CA Prop 31 Flavored Tobacco|Prop 27 Online Gambling| Prop 1 Abortion

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As the November elections draw nearer, a tug-of-war has begun between two radically different propositions, each alleged to have its pros and cons. Proposition 27 is a measure that will appear on November's election ballot. [i]

Dubbed the "California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act," three Native American tribes have now endorsed the measure that would

legalize online and mobile sports wagering"

in California. Voting "No" to Proposition 27 means you oppose the request for California to legalize sports betting for online gambling sites. [i]

Instead of 'live betting' at one of California's land-based casinos, the poker room would now be accessible online. According to some, the availability of online slot games would pose an unnecessary risk of introducing gambling to adolescents. [i]

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Screenshot from public access California Secretary of State Qualified Statewide Ballot MeasuresCharnell Gilchrist

Presently, it is illegal for websites to offer online sports betting in California. Despite being prohibited, advocates for Proposition 27 assert that,

A massive illegal, illicit online sports betting market is flourishing in California, with unscrupulous offshore betting websites providing the only avenue for Californians to place bets online and providing no revenue to the state." [ii]

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Unsurprisingly, competing interests are found amongst advocates for Proposition 26, including more than sixty Native American tribes. Proposition 26 expands access to new gambling types. It would prohibit

marketing sports wagering to persons under 21." [iii]

Additionally, Proposition 26 maintains that online sports betting in California should remain classified as restricted. This suggests that in-person betting would be the safest and only way to facilitate sports wagering in California. Many contend that the in-person requirement helps to curve the development of disordered gambling. [iii]

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Screenshot from public access California Secretary of State Qualified Statewide Ballot MeasuresCharnell Gilchrist

Comparing Opposing Viewpoints Concerning Proposition 27 and Proposition 26

Those supporting Proposition 27 assert that 85% of revenue from online sports betting will be "placed in a trust account to fund homelessness solutions and mental health priorities - such as housing and substance abuse treatment - across California." The remaining 15% would allegedly be set aside for Tribal communities that do not participate in online wagering. Those voting against Proposition 27 claim that 90% of the profits earned will simply be funneled out of the state of California instead of creating new jobs within the state or investing in California. [iv]

Further, those voting against Proposition 27 insist that it would turn "virtually every cellphone, tablet, laptop and video game console in California into a gambling device." Advocates for Proposition 27 refute this statement by highlighting that 21 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have already legalized online sports betting in some manner. [iv]

Considering these facts, would that then effectively turn every electronic device in those 23 locations into a gambling device, too, just now regulated? If so, how then are other states dealing with predicted upticks in gambling addictions where online sports betting has been legalized? [v]

Additionally, there are some who believe that Proposition 27 lacks the safeguards to prevent underage gambling. One explanation for this belief stems from the understanding that children can place bets online using false information or an adult's account instead of placing a bet in person. Easy access to online betting inadvertently creates an inviting 'honeypot' for adolescents. [v]

On the other hand, an underage user could also use false information to access online gambling at this very moment, even without it being legalized in California. This inference is drawn based on supporters of Proposition 27 indicating the highly sophisticated illegal betting market that is already being operated. It is inferred that access to online gaming is already available to Californians through sites using illicit methods to circumvent California laws and regulations. [vi]

Finally, the most significant impact is faced by more than 50 Indian tribes across California who have indicated they strongly oppose Proposition 27, "the Corporate Online Gambling Proposition." According to opponents of Proposition 27, the measure is being deceptively marketed as a "solution" to homelessness when it is alleged that the proposed measure hurts California Indian tribes. [vi]

With casino and other sports wagering constituting a large portion of Native American revenue, some believe the legalization of online gambling in California will be a devastating blow to an already fragmented Native American community. Despite what seem to be efforts to avoid disenfranchising Indian tribes, it is believed by a vast majority that Proposition 27 will do just that. [vi]

Understanding Proposition 1, Senate Constitutional Amendment No. 10

In addition to controversy regarding the legalization of online and mobile sports wagering, Proposition 1, Senate Constitutional Amendment No. 10, is a measure to amend the California Constitution. In opposition to 'anti-abortion' laws and other States' abortion bans, Proposition 1 is a proposed amendment.

The amendment is meant

to prohibit the state from denying or interfering with an individual's reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions, which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives." [vii]

Ultimately this amendment protects women's abortion rights and contraceptive rights. These rights would be afforded protection under the state Constitution. The need for such protection arises following the Supreme Court's recent reversal of the landmark case Roe v. Wade. The SCOTUS' decision stripped away women's constitutional right to abortion and returned the decision regarding the legality of abortion to each individual state.[viii]

Proposition 31 Seeks to Revisit Law Prohibiting Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products

A 2020 law "prohibits the retail sale of certain flavored tobacco products and tobacco flavor enhancers." The referendum included in Proposition 31 seeks that the law regarding the sale of flavored tobacco first is passed with a majority of votes before taking effect. [ix]

Those who favor keeping the ban in place assert that flavored tobacco, including menthol, makes smoking easier and quitting more difficult. This follows Congress's 2019 federal law, which raised the legal age to purchase tobacco. The age was changed from 18 to 21. So, to purchase tobacco, 21 is the minimum age required. [ix]

The aim of those seeking to enforce the ban rests heavily on the belief that flavored tobacco is more alluring to the youth. Research, though somewhat scarce, seems to support a downward trend in the use of cigarettes with the new flavor bans in place. [x]

Further, the 9th circuit of appeals upheld that local and state governments can lawfully ban any sale of flavored tobacco products. Despite millions of dollars poured into overturning the flavor ban, prospects appear bleak. [x]

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References

[i] Yes on 27, Californians for Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support, (2022)

[ii] Id.

[iii] Shirley Weber, Qualified Statewide Ballot Measures, (2022)

[iv] Yes on 27, Californians for Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support, (2022)

[v] No on 27, Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming, (2022)

[vi] Id.

[vii] Shirley Weber, Qualified Statewide Ballot Measures, (2022)

[viii] Id.

[ix] Jennifer Taylor, California's Money Trail in the Political Battle Over Flavored Tobacco, (Mar. 28, 2022)

[x] Id.

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Currently pursuing a Juris Doctor at Western State, writer Charnell Gilchrist is writing her way through law school.

Aliso Viejo, CA
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