage of this measure would not only have an impact on Missouri, but potentially on redistricting laws around the country. 

Every state in this country counts everyone in their maps. Amendment 3 would only count eligible voters, meaning that 1.5 million people — largely children, new immigrants, and people of color would be uncounted and unrepresented. It also would undo the new requirement that voting districts be drawn by an independent state demographer, rather than politicians, and take away the right of Missourians to challenge gerrymandering in federal court.

BISC Impact + Insights

The 2018 initiative, popularly known as Clean Missouri, was a lobbying, campaign finance and redistricting initiative that was designed to provide major reform and oversight to Missouri politics. The most important element of the initiative was redistricting reform. It changed the process for how Missouri legislative districts are to be redrawn after every census. It created a less partisan process, using more objective criteria that reduces the ability of right-wing politicians to gerrymander the legislature to their advantage.

Amendment 3 seeks to undo the voter mandate for fair maps and fair redistricting in Missouri.

BISC has been working closely with Missouri partners on their democracy agenda and to pass Clean Missouri (Amendment 1) on redistricting and campaign finance since late 2016. We have continued to provide one-on-one strategic support to the campaign to defeat Amendment 3.

Missouri partners are engaged in BISC’s Peer-to-Peer and Skills Building cohorts, and are members of BISC’s Victory 2030/Alignment coalition and Roadmap Strategy Committee.

California’s Prop 18

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Prop 18 amends the California state constitution to allow 17-year-olds to vote in Primary and Special Elections if they turn 18 by the next General Election.

BISC Impact + Insights 

Nineteen other states, including D.C., allow 17-year-olds to vote in the primary election if they will be 18 by the general election. Research has proven time and again that voting is habit-forming. These states recognize the importance of allowing 18-year-olds to vote, to help form their voting habits and amplify their voices.

As it stands now, an 18-year-old Californian whose birthday was after the March 3rd presidential primary, missed out on the chance to pick the candidates who made it to the November 3rd ballot.

BISC’s California partners that support this legislatively referred constitutional amendment participate in BISC’s Peer-to-Peer and Skills Building cohorts.

Read the full list of democracy and elections reform ballot measures BISC is watching here.

Ballot Measures Addressing Systemic Racism to Watch

Nebraska’s Amendment #1

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Amendment 1 is a constitutional amendment that would remove a provision in the Nebraska state constitution that still allows slavery as punishment for the conviction of a crime.

Since 1875, the Nebraska Constitution has prohibited slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. That last part is known as “the exception clause,” and it’s a loophole that means slavery is, in fact, still technically legal in Nebraska.

BISC Impact + Insights

Voting yes on Nebraska’s Amendment 1 will ensure Nebraska is the next state to say no to slavery with no exceptions, by removing the 144-year-old language in the Nebraska constitution that still allows slavery as punishment for a crime.

BISC has provided one-on-one strategic guidance to the campaign, and Nebraska partners who are working on this campaign have attended BISC trainings. The campaign’s manager is also actively engaged in BISC’s Peer-to-Peer and Skills Building cohorts.

California’s Prop 16

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Prop 16 would permit government policies to consider race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in order to address diversity. It would repeal Prop 209 which banned affirmative action in California.

BISC Impact + Insights

California is one of only nine states that bans affirmative action as a tool to fight discrimination. Prop 16 presents an opportunity to change that by ending the ban and expanding opportunity for all.

Campaign staff and steering committee members are active participants in BISC’s Peer-to-Peer and Skills Building cohorts.

Oklahoma’s State Question 805 

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State Question 805 is a criminal legal system reform that would end “repeat sentence penalties,” or the practice of adding years to a person’s prison sentence for a nonviolent offense because they had a prior nonviolent conviction. 

If SQ 805 passes, people who are convicted of nonviolent crimes could be sentenced up to the maximum allowable time in prison for the current crime, but would not receive additional time in prison because of their past convictions.

BISC Impact + Insights 

SQ 805 would help end decades-long prison sentences for nonviolent crimes and allow the millions of dollars spent on mass incarceration to be reinvested in the health and well-being of Oklahomans. State Question 805 would give people a second chance.

Campaign staff from SQ 805 have been engaged in BISC’s Skills Building cohort.

Read the full list of statewide ballot measures addressing systemic racism that BISC is watching here.