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Capitol Update October 8, 2020

October 8, 2020

California Federation of Republican Women
Sue Blair, President

By Gretchen Cox, CFRW Legislative Analyst

Proposition 14: The California Stem Cell Research Institute Bond Initiative

CFRW Executive Committee Recommends:

Vote “NO” to oppose issuing 5.5 billion dollars in general obligation bonds that would support the state’s stem cell research institute which ran out of funds in 2019.

The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) is asking California taxpayers to fund its regenerative medical program and facilities plus its grants to other research facilities, universities and colleges.

Supporting CIRM would cost taxpayers about $10.1 billion, including $2.3 billion for interest, with $260 coming out of the budget every year over a period of 25 years.

CIRM plans to broaden its agenda to justify extending its life. Taxpayer funding would enable it to add members and employees plus another working group.  It will put more emphasis on human trials and clinics for treatments and cures and, along with many others, will specifically add Covid-19 research to its list.

According to the Howard Jarvis Tax Association, “CIRM has been widely criticized for inefficiency and insider dealing… (it) fails to address issues of accountability and oversight in the spending of previously approved public funds.”

The Center for Genetics and Society also points to its built-in conflicts of interest, its lack of legislative oversight and the fact that there are no longer federal limits on funding stem cell research.  New language in the proposition severely limits the public’s ability to regulate it by requiring a 70% approval by both the California Assembly and Senate plus the Governor’s signature for any amendment.  Prior to legislative action CIRM itself would have determined “that such amendments are consistent with and further the intent of the grant and loan programs created by this Initiative”.

Not mentioned by CIRM itself is that California has become a leading recipient of funding for medical research, including stem cell research.  In 2018, for example, the state took in in over $124 billion from the federal government, industry, universities and individuals.
California has significant long-term budgetary problems including an ever-expanding state bureaucracy.  California voters do not need to contribute their tax dollars to a state funded group which plans to expand its research fields, increase the size of the organization, and lock in its shield from public scrutiny.

Proposition 16: Affirmative Action Amendment Repeal Proposition 209

CFRW Executive Committee Recommends:

Vote “NO” to keep Proposition 209 (1996), Section 31 of the California Constitution’s Declaration of Rights which states: “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.”   

Education scholar Lance Izumi, of the Pacific Research Institute defines and leads to the real problem in three main points. 

First, “Proposition 209 is based on the exact language of the 1964 U.S. Civil Rights Act.  “This… is extremely important because of the moral case made by President John F. Kennedy and others for passage of…the Civil Rights Act: ‘We are confronted primarily with a moral issue…The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated..All Americans ‘have a right to expect that the law will be fair, [and] that the Constitution will be color blind…America was ‘founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened’.”

Izumi’s second point is Prop. 16 will reverse equal rights and equal opportunities for some minorities. For example, before passage of Proposition 209, Japanese and Korean students were 13 and 14 times LESS likely to be accepted to UC Davis medical school than those who benefited from race preferences.

His third point, “the current attempt to repeal Prop. 209 ignores the real cause for the difficulty underrepresented minorities face in accessing our top public universities…the failure of California’s public K-12 system to adequately prepare these students for higher education.

Further, “The UC Academic Senate has found that for underrepresented minorities, the most significant factor preventing UC eligibility was not Prop. 209, but the ‘failure to complete all required A-G [college preparatory] courses with a C or better’.

So, if legislators, policymakers, and educators truly want to improve the chances for success for underrepresented minority children, then they should avoid divisive identity politics and get to the hard work of offering better education alternatives for all children in California.” (California, 8/4, 8/28, 2020)

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