RAMP Analyzes Outcome of Propositions 23 & 26

RAMP’s recent advocacy for two state propositions is a reflection of our evolving policy effort to reduce the burden of asthma in communities across the state.

We have learned over the years that even when focused on local and regional issues with asthma coalitions and other partners, it is critical to keep an eye on the broader policy environment. When examining this year’s ballot, two propositions stood out as huge threats to our efforts to improve air quality and protect the public’s health: Propositions 23 and 26.

Because of the threat to public health posed by these propositions, RAMP decided it was vital to ensure our partners knew how these propositions would impact their work and our shared efforts to protect communities already burdened with unhealthy air. While we recognize our efforts were modest, we were happy to join the fight against these propositions and hope that we made an impact, however slight.  We are proud of our effort even though the results were mixed.

Prop 23

RAMP was pleased to be among the broad coalition of public health, environmental, business and community leaders who successfully opposed Big Oil to defeat Proposition 23.  This proposition, which was largely funded by Texas oil companies Valero and Tesoro, would have effectively repealed California’s landmark law to address climate change (AB 32), allowing oil companies to pollute our air, make us sick, and reap record profits. By defeating this proposition we effectively protected California’s clean energy and clean air standards that continue to prevent illness and death from air pollution – a virulent asthma trigger.

Prop 26

Unfortunately, the assault on our ability to protect public health was on two fronts.  While Proposition 23 took center stage, Proposition 26 lurked in the background.  With little public attention oil, tobacco, and alcohol industries spent nearly $18 million and successfully passed Proposition 26. Opponents raised only $4 million. With the passage of this initiative, the power of local and state governments to assess or increase fees used to mitigate environmental harm to local communities will be significantly limited. Fees will now be treated as taxes and require a two-thirds vote from the electorate to raise them – a tremendously difficult threshold. While it will take some time to fully understand how Proposition 26 will impact our work, RAMP is committed to do what we can to minimize its impact on our public health goals. As our understanding of the implications and potential responses grow, we will keep you informed as best we can.

The Public Health Institute (PHI), has also weighed in with a response to the election results. Please click here to learn more.