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CSUF Faculty Experts Discuss California Propositions

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Californians considered 17 statewide ballot measures Tuesday, including bilingual eduation, the death penalty, background checks for ammunition buyers, and increasing the tax on cigarettes.

Here’s a look at some of the results and reactions from Cal State Fullerton faculty members who conduct research and teach on related topics. 

Proposition 56 increases the tax on cigarettes, tobacco products and electronic cigarettes to fund health care for low-income Californians, tobacco use prevention, research and law enforcement.

“By approving Proposition 56, California voters have chosen to make a much- needed investment into the state tobacco control program to reduce illness and death from tobacco-related diseases, school programs to prevent and reduce tobacco use, and research related to tobacco-related diseases. Revenue from the next tax on tobacco products will also support Medi-Cal, increasing the level of payment for health care, services and treatment to Medi-Cal recipients. Through these activities, Proposition 56 will have a measurable impact on the health of Californians by reducing tobacco use and related diseases.” — Joshua Yang, associate professor of health science

Proposition 57 allows parole consideration for people convicted of nonviolent felonies and allows judges to decide whether juveniles will be prosecuted as adults.

“Proposition 57 is a loud and clear statement that Californians are choosing to once again believe in one another — encouraging adults who commit crimes to correct themselves and prepare to re-enter society, and supporting youth who are often trapped inside of cycles of poverty and violence with few options out. Proposition 57 opens the door for people who commit crimes to change and for deeper considerations that reflect a true commitment to justice. It promises a better California for us and our children as we start to rethink the failing social experiment of the penitentiary.” — Jason Sexton, University Honors Program lecturer

Proposition 58 repeals the ban on bilingual education. Public schools can more easily choose how to teach English learners, whether in English–only, bilingual or other types of programs. It also expands opportunities for English speakers to learn a second language.

“Proposition 58 closes almost 15 years of English-only, deficit models and opens the doors to multilingual education for all. California comprises an enormous population of students who speak a language other than English at home, and it is important to build upon the linguistic and cultural capital these students bring with them. Passing this proposition sends a powerful message to those who think that one language and one culture defines who we are as an American society. Now we need to make sure the next generations of highly qualified biliterate and bicultural teachers are ready to provide a mindful, effective and equitable education to all students in California.” — Fernando Rodríguez-Valls, associate professor of secondary education, and Tonja Byrom, lecturer in secondary education and world languages subject area coordinator (single subject teaching credential program)

Proposition 66 speeds up the death penalty process (the failed Proposition 62 would have repealed the death penalty).

“The passage of Proposition 66 (and the failure of Prop 62) is a signal that voters are frustrated with the current state of California’s death penalty system. However, it is unlikely that executions will resume anytime soon. Legal challenges to the state’s proposed lethal-injection protocol are ongoing, and it is likely that we will see additional lawsuits filed against some of the provisions of Proposition 66.” — Stacy Mallicoat, professor of criminal justice and chair of the Division of Politics, Administration and Justice