The 5-2 decision, upholding an appellate court ruling, was that the taxing constraints on local governments in the state constitution don’t apply to voter-generated ballot measures that raise taxes.
It was immediately interpreted by anti-tax and pro-tax forces as allowing initiatives for “special taxes” – those for specific purposes – to be approved by voters via simple majorities, rather than the two-thirds margins required for special taxes proposed by governments themselves.
In the case of California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland, the court by a 5 – 2 majority held that statutes proposed by voter initiative need not be held to the same procedural standards as statutes proposed by local government agencies.
The opinion by Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar held that Proposition 218 does not limit voters’ ‘power to raise taxes by statutory initiative.’ A contrary conclusion would require an unreasonably broad construction of the term ‘local government’ at the expense of the people’s constitutional right to direct democracy, undermining our longstanding and consistent view that courts should protect and liberally construe it.
Crime in California, 2016 presents an overview of the criminal justice system in California. Current year statistics are presented for reported crimes, arrests, dispositions of adult felony arrests, adult probation, criminal justice personnel, citizens’ complaints against peace officers, domestic violence- related calls for assistance, and law enforcement officers killed or assaulted. In addition, statistics for preceding years are provided for historical context.
The state’s prison population has declined by more than one-fourth to comply with federal court orders, in part by diverting low-level felons into local jails via “realignment.”
Law enforcement officials and prosecutors generally opposed the new leniency, warning that putting fewer miscreants behind bars would inevitably increase crime. And the latest state crime report may point in that direction.
While property crimes such as burglary and car theft have continued to decline, down 1.9 percent between 2011 and 2016, violent crimes have spiked, up 7.4 percent during that period, with “aggravated assault” seeing the biggest jump.
California is one of the most expensive states for businesses to operate in–in large part due to lawsuit abuses that unfairly target businesses–earning the state the unflattering distinction of being the worst “judicial hellhole” in the nation. Making this even worse is the fact that the targets of these frivolous lawsuits are often the 3 million California small businesses that make up the backbone of our economy.
The breeding ground for these lawsuit abuses is created via the Private Attorney General Act (PAGA). Under PAGA, employers are being sued minor for frivolous items such as typos on a paycheck or not having a beginning and ending date on a pay check stub. Hard working employees ultimately bear the cost of these lawsuits.