The Latest: Bay Area soda taxes leading

decision 2016 generic election

 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on election results in California (all times local):

11:59 p.m.

California voters have approved a ballot measure that increases taxes on cigarettes by $2 a pack and places new taxes on electronic cigarettes.

Proposition 56 passed by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent Tuesday with more than 5 million votes counted.

The measure adds $2 to the current 87-cents-a-pack tax. It’s the first increase in California tobacco taxes since 1998.

Much of the money will fund California’s Medi-Cal, a state program that covers health care costs for the poor.

California also joins only about a half-dozen states that tax e-cigarettes and vapor products.

Opponents, led by tobacco companies, raised more than $71 million to fight Proposition 56. Opponents said the money would benefit insurance companies and hospital corporations.

Proponents cheered the increase as a victory for public health.

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10:50 p.m.

California voters have approved a ballot initiative to provide greater transparency in the legislative process.

Proposition 54 won Tuesday with 64 percent of the vote.

The measure will require all state bills to be available for public viewing online for three days before the full Senate or Assembly can vote on them.

Under the measure, anyone attending the Legislature’s public meetings can record and broadcast the sessions and the Legislature will have to make its own recordings starting in 2018.

Open government groups, newspaper editorial boards and the California Republican Party backed the proposal. The Democratic Party was its primary opposition, arguing that more public notice of legislation would only benefit lobbyists.

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10:50 p.m.

A proposal to authorize $9 billion in state bonds for school and community college construction projects in California is leading in early returns.

Proposition 51 on Tuesday had about 53 percent of the first 4.5 million votes counted.

Proponents say the measure is needed for new buildings and renovations, while opponents argue the state can’t afford the estimated $500 million it would cost each year to pay off the bonds. They say reform is needed in the way school construction projects are funded.

The measure is backed by a coalition funded by two developer organizations that has received more than $9 million in contributions since January.

It also is supported by the California PTA and dozens of school districts, labor and business associations.

Notable opponents include Gov. Jerry Brown.

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10:40 p.m.

California voters have expanded some of the nation’s toughest gun control measures.

Voters on Tuesday approved Proposition 63, banning large-capacity ammunition magazines, requiring background checks for ammunition sales and speeding the seizure of firearms from people who are no longer allowed to own them.

The measure passed by a margin of 63 percent to 37 percent.

The initiative’s chief proponent, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, believed voters would be motivated by memories of the terrorist slayings in San Bernardino.

He said the ammunition restrictions and California’s unique firearms seizure program would serve as models for other states.

Opponents say the restrictions will likely confuse law-abiding gun owners.

The initiative builds on limits signed into law earlier this year.

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10:25 p.m.

California voters have approved a ballot measure that makes permanent a fee on hospitals that helps fund Medi-Cal, the state’s health insurance plan for people with low incomes.

Proposition 52 is winning with 70 percent of more than 4 million votes cast. The measure was proposed by hospitals, which spent more than $60 million to promote it.

The fee currently draws $3.5 billion a year in federal matching funds and forms a major source of funding for Medi-Cal.

It is routinely renewed by the Legislature but requires support from a two-thirds supermajority of lawmakers. Hospitals say permanently extending it ensures the funding source is protected from politics.

A union representing health care workers opposed the measure, saying it benefits wealthy hospital executives.

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10:20 p.m.

California voters have approved a ballot measure to keep taxing the rich to raise billions of dollars for public schools and health care.

Proposition 55 will extend until 2030 higher income taxes that voters first approved in 2012 in response to deep education cuts during the Great Recession.

Voters approved it by 62 percent Tuesday.

Supporters included unions that spent millions of dollars. Organized opposition was minimal.

The proposition extends what were supposed to be short-term tax increases on residents who annually earn more than $263,000 for single filers and $526,000 for families. At that level, taxes bump up 1 percent, while millionaires pay an extra 3 percent.

Analysts calculated that extending the taxes past 2018 would generate between $4 billion and $9 billion annually for the state budget.

10 p.m.

Partial returns show ballot measures to tax soda and other sugary drinks are leading in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Measures in San Francisco, Oakland and Albany would each levy a penny-per-ounce tax.

The San Francisco and Oakland measures are leading with more than 60 percent of the vote Tuesday while the measure in Albany has a 72 percent lead.

Backers say the taxes would curb consumption of drinks that contribute to diabetes and other serious health problems.

Opponents say the tax is regressive and would hurt working families and businesses.

The tax would apply to regular soda, sweetened tea and sports drinks with sugar. It wouldn’t apply to diet sodas or naturally sweetened drinks.

9:30 p.m.

A California ballot initiative that would expand on some of the nation’s toughest gun control measures is leading in early returns.

Proposition 63 is winning Tuesday with 63 percent of about 3 million votes cast.

It calls for a ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines; background checks for ammunition sales and speeding the seizure of firearms from people who are no longer allowed to own them.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the measure’s chief proponent, says the ammunition restrictions and California’s unique firearm seizure program would serve as models for other states.

Opponents say the restrictions would likely confuse law-abiding gun owners.

The initiative would build on limits signed into law earlier this year that also address ammunition sales and large-capacity ammunition magazines.

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9:30 p.m.

Voters have approved a proposition giving California prison officials more say about when to release prisoners.

Proposition 57 marks a bid by Gov. Jerry Brown to reduce the state prison population and restore balance to a legal code that Brown says has become overburdened with get-tough policies.

It passed Tuesday with 65 percent of the vote.

The measure strips prosecutors of the power to decide when juveniles should be tried as adults and leaves those decisions to judges.

The measure will allow inmates to seek earlier parole hearings unless they have been convicted of about two dozen crimes specifically classified as violent.

Corrections officials will be able to give earlier release credits to inmates, including those convicted of violent crimes.

Law enforcement officials said the initiative gives bureaucrats too much power.

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9:30 p.m.

A California measure requiring statewide votes on some kinds of mega-projects is trailing slightly in early vote-counting.

The no vote leads with just over 50 percent Tuesday with nearly 4 million votes counted.

Gov. Jerry Brown made a priority of defeating Proposition 53, which would make the state get voter approval before launching any project needing $2 billion or more in revenue bonds.

Brown’s plans to build two water tunnels at a total cost of $15.7 billion and a $64 billion high-speed rail project could be sent to voters for approval if the measure passes.

Wealthy California farmer and food processor Dean Cortopassi got the initiative on the ballot. He argued that voters should have a say on mega-projects that would increase the state’s bond debt.

The Democratic governor donated more than $4 million from his campaign funds to get out the vote against the revenue-bond measure.

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9:15 p.m.

Californians are leaning toward reforming the state’s broken death penalty rather than getting rid of it.

Early returns Tuesday favored Proposition 66, an effort to speed up appeals so condemned murders are put to death rather than replacing capital punishment with life in prison without chance of parole.

About 51 percent of more than 3 million votes were in favor of reform. Only about 46 percent supported Proposition 62, the effort to repeal the death penalty.

Proponents of both measures agreed the current system has failed. More than 900 convicted murderers have been sent to death row since 1978 but only 13 have been executed in the state.

Repeal supporters say their measure would save $150 million and eliminate the chance of someone innocent being executed.

Reform proponents say the worst killers would die and family members of victims would get justice.

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9:15 p.m. Partial returns show a large early lead for a California ballot measure that would increase taxes on cigarettes and start taxing electronic cigarettes.

The measure was ahead Tuesday with 62 percent of more than 3.3 million votes cast in favor.

Proposition 56 calls for adding $2 to the current 87-cents-a-pack state tax on cigarettes. It would also start taxing e-cigarettes, including vapor products.

Tobacco companies spent more than $71 million on efforts to defeat the measure.

Opponents say the money it raises would benefit insurance companies and hospital corporations.

Proposition 56 calls for much of the money to go to California’s Medi-Cal. The state-run program pays insurance providers and hospitals for costs of treating low-income residents.

California has not raised its tobacco taxes since 1998.

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9:15 p.m.

A California ballot measure that would cap how much the state spends on prescription medications for millions of people was trailing in early returns.

About 54 percent of 3.2 million votes counted Tuesday opposed Proposition 61.

The initiative seeks to bar some state agencies from paying more for a drug than the lowest price paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which receives deep discounts.

Proposition 61 drew the most spending of the 17 statewide ballot measures, with the pharmaceutical industry pouring in $109 million to defeat it. Opponents said it would reduce access to medicines and raise prices for veterans and others.

Backers said approval would save the state money and could lead to lower drug costs elsewhere

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9:10 p.m.

A ballot measure requiring actors to use condoms in porn movies filmed in California is trailing.

Proposition 60, supported by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, is behind with 53 percent no votes to 47 percent in favor, with a little more than 3 million votes counted.

The measure also would require that porn producers be licensed by the state and pay to have their actors tested for sexually transmitted diseases.

Proponents say it’s needed to keep porn actors safe.

The porn industry counters that its audiences don’t want to see actors wearing condoms and the proposed rules are less safe than the current requirement that actors be tested every 14 days.

The measure is similar to one adopted by Los Angeles County voters in 2012.

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9:10 p.m.

Partial returns show California voters are leaning toward upholding a statewide ban on single-use plastic carryout bags.

Proposition 67 was placed on Tuesday’s ballot by plastic bag industry supporters to try to overturn a ban approved by the Legislature two years ago.

A coalition of environmental groups, grocers and others led the campaign to uphold the statewide ban.

A second measure, Proposition 65, proposed to direct any proceeds from a 10-cent charge for alternate bags to an environmental fund. It is trailing in early returns.

Environmental groups and other critics say it was put on the ballot to confuse voters.

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8:50 p.m.

A ballot initiative to continue taxing the rich to raise billions of dollars for California’s public schools is leading in early returns.

Proposition 55 would extend until 2030 the higher income taxes that voters first approved in 2012 in response to deep education cuts during the Great Recession.

The measure was ahead Tuesday night 62 percent to 38 percent with more than 3 million votes counted.

Supporters included unions that spent millions of dollars. There was little organized opposition.

The tax increases would apply to residents who annually earn more than $263,000 for single filers and $526,000 for families. At that level, taxes increase 1 percent, while millionaires pay an extra 3 percent.

Analysts estimate extending the taxes would generate between $4 billion and $9 billion annually for state coffers.

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8:40 pm

California voters have repealed a nearly two-decade-old law that limited bilingual education in public schools.

Proposition 58 won Tuesday. It had 72 percent of the first 2.5 million votes counted.

The measure undoes a 1998 law requiring schools to use English immersion for most students not fluent in the language.

Supporters said the old law was tinged with racism and that letting English learners study in two languages alongside native speakers helps both groups better prepare for work in a global economy.

Opponents said forcing students to learn English is beneficial and that the state’s 1.4 million English learners had fared better in school since Proposition 227 was passed nearly 20 years ago.

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8:10 p.m.

California voters passed a ballot measure to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, giving a big boost to the campaign to end the drug’s national prohibition.

A preliminary exit poll conducted for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research found Proposition 64 passing by a wide margin.

Adults older than 21 years old can legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow six plants.

California was one of five states where votes were considering the legalization of recreational marijuana Tuesday. Four other states were considering measures to legalize medicinal marijuana.

So far, voters in Florida and North Dakota have also passed marijuana measures Tuesday.

Collectively, it’s the closest the U.S. has ever come to a national referendum on marijuana.

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