Kacer’s Call on Statewide Propositions
November 3, 2020 California Presidential General
1. Following the title, “(C)” indicates a State Constitution change; “(S)” a Statute change
2. All biblical citations rely upon the ESV translation
3. How do I analyze the Propositions? See my Guidelines at the end
4. Who is Frank Kacer? See short bio at the end
Prop 14: Bond for Stem Cell Research (S) – Recommended Vote: NO
Content: Bond for $5.5B, to be paid back with $2.3B estimated interest over 40 years for a total cost of $7.8B. Funds to be used for stem cell and related research to develop treatments for serious diseases and conditions of the brain. General Fund repayment on loans postponed for first 5 years. Grant recipients that gain commercial revenue from a resulting license will contribute to the State General Fund, offsetting the cost of the Bond. Embryonic stem cells are specifically targeted for research because of expected, limited federal activities. Provisions may be amended by 70% vote of both houses of legislature and signing by the Governor.
Consider: Use of embryonic stem cells destroys the embryo, which is a human life made in the image of God (Gen 1:27; Psalm 139:13-16) that must be protected (Prov 24:11-12). Only God has the right to determine when the life of a child may be taken away (Deut 32:39; 1 Sam 2:6). Also, bonds wrongly presume upon future economic uncertainties (Prov 22:3; Jam 4:13-14). Government public debt steals from future generations without their consent (Ex 20:15), and shows financial opportunism is preferred over prudent planning and living within current means (Prov 13:11; 1 Tim 6:10a). Public debt carries future financial burden, making future debtors beholding to the lenders (Prov 22:7).
Prop 15: Business Property Tax Reassessment for More School Funding (C) – Recommended Vote: NO
Content: Requires property tax reassessment of commercial and industrial properties every 3 years, or less, to establish new taxable fair market value. Reassessments of small businesses will begin in 2025-2026. Increased property tax revenue is projected to generate $8 - $12.5B each year for use in providing “supplemental” funding of local public schools and community colleges.
Consider: Targeting businesses for frequent tax reassessments punishes their long-range planning to minimize costs over many years, this is unfair and discriminatory (Deut 25:13-16; Prov 11:1; 20:10,23). Funding for all public K-12 and State colleges/universities already consumes the majority of the State budget. Increasing school funding with no measureable metrics to prove (or disprove) greater scholastic competence incentivizes continued waste and abuse (Prov 26:11). Expecting new tax funds to remain supplemental to existing budgets is naïve and foolish, it will eventually replace normally budgeted money (bait and switch; Prov 20:14). No amount of increased funding for schools will ever be enough (Prov 30:15a; 1 Tim 6:10).
Prop 16: Should Prop 209 (1996) be Repealed? (C) – Recommended Vote: NO
Content: Approval of this Proposition would repeal Proposition 209 of 1996 which prohibited the state from discriminating against, or granting preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting. The State for these purposes includes the state, any city, county, public university system, community college district, school district, special district, or any other political subdivision or governmental instrumentality of, or within, the state.
Consider: Prop 209 eliminated discriminatory hiring and contracting actions (i.e. “Affirmative Action”) that were predicated on gaining equal outcomes instead of ensuring equal opportunities. Employment and contracting actions should be based on merit (Prov 22:29; 1 Cor 9:24) and not on factors unrelated to the work at hand. Everyone has: equal worth by being created in the image of God (Gen 1:27), different giftedness (Rom 12:6-8) and experience (Job 12:12; Prov 20:29), and time and chance happening to everyone (Ecc 9:11). All these factors (not irrelevant ones) are reasonable considerations in hiring/contracting decisions. Voting NO allows Prop 209 to remain in force.
Prop 17: Allows Felons on Parole to Vote (C) – Recommended Vote: NO
Content: Currently, those convicted of a felony and are either in state or federal prison, or on parole, are not allowed to vote. After parole, the convicted felon can petition for a return of voting rights. This Proposition would automatically reinstate voting privileges to convicted felons once they are out of prison (ignores parole status).
Consider: Those who steal or harm have a callous disregard for others, and reject their responsibility to be a blessing (Jer 29:7) to the community. Serious criminal acts (felonies) deserve severe punishment, including the temporary revocation of voting privileges which recognizes irresponsibility that’s inconsistent with the maturity needed to decide on matters of governance. Parole is a means to shorten prison terms to reduce costs and allow an opportunity to validate “good behavior” (Ecc 8:5; Titus 2:12); it is a conditional release from prison and is still part of the punishment. Biblical mercy is extended to most felons by allowing them to have their voting rights reinstated after they’ve finished their full prison and parole time (Prov 13:18).
Prop 18: Allow 17-Year-Olds to Vote in Primary if 18 by General Election (C) – Recommended Vote: NO
Content: This Proposition would allow a 17-year-old citizen to vote in any primary or special election that occurs before the next general election, if the 17-year-old is at least 18 years old at the time of the general election.
Consider: National voting age is 18 (26th Amendment to Constitution), driven by the age allowed to go to war (enter military service). However, God declared men at age 20: were mature enough to go to war (Num 1:3), were allowed to bring their own offerings to the Temple (Ex 30:14), were able to oversee the work of the house of the Lord (Ezra 3:8), and were personally accountable for major sins (Num 14:29-30; 32:11). If age is a reasonable voting discriminator, biblical “adulthood” at age 20 appears far more prudent than at age 18, with any attempt to lower it even further both unwarranted and ill-conceived (1 Cor 13:11).
Prop 19: Property Tax Changes and Firefighting Funding (C) – Recommended Vote: NO
Content: Approval of this Proposition would: give greater property tax reassessment protection for seniors, severely disabled and disaster victims, remove current inheritance protections restricting property tax reassessments, and use increased property tax revenue to supplement funding for statewide firefighting operations
Consider: This Proposition dramatically limits benefit to heirs of inherited property by imposing property tax reassessments unless residence is occupied by the heir. This removes current Constitutional limits on inheritance reassessments (Prov 19:14a; 2 Cor 12:14). One basic duty of government is to protect its citizens (Rom 13:4a) and maintain order (1 Tim 2:1-2), this includes firefighting. Needing to increase taxes to cover core governmental responsibilities demonstrates willful neglect, incompetent planning and poor prioritization (Prov 29:2) that should not be allowed. Expecting “new” tax funds to remain supplemental to existing budgets is naïve and foolish, new funds will eventually replace normally budgeted money (bait and switch; Prov 20:14). Allowing greater property tax protections for seniors (Ex 20:12), severely disabled and disaster victims (Prov 3:27) is good, but should not be conditioned on implementing the rest of this Proposition.
Prop 20: Parole Reform and Restoration of Violent Crime Categorizations (S) – Recommended Vote: YES
Content: This Proposition has three parts: it restores the classification of certain crimes as “violent” instead of “non-violent” to prevent early parole and also tighten post-release supervision requirements, it reforms theft laws to account for serial thieves and organized theft rings, and it expands DNA collection from persons convicted of drug, theft and domestic violence crimes.
Consider: Minimizing the consequences for committing violent (and non-violent) felonies (serious crimes) only encourages more criminal activity (Ecc 8:11), this Proposition corrects these legal oversights. Patterns of serial criminal activity must be handled more severely (1 Tim 5:20) to prevent repeating this behavior (Prov 26:11; 2 Peter 2:22) and in some cases offer specialized help if necessary (i.e. drug treatment) (Jam 5:19-20). DNA from all criminals is a critical witness in serious crimes that can help convict or exonerate a person (Deu 19:15).
Prop 21: Rent Controls (S) – Recommended Vote: NO
Content: This Proposition would give counties and cities the authority to exercise rent control, limit rent increases to more than 15% over three years, while exempting owners of no more than 2 residential dwellings. It replaces much of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (1995) that prevented cities from enacting rent control on units first occupied after 1995 and allowed landlords to increase rents on any unit to market rates when the tenant moved out.
Consider: The weak, poor and destitute are to be cared for (Psalm 82:3-4). However, artificial restraint of “supply & demand” principles creates disincentives to new construction or costly property upgrades/maintenance (result: property decay). Bottom lines: officials are ignoring cost of housing drivers such as: unnecessary bureaucratic delays, high labor union costs, and tax/excessive regulation/restrictive zoning impacts. These all limit the natural housing supply. Rent controls appear to be “compassionate” (Matt 22:39), but don’t correct unnecessary governmental causes of high rents (Matt 7:5), and create conditions for the growth of substandard housing by adding burden without relief (Matt 23:1-7).
Prop 22: Keeping App-Based Drivers & Services as Independent Contractors (S) – Recommended Vote: YES
Content: Existing legislative law (AB 5) severely limits the ability of independent contractors to do work in California, with the intention of creating far more union-based companies and jobs. This Proposition exempts app-based rideshare and delivery network companies from AB 5 and would allow the use of independent contractors as drivers, while providing for healthcare subsidies, minimum earnings of 120% of minimum wage or higher, compensation for vehicle expenses, accident insurance, criminal background checks and driver safety training.
Consider: A company and an employee should be free to agree on mutually acceptable conditions of employment (Matt 20:1-15) without excessive government interference (Deu 25:4; 1 Cor 9:9; 1 Tim 5:18). This Proposition restores freedom to the independent contractor to determine their own hours, location of work, amount of work, etc. (Gal 5:13) without having to be forced to conform to union-based employment inefficiencies, rigidity, and the inevitable coerced support for progressive political causes (2 Cor 6:14-15).
Prop 23: Additional Regulations on Outpatient Kidney Dialysis Clinics (S) – Recommended Vote: NO
Content: Requires for-profit dialysis corporations (which treat 75% of CA dialysis patients) to have a full-time physician on each clinic site at all times, and if the clinic cannot provide a physician, provide a nurse practitioner or physician assistant if approved by the State. If a clinic must close: it must obtain written consent of the State yet still ensure patients have no interrupted access to care, or the clinic must prove good faith efforts to sell, lease or transfer ownership to another entity that would provide dialysis care. Significant quarterly reporting requirements from each clinic must be precisely met or significant fines will be applied.
Consider: Requiring full-time physician presence at each clinic (without compelling health need) will substantially increase costs & create high risk of closures and decreased dialysis availability – putting lives unnecessarily at risk. Forcing large, unnecessary cost increases, yet requiring continued, uninterrupted availability is punitive treatment with intent to destroy (Ex 5:10-14; Luke 11:46; 1 Tim 5:18). Government is not to treat similarly situated businesses differently & pejoratively (Prov 11:1; 24:23). Also, significant financial penalties could be assessed against any clinic for any inaccuracy, intended or not, on any and all information required to be submitted quarterly. Not only is this an onerous burden (Deu 25:4), but the penalties far exceed what “justice” would ever require (Deut 25:13-16; Prov 11:1; 20:10,23).
Prop 24: Consumer Privacy Protection (S) – Recommended Vote: YES [With reservations]
Content: This Proposition intends to codify protections a consumer should have over information collected by businesses. Specifically, a consumer is to be able to know what information is being collected, how it is being used, and to who it is being disclosed (either sold or shared). Also, consumers are to be able to limit the use or disclosure of sensitive personal information, as well as an ability to correct or delete it. Businesses must clearly inform consumers about how they collect and use personal information and how consumers can exercise their rights and choices concerning that information. Administrative penalties can be applied to businesses for violating these consumer rights.
Consider: Normally, very complicated Propositions that have difficult-to-understand implications should not be supported (1 Cor 14:33). However, existing baseline consumer protection legislation has continued to be modified (sometimes weakened), which necessitates providing a standard to build future protections on, without allowing any weakening or delay in consumer protection (Ecc 8:11). Erroneous, false, misleading and intimate information can be used as a weapon against unsuspecting consumers (2 Cor 2:11) by anyone allowed to have access. Providing safeguards against this possible abuse will help protect reputations (Prov 22:1; Ecc 7:1a) and unnecessary confusion. Future changes strengthening consumer protections can be implemented by a simple majority vote of the legislature.
Prop 25: Should the Bail Bond System be Weakened (S) – Recommended Vote: NO [A “NO” vetoes SB 10]
Content: The California legislature passed SB 10 to end the use of cash bail for detained suspects awaiting trials. Release decisions would be based on algorithmic risk assessments determining Low, Medium or High risk of the detainee not showing up for trial or being a risk to public safety. Most suspects of misdemeanor offenses would not require a risk assessment and would be released to await trial. Other suspects would either be detained or released based on the risk assessment, with various options for supervision during release, but no use of bail.
Consider: Use of bail incentivizes the return of the suspect to face trial (Gen 42:18-20; Acts 17:1-9). Upon arrest, judgment has already been made that there is sufficient cause to believe a crime was committed. At that point, the use of bail is a wisdom issue; the amount is based on many factors and is related to the seriousness of the suspected crime, not on a person’s ability to pay (Prov 22:2). Bail incentivizes the innocent to return to clear their names (Prov 22:1), and the guilty to return and not lose their bail and not face more serious changes for not showing up. Since bail is not a fine, it is returned to the suspect whatever the outcome of the trial.
General Guidelines I Follow in Analyzing Propositions:
- Do: First read Title & Summary,
then proposed legal text, then Legislative Analyst analysis; then arguments
for and against
- Do: Ask yourself if this is
a proper role of government biblically
- Do: Determine what general principles
apply (biblical, conservative, practical)
- Do: Ask yourself if this is
the right thing to do, who benefits, and what consequences will result
- Do: Apply common sense; come
to a tentative conclusion – compare to positions of those you trust
- Do: Concentrate on the major
implications and not on trivial aspects to make a decision
- Don’t: Rely on recommendations
of organizations by name only (many sound good but can be deceptively
- Don’t: Wait until the last day
to do your research (spread it out over time)
- Don’t: Support government going
into future debt (there are only very rare exceptions to this)
- Don’t: Allow rare circumstances
or emotional arguments to overly influence you (“rare cases make bad law”)
- Don’t: Support anything that’s
too complex to completely understand (could be purposeful obfuscation)
- Don’t: Accept a lot of bad legislation for the sake of a small amount of good, “worthwhile” legislation
Who is Frank Kacer?
Frank has been married to Lynn for 47 years and has three married children and five grandchildren. He has served as a pastor/elder at Grace Bible Church since 1990 and is now pastor/elder emeritus. Professionally, Frank was a physicist in the Department of Defense Intelligence Community for over 35 years and was also a senior systems engineer with SAIC for 12 years. As a Christian worldview political activist, Frank has engaged in grass-roots political activism, candidate recruitment and assessment, precinct operations, and formal political party representation both locally and with state conventions. He has also served for seven years on the Board of Directors for the National Center for Law and Policy and currently serves as the Director of Research, Content and Curriculum for Well Versed ministries. As Founder and Executive Director of the Christian Citizenship Council (C3), Frank has published his “Kacer’s Call” biblical perspective on every California statewide Proposition since 2002. His most recent book is Christian Fratricide – Why Christians Continue to be Divided Politically (Updated Edition 2020).
To contact Frank by email, use: firstname.lastname@example.org