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Capitol Update July 24, 2020

 July 24, 2020

California Federation of Republican Women
Sue Blair, President

By Judy Herman, CFRW Legislative Analyst

Click Here for a PDF of This Capitol Update

PROPOSITION 14 – California Stem Cell Research Institute Bond Initiative

The California Stem Cell Research Institute Bond Initiative is on the ballot in California as an initiated state statute on November 3, 2020.

“yes” vote supports issuing $5.5 billion in general obligation bonds for the state’s stem cell research institute and making changes to the institute’s governance structure and programs.

“no” vote opposes issuing $5.5 billion general obligation bonds for the state’s stem cell research institute, which, in 2019, ran out of the original funds for new projects derived from Proposition 71 (2004).

PROPOSITION  14, is the proposed second round of California state-supported stem cell research. The first round, Proposition 71 (2004), adopted as Article XXXV of the California Constitution, established the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) for three purposes:

  1. to “make grants and loans for stem cell research, for research facilities, and for other vital research opportunities to realize therapies, protocols, and/or medical procedures.
  2. to “support all stages of the process of developing cures, from laboratory research through successful clinical trials.”
  3. to “establish the appropriate regulatory standards and oversight bodies for research and facilities development.”

Out of the original $3.3 billion, a total of over $2.7 billion has gone to stem cell research to institutions in California, including universities, colleges and other institutes.

Proposition 14 strengthens focus on “other vital research opportunities to realize therapies, puts more emphasis on human trials and clinics for treatments and cures and specifically includes Covid-19 research.

It also increases the number of members and employees, adds another working group, and provides support for undergraduate training and graduate work. It can be amended with a 70% approval by both the California Assembly and Senate plus the governor’s signature.

Proposition’s 14 costs to the state budget include $7.8 billion to pay off the $5.5 billion bond principal plus the $2.3 billion interest.  The annual predicted debt payment is estimated to be about $310 million, with most of the costs coming from California’s General Fund.

  1. According to the group  Research!America,, “fetal tissue research has had a profoundly positive impact on human health. Research using cell lines derived from fetal tissue led to the discovery and development of life-saving vaccines for rubella, polio, Hepatitis A and varicella. These cells lines have also contributed to therapies for arthritis, cystic fibrosis and hemophilia .Fetal tissue is currently being utilized to help find cures for diseases like Huntington’s disease, spinal cord injuries, schizophrenia, HIV/AIDS, retinal diseases, cardiovascular disease and cancer.”   For descriptions of stem cells click here:
  2. There appears to be broad American support for continuing stem cell research.
  3. Supporters includes many from medical fields.


  1. As of 2018, California was the lead state recipient of funding for medical research and development in receiving over $124 billion combined from federal government, industry, university and other sources.  Why should California taxpayers continue to fund stem cell research and regenerative medicine, including Covid-19 projects, through its own state institute? 
  2. Given California’s tendency to walk the budgetary plank, looming potential economic problems caused by an overly severe state Covid-19 shutdown, the huge problem associated with the ongoing failure to address state pension reform and the need to continue to promote the use of charter schools while addressing the failures of much of the state educational system, taxpayer resources should be allocated to areas of greater need.

PROPOSITION 16 – Repeal Proposition 209, the Affirmative Action Amendment

California Proposition 16, the Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment, is on the California ballot on November 3, 2020 as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment.

“YES” vote supports a constitutional amendment: the repeal of Proposition 209 (1996). Proposition 209 prohibited the state from discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to persons on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, and public contracting.

“NO” vote opposes this constitutional amendment. A NO vote keeps Proposition 209 (1996), which prohibited the state from discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to persons on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, and public contracting.

In 1996 California voters added Section 31 to the California Constitution’s Declaration of Rights: “The State shall not discriminate against or grant 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.”,_California_Constitution  

Proposition 209 established that California’s governmental functions are to operate on a merit basis: Individuals are to be treated according to merit rather than group identity, a principle essential to American’s success in industry, commerce, military, education and culture.  

The 2020 Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5 (ACA5), will eliminate Section 31 of the California Constitution. Withdrawing the section allows the State to develop legislation which can or will “discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any individual on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin…” 


Assembly member Shirley Weber (D-79), principal Proposition  16 sponsor and chairwoman of the Legislative Black Caucus: “… After 25 years of quantitative and qualitative data, we see that race-neutral solutions cannot fix problems steeped in race… The ongoing pandemic, as well as recent tragedies of police violence, is forcing Californians to acknowledge the deep-seated inequality and far-reaching institutional failures that show that your race and gender still matter.”
State Senator Steven Bradford (D-35): “I know about discrimination. I live it every day. We live it in this building. Quit lying to yourselves and saying race is not a factor… the bedrock of who we are in this country is based on race.”[5]


Michelle SteeleChairwoman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors: “What we cannot and should not do, in our ultimate quest for equality, is to reinstate racial discrimination. Particularly when we’ve seen that a policy of non-discrimination is actually lifting up Black, Hispanic and Asian Americans. Eliminating Prop. 209 will divide us further along racial lines. It will reverse decades of merit-based advancement for all and promote unequal treatment based on race in California. This division is exactly what we seek to eliminate in the United States.”
Senator Ling Ling Chang (R-29): ” …the answer to racial discrimination …is to strengthen our institutions by improving our education system so all students have access to a quality education and give opportunities to those who are economically disadvantaged.  ACA5 legalizes racial discrimination and that’s wrong.”
Haibo Huang: “… Race is a forbidden classification for good reason… it demeans the dignity and worth of a person to be judged by ancestry instead of his or her own merit and essential qualities. Racial preference is not transformed from patently unconstitutional into a compelling state interest simply by relabeling it racial diversity… Equal opportunity is referenced to individual merits, it never guarantees equal results. To the contrary, enforcing equal outcome regardless of qualification and effort bears the hallmark of communism.”
The Wall Street Journal
: “… But judging individuals by the color of their skin is antithetical to equal justice under the law. Let’s hope Californians hold on to this American principle of equality that goes back to the Declaration of Independence, the 14th Amendment, and the civil-rights movement.”,_Repeal_Proposition_209_Affirmative_Action_Amendment_(2020)

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