Californians rejected Proposition 23 at the polls on November 2, however, many proponents of the failed measure successfully supported Proposition 26. Prop. 23 would have suspended implementation of California’s “Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006” (AB 32) until the state unemployment rate fell below 5.6%. The state would not have been able to pursue regulations intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as a cap-and-trade policy, low carbon fuel standard and wind and solar power mandates. Prop. 23 would not have had an impact on California’s vehicle smog check, car scrap programs and vehicle emissions standards.
Prop. 26 serves the function of delaying or preventing any new or increased fees including, but not limited to, fees associated with the implementation of AB 32. New fees will now require approval by 2/3 of each house of the California State Legislature or 2/3 of registered voters. Measures to increase taxes or fees that passed the legislature in 2010 will be permitted to remain in effect for one year, during which time they must garner the 2/3 authorization to remain in effect. Previous to the passing of Prop. 26, lawmakers were able to balance the state budget and introduce laws that were revenue neutral, meaning that they increased collection of funds from one source while decreasing it from another, with a simple majority. Under Prop. 26, a new super-majority of voters will be necessary for these measures. Many groups feel that Prop. 26 will hinder the implementation of a cap-and-trade program and other steps that are expected to be taken to implement the state’s greenhouse gas reduction plan in accordance with AB 32. When the California legislature returns next session, there will be a total of 51 Democrats and 29 Republicans, meaning at least three Republicans (or 25 Democrats) will need to cross the aisle for fee increases to take place.
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